Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What Leukemia Taught Me About Fear and Investing (Guest Post)

By Matt Hall
Heraclitus told us thousands of years ago that "The only thing that is constant is change."
It’s true in investing, and it’s true in life.
Almost ten years ago now I sat in my eye doctor’s office feeling exhausted and seeing weird white flashes in my eyes. Two terrible weeks and a whole lot of tests later, I found out I had CML, a rare form of leukemia. I fought for 5 years to get clear and declare myself cancer-free, and somewhere in there me and my clients hooked arms and walked through the fire that was 2008 in the stock market.
Looking back, I shake my head sometimes wondering how we made it through. It wasn’t sheer luck, but it wasn’t super-easy either. So what was it?
It was about putting the odds in my favor and pressing forward.
When my eye doctor told me I might have leukemia, my head raced with questions. Then she helped me set up the next set of test and told me exactly what to do in the interim. Without her to guide me, I would have been lost in the maze of the medical system.
Later when I brought my oncologist a list of questions, he set them aside and said “Matt, I can answer those questions for you later, but I don’t want you focusing on that stuff now. I want you to focus on just two things. I want you to get 400 milligrams of this medicine in your body. And then I want you to go live your life.”
When our clients called us freaking out in 2008, I leaned on these lessons. It’s one thing to know the right logical thing to do, but another to get each of us to understand the right choices when we are scared. Our brains just aren’t wired to be investors, so we need a quiet mind and a long view plan to make it through.
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know this: Fear will pop up like a ghost chasing us in a nightmare, but it cannot actually stop us from doing what needs to be done and moving forward.
Matt Hall is the President and Co-Founder of Hill Investment Group with offices in St. Louis, MO and Houston, TX. He is the lead on all strategic matters — crafting the firm’s vision, establishing its exceptional standards, and managing key relationships. Hall is forever a student of his craft and has attended the highest level of training and education tied to investment theory and practice. What's more, Hall has led many training programs for top advisors, and founded a peer group of hundreds of advisors, called Evidence-Based Advisors, from the U.S., UK, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, and Canada.
Hall graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. He and his wife, Lisa, have a young daughter who is the star of their lives.
Learn more about Hall at matthallbook.com and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Odds On is currently available for on 800 CEO Read, Amazon and other fine booksellers. 

Giveaway: Surviving Alzheimer's with Friend's, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine

With unfiltered observations and sometimes dark humor, author Dayna Steele chronicled her mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s on Facebook, which were then collected in a book, Surviving Alzheimer's. It is written with humor and the raw emotion Dayna felt from diagnosis to the end. It also has helpful sections from a neurologist, Long Term Care insurance specialist, other caregivers, documents expert, elder care attorney, and an assisted living advisor.

I have a chance to give away a copy of the book. To enter, leave a comment with one reason why you're interested in the book. Deadline is May 12th.

Dayna Steele is the creator and CEO of YourDailySuccessTip.com. She is the author of Rock to the Top: What I Learned about Success from the World's Greatest Rock Stars, the creator of the 101 Ways to Rock Your World book series, a Rock Radio Hall of Famer, and a successful entrepreneur. Dayna is currently traveling the country as the Chief Caring Expert for Caring.com. A professional business speaker, Dayna is also a regular contributor to Fox News Houston and consults Fortune 500 companies on leadership and employee success. She is married to author and former NASA pilot Dr. Charles Justiz. Her mother, Fran Nicholson, was her biggest fan.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Parenting Pointers: Talking to Your Kids About Drunk Driving

Every conversation is possibly a chance to save a life – a son or daughter, mother or father, or friend and family member. This year’s PowerTalk 21® focuses on research examining why young people agree to ride in a vehicle with a drinking driver – and how parents can talk with their children about NOT riding along. PowerTalk 21® is part of MADD's Power of Parents program, sponsored by Nationwide.

Although PowerTalk 21® was designed to raise awareness on April 21st, any day is a good day to have this conversation with your kids. Visit the Power of Parents to learn more.

Amazing Apps: Kitchology

For all of those who suffer from food allergies or cook for those who do, it can be challenge to find recipes that work within the restraints. Kitchology is a innovative each engine to make an cooks’ life easier, and tastier. 
Plan, purchase, cook and share. Kitchology aims to overcome food allergies through the power of technology and community. Steeped in Kitchen Science to provide the most personalized and useful results, this tool was designed with cooks in mind and sticks with the user all the way from recipe discovery to the end result, learning more and more about the user each time. Download the app here to help grow the Kitchology community and get cooking. Check out Kitchology’s website, visit us on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and the blog. Your Kitchen, Connected.

Book Nook: 6 Week Money Challenge

Certified Financial Planner™ Steve Repak’s newest book 6 Week Money Challenge For Your Personal Finances is a simple, step-by-step program founded on biblical principles paired with a CFP®’s understanding of modern wealth-management strategies.

The book, which I had a chance to review, is designed to fall over a six week time frame. This is smart - it means you don't have to change things all at once. Because it takes time to practice a new behavior before you can break at old one, spacing out the changes is sound practice. In fact, some people may need to space it out even more. Each week, there are some questions to answer, and then at the end of the week you can complete challenges and review progress.
  • WEEK 1 lays the biblical foundations of personal finance.
  • WEEK 2 focuses on spending.
  • WEEK 3 helps create a plan for reducing and getting out of debt, as well as improving your credit score.
  • WEEK 4 covers saving and investing.
  • WEEK 5 takes a look at important financial documents you should have in place and life insurance.
  • WEEK 6 provides a review and assessment on everything throughout the book.
I loved the book's timeline. I also liked its clear language, and how it was a good review of financial basics, but also went a little bit beyond the basics. It's obviously written for those who are struggling with their finances, but even people with a fairly good handle on their money might find room to improve.

Steve Repak is a Certified Financial Planner™, Army veteran, Financial Literacy Speaker and author of 6 Week Money Challenge For Your Personal Finances and Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money. Repak has traveled the world and has helped countless people turn their finances around with his inspiring financial literacy presentations and one-on-one financial coaching.
Repak has been a frequent guest on Fox and Friends, Fox Business, 700 Club, and CNN Headline News. He has been interviewed on NPR, Bloomberg Radio, Market Watch Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio, and many other National and Regional Shows. Steve’s work has been featured in Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily, BusinessWeek, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance & USA Today. He is currently a contributor to the Equifax® Finance Blog and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries.
Connect with Steve Repak on www.steverepak.com, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
6 Week Money Challenge can be purchased from Amazon and all major booksellers.

Consumer Critique: Unilever Frozen Treats

Unilever Ice Cream recently announced their newest family-friendly frozen treats across Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike and Popsicle.
·        Breyers Ice Cream Cake: Helping you celebrate any occasion – this new variety features Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream and loads of chocolatey crunchies, sandwiched between Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.
·        Breyers Chocolate Snack Cups: Features smooth Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream made with fresh cream and rich Dutch cocoa, in a pre-portioned snack cup.
·        Breyers Natural Vanilla Snack Cups: Features Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, made with simple ingredients like fresh cream, sugar, milk and Rainforest Alliance Certified vanilla beans, in a pre-portioned snack cup.
·        Good Humor Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich: Share the nostalgia of a classic with creamy chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cookies and topped with milk chocolate chips.
·        Klondike S’mores: Features creamy marshmallow ice cream laden with sweet graham cracker swirls inside a delightfully breakable milk chocolate flavored shell. All you need is a campfire!
·        Popsicle Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Michelangelo™, Donatello™, Raphael™ and Leonardo™ are the heroes of these frozen pops featuring four action-packed flavors: Orange Fury, Cherry Crush, Blue Raspberry Blast and Smashing Grape. Grab some before the movie premiere in June!

I had a chance to try out a bunch of these products, courtesy of Unilever. We really enjoy Breyer's and Magnum products in our house, with the higher quality ice cream and rich flavors. Klondike bars are also something my kids like, and having them as a S'mores flavor is a great new options. The only Unilever frozen treats my girls really don't like are Popsicles, but I have pretty strange kids. Overall, there are a lot of tasty desserts available in the frozen aisles from Unilever!

For a full list of all 17 products announced this year, including those from MAGNUM Ice Cream, please find the news release here

Consumer Critique: BasketBox

I recently had a chance to review a product from a fun personalized gift site, BasketBox. This site focuses on personalizing gifts based on state and city: Minnesotan, Alabamian, Angelino, Bostonian, etc. You can choose from hoodies, t-shirts, baby onesies, mugs, pillows, V-neck, dog tees, and phone cases (not all products available in all location options).

The hoodie I received was comfortable and cozy, and the screen printing was good quality. It's very appropriate to have a Minnesotan hoodie, since it gets cold here in the winter!

Right now you can save 10% off your first purchase when you sign up for the newsletter. You can also get free shipping of your order of $45 or more.

Shopping Savings: Fogo de Chao

On Sunday, May 8, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse welcomes families to celebrate Mother’s Day with a culinary journey through Southern Brazil. Guests can enjoy selections such as the house specialty picanha sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye, lamb chops, center cut bone-in pork chop, and chicken wrapped in bacon. As a special gift, Moms who dine on Mother’s Day weekend will receive a Dining Card good for a complimentary lunch or dinner on their next visit*.
The Mother’s Day menu is comprised of a variety of simply seasoned meats that are carefully fire-roasted and served tableside by authentic gaucho chefs. Additionally, Fogo offers a gourmet Market Table & Feijoada Bar, which includes seasonal salads, soup, fresh vegetables, feijoada (traditional black bean stew with rice, fresh orange and yucca flour), and much more. Southern Brazilian side dishes such as pão de queijo (warm cheese bread), crispy hot polenta, and caramelized bananas are served family style. To further complement the dining experience, the restaurant offers an award-winning wine list, tempting dessert menu, and creative and classic cocktails. Guests can also choose between lighter seafood selections, or enjoy the gourmet Market Table only option.
Fogo welcomes families of all sizes to celebrate their mothers on May 8. All locations will extend their hours, opening all day with seatings from 11:00am until 9:00pm. Meals for children six years of age and under are complimentary, and children seven to 12 years of age dine at half price for the Full Churrasco Experience. For information about specific locations or regarding group and private dining, visit fogo.com.
WHO:        Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse guests and their families 
WHAT:      Mother’s Day Celebration
WHERE:   Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
                For locations, visit fogo.com
WHEN:     Sunday, May 8, 2015
COST:      Mother’s Day pricing varies by location, see: fogo.com
               Children six years of age and under enjoy complimentary dining for the prix fixe churrasco menu, and children seven to 12 years of age dine at half price.  
Reservations recommended.
About Fogo de Chão
Fogo de Chão is a leading Brazilian steakhouse, or churrascaria, which has specialized for more than 36 years in fire-roasting high-quality meats utilizing the centuries-old Southern Brazilian cooking technique of churrasco. The company was founded in 1979 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and expanded into the U.S. in 1997. There are currently 42 locations throughout Brazil, the United States, and Mexico, including locations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago and Mexico City. For more information, visit Fogo.com or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
For a visual representation of the story of Fogo de Chão, watch “The Gaucho Way,” a documentary-style video that is shot through the eyes of real Fogo de Chão Brazilian gauchos and explores the restaurant’s deep cultural roots in Southern Brazil.
*One complimentary card per Mom while supplies last. The Fogo de Chão Mother’s Day Promotional Item Card is not a gift card. Valid for one complimentary lunch or dinner in the Main Dining Room at any U.S. or Puerto Rico Fogo de Chão location. Not valid in Brazil or Mexico. Valid redemption one Promotional Item Card per table. Beverages, desserts, tax, and gratuity are not included. This card cannot be redeemed for cash, except where applicable by law. Not valid in Bar Fogo, the bar area at Fogo de Chão, or with any other promotional offer. Fogo de Chão is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged Promotional Item Cards or unauthorized use. Promotional Item Card not valid if tampered with, duplicated, photocopied, or reproduced. Void where prohibited. For more information, contact info@fogodechao.com. Valid in the Main Dining Room Sunday-Thursday only, May 9-July 7, 2016. Not valid on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, 2016.

Movie Minute: Living Hope

I recently had to review the movie Living Hope,  the story of three extraordinary individuals who have devoted their lives to serving the poor in South Africa. This documentary was created by the filmmakers behind Journey to Everest, Apostles of Comedy, and Honoring a Father’s Dream: Sons of Lwala. It follows John Thomas, a pastor who is leading his church to serve the sick, hungry, and dying in the communities that surround them; Joey Lankford, a businessman and father of four who moved his young family from the United States to Cape Town to equip people with job skills and training; Leonie Rustin, a single mom and nursing assistant, who turned from a life of crippling drug addiction to follow Christ and help others break free of their addictions.

It's hard to see what some people have to go through, but it's inspiring to see what some people are doing about it. The documentary is well-written, and captures the emotion of what it's like to serve these communities.

Stories from Our Mothers Become Our Greatest Gifts

By Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D. & Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D.

The Yupik, an indigenous people of Alaska, had the tradition of passing down wisdom from elders to the young. They called these stories “wise words.” The wise words were shared as stories both profound and potent. The Yupik placed value on elder wisdom. We may not always recognize when such valuable wisdom comes from our own mothers, but this Mother’s Day remember that listening is one of the greatest gifts of all. 
Here are some wise words from our mothers:
My parents were immigrants from India. Growing up in the 1960s I wanted to be exactly the same as everyone: American. I viewed my mother as someone who did not understand how to be an American. My mother had an accent; my friends’ mothers did not. She wore “strange” clothing—a sari—where other kids’ moms dressed in “normal” dresses.
Consequently, my mother’s stories of her childhood in the 1930s and early 1940s in British-held India were not fascinating to me. They were filled with all sorts of strange relatives: a broadly defined term to reflect even a tangential familial association: for example, my mother’s sister’s husband’s sister’s husband’s grandmother. Many of these people met with tragedy: a capsized boat and an “uncle” who drowned because he did not know how to swim; the Guptis—whoever they were—and their heedless spending habits that lost them their fortune; or, quirky characters like my great-grandmother who didn’t know how to read or write, yet she formed a complex system of savings and loans among a group of female relatives.
Until very recently, I would listen with barely contained impatience. I had heard these stories so many times. Yet, had I? I could readily talk about the Yupik elders and their wise words, but I ignored the elder right in front of me. Now that I’m older, I reflect on my mother’s stories for what they are: life lessons.
Dr. Shoba Sreenivasan

My parents were both in the Holocaust and lost most of their closest relatives. Despite my mother’s history, she was a positive and joyful person. She spoke of how important her family was to her and how you had to fight for what you wanted.
When I left for college, my mother had a hard time coping with the “empty nest.” A few months after my departure, she sent me a newspaper clipping from an advice column that said, “Healthy birds fly away.” She was telling me that she had accomplished exactly what she was meant to do; she was proud of herself and me.
Whenever I returned home to visit, my mother couldn’t wait to talk about all the latest news regarding the family, and the world in general. Through the years much of what my mother would talk about, she had already told me.
I thought that my listening was a gift I could give her.
The last time I spoke to my mother was two days before she had a massive stroke from which she died three days later. That last contact was during our weekly telephone call. This one lasted more than 90 minutes, where I spent the majority of time listening to her. She died just before her 71st birthday.
Now, I hear her words in my mind and know that they were the gift. My mother’s wisdom was revealed in the way she lived her life: full of optimism. She showed me, and all those who knew her, that despite experiencing unfathomable horrors and losses, a person can demonstrate the will not only to survive, but to live a good life that is hopeful. She instilled in me the perspective that it is much better to consider life as a “glass that is half full” than as a “glass that is half empty.” A small cognitive shift, but a profound one.
In allowing our mothers to speak their wise words into our ears, if we listen, we give them meaning; we allow them to engage in a life reflection, and we acknowledge and use their wisdom.
The Yupik elders said of their giving of wise words, “we talk to you because we love you.”
This is the lesson we now know; our mothers spoke to us because they loved us.
—Dr. Linda E. Weinberger
Dr. Shoba Sreenivasan and Dr. Linda E. Weinberger are authors of the new book Psychological Nutrition, which encourages women to live happier and healthier lives by monitoring emotions that are consumed on a daily basis.