#housing #LowIncomeHousing #poverty #gentrification
There are three myths in the housing market.
First, gentrification has as much to do with morals as with economics. Second, there is more poverty in cities than suburbs. Third, having low-income housing in one’s community reduces property values.
Darcel Rockett discussed these myths in an article for the Chicago Tribune, that was also published Dec. 18, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Since the term gentrification has many connotations, we won’t spend a lot of time discussing it. Suffice it to say, “We need to take the depth of ethical and moral disgust out of the name gentrifier, so that we can get people together and say this is something that we are a part of, but it’s also something bigger than us …. So how do we move forward?” Rockett quotes John Joe Schlichtman, an associate professor of sociology at DePaul University.
But let’s dive deeper into the other two. Poverty exists everywhere. It’s not an urban problem, suburban problem or a rural problem. Especially since the 2008 recession, you have many people who were once considered “middle class” suddenly without a job, or, suddenly losing their homes.
For some, one or both of those events can create instant poverty, regardless of where one lives.
Secondly, there are many people moving from the suburbs to the cities, essentially gentrifying some urban neighborhoods.
“The number of poor persons in suburban Chicago eclipsed the number in the City of Chicago in the last decade, and there are no signs of this trend reversing anytime soon,” Rockett quotes Scott Allard, a professor at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington.
That brings us to low-income housing’s effect on housing prices. Rockett quotes a 2016 Stanford Graduate School of Business analysis that reviewed low-income developments nationwide, funded by the low-income housing tax credit program. The impact of that housing on surrounding property values varied based on neighborhoods’ economic state and the number of minority residents, Rockett quotes the study.
“What the study finds is that the effects of putting one of these (low-income housing developments) in a neighborhood depends on the pre-existing conditions in that neighborhood,” Rockett quotes Anthony DeFusco, assistant professor of finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
What all of this tells us is that housing – just one segment of the overall economy – cannot be stereotyped. “Instead of building housing and targeting it” to people with income below a certain level, “if you just build more housing, and housing was more plentiful overall, prices in general would be lower and would be more affordable for everyone,” Rockett quotes DeFusco.
Are you living where you want to be living? If not, is it because of finances? Perhaps you need to look at ways to make more money that doesn’t involve a second W-2 job. There are many ways out there to earn extra money – perhaps even surpass the income from your primary job – by spending a few part-time, off-work hours a week. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
As the article intimates, it doesn’t matter how you label housing. Housing comes in all types and price ranges. You should be able to choose the housing, and location, that’s right for you. The more housing options available, the more affordable all housing becomes.
So, here’s hoping you are living where you want, in a place just right for you. Remember, too, that a house is a house. A home is created by the people living in it.


#weddings #WeddingCosts #LifeExpenses
The average U.S. wedding cost $35,329 in 2016.
So says The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, and quoted by NerdWallet columnist Brianna McGurran.
In a column published April 2, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a 25-year-old questioner asked McGurran how she was going to plan a wedding, and pay off her student loans by age 30.
She advised her to sit with her fiance and get their financial house in order. Determine how much they can save per month toward the wedding, and don’t go into debt to cover those costs. Then, McGurran advises the couple to talk to their parents or other family members to see what they intend to contribute.
Couples themselves covered 42 percent of wedding costs in 2016, McGurran quotes The Knot’s study.
She also advised the future bride to budget for the must-haves, and don’t include what doesn’t matter to the couple, such as flowers. She also recommended saving money by having friends provide services and homemade wedding gifts in lieu of actual gifts.
A bride in California got the cost of her 150-person wedding down to $23,000 in 2013, McGurran writes.
Meanwhile, Danielle Braff writes in the Chicago Tribune that there are hidden wedding costs that a couple may not learn about until the wedding day. Those include tips, overtime (for a reception extended past the paid-for time), fancy liquor not covered in typical bar charges, postage (McGurran recommends getting RSVPs on line to save there), taxes (not mentioned in the costs) and dress alteration.
Braff’s article was published in the April 3, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So, we’ve learned that getting married can be expensive. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nice wedding. After all, the gifts a couple can collect may offset some of the costs, providing they are gifts the couple wants.
But once a couple has decided on marriage, the two should discuss not just wedding costs, but life costs. They should give priority not necessarily to a wedding, but how they are going to live. That includes, yes, saving for retirement. No matter how young a couple is, the two should not assume that they will both have the jobs they have until they retire. Job security no longer exists.
They should be thinking about what they might do if they found themselves out of work in their middle age – well before they wanted to retire. What will they do? Will anyone hire them for decent pay?
Fortunately, there are many ways out there to earn an income that have nothing to do with a traditional W-2 job. To hear about one of the best, message me.
If a couple decides to pursue a non-job income before their wedding, perhaps they’ll have enough to cover the costs of a nice wedding AND make a dent in any educational or other debt. They may even get a head start on retirement savings.
Certainly, any couple needs to be economical in planning a wedding. They should have what they want, and eliminate what they don’t. A great time, and beautiful memories, can be had by all – without going overboard, or wasting money on things that aren’t necessary.
So, here’s a toast: To a happy and prosperous life, and an elegant but not over-frilled wedding.


#NewYearsResolutions #SuccessAtWork #WorkBetter
What do you want to do to make your life better in the new year?
Sure, most of us want to lose weight, but, if you are like most, you say that every year and it doesn’t happen. A few disciplined folks reach their weight goals, or come close, and should be congratulated.
Rex Huppke, who writes for the Chicago Tribune, has a great New Year’s tradition. He turns his column over to some wise folks he has met and interviewed in the past year, and lets them share their thoughts and advice about the workplace. His column was published in the Jan. 3, 2016, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Sharon Salzberg, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and author of “Real Happiness at Work,” says we often fixate on unrealistic goals – resolutions – that prioritize perfectionism over self-forgiveness. Because of the stress in a normal workplace, she recommends setting goals that compassionately acknowledge the ups and downs of the journey toward our goal, Huppke’s columns says.
In other words, give yourself a break. We can’t predict what will happen in the next few minutes in the workplace, never mind over the next year. Priorities change. Duties change. Bosses change. Salzberg suggests cultivating positive intentions. Do what you can to roll with the situations, and contribute what you can to make whatever happens as smooth and successful as possible.
Meanwhile, Heidi Grant Halvorson, psychologist and author of “No One Understands You and What to Do About it,” says you don’t have a clue what others really think of you. But, research has shown that others don’t think of you the way the way you think of yourself.
She recommends learning how you come across by asking some whom you know well. It may be the first step toward having people “get” you.
Avraham Kluger, professor of organizational behavior at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggests learning how to be a better listener, and describes how to do that. Practice on folks to whom you might not want to listen to, and let that person know you are practicing your listening skills. (You don’t have to tell them that you don’t like listening to them).
Other experts have suggested that you become more likeable if you listen more, and talk less.
Huppke lists several other ideas from experts on how to make 2016 as good as it can be for you in the workplace. Whatever your job, know that it is up to you to make your time in the workplace as pleasant, as meaningful and, yes, as productive as possible.
In years past, workers cared only about getting their hours in, with little regard for what they did in those hours. In today’s workplace, marking time by itself won’t cut it. Even if you see others doing it, don’t believe that you will get away with it. Today’s jobs are fluid, and fleeting. They change on a dime. Workers either have to adapt, or leave.
Of course, if your time at work is giving you little or no reward, financial or otherwise, there are many other ways to earn money outside of that job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You may see something a bit out of your comfort zone, but success is almost never created from comfort.
If you like your job, and find it fruitful and fulfilling for YOU, you are very fortunate. Still, never presume it will last as long as you want it to. Always have a Plan B in mind in case the worst happens. It’s unlikely that if the worst happens, you will know it in advance. It often comes as a shock.
So try to become a better person at work this year. You may find fulfillment you’d never imagined. You may find success you thought was never possible. You might even find something other than money that gets your juices flowing.
Have a happy 2016 with whatever you decide to work on.