Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thrifty Thinking: Student Loans Affect Multiple Generations

Student loan debt has been a skyrocketing problem across multiple age groups over recent decades, and an AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report highlights the important role that older Americans play in financing college education for their children, grandchildren and other family members.
Federal Reserve data shows that Americans owed $1.5 trillion in student loan debt as of last December. An updated analysis shows people aged 50 and older owed 20 percent of that total, or $289.5 billion, a more than five-fold increase from $47.3 billion in 2004.
“It is stunning that more families are taking on such sharply greater amounts of student debt than in the past,” said Lori Trawinski, director of Banking and Finance at the AARP Public Policy Institute.
“For younger families, this burden impedes their ability to save for other purposes, such as for a home, their children’s education or for their own retirement,” added Trawinski. “For older families, long-term financial security can be threatened by this burden.”
Most older borrowers hold loans taken out for their own education, and the percentage of borrowers aged 50 and older in default is much higher than for younger borrowers. Data also show that Parent PLUS (direct federal loan) borrowers aged 65+ are facing higher rates of default than younger age groups.
The PPI report includes survey results released today that focus on the role played by 50 and older Americans in helping “someone else pay for college and other post high school education.”
(The survey specifically included only those individuals who have not yet fully paid off the debt or who have paid it off within the past five years.)
Of those 50 and over who helped pay for “someone else,” 80 percent helped a child, compared with six percent who helped a spouse or partner; eight percent, a grandchild, and even smaller percentages “who helped other relatives or friends.”
A key finding was that the most common involvement by people aged 50 and older was cosigning a loan (45 percent), while a smaller percentage (34 percent) ran a balance on a credit card and 26 percent took out a Parent PLUS loan.
Among those who cosigned a private student loan, nearly half – 49 percent – made a payment on the loan, often because they wanted to proactively assist the student borrower. A quarter (25 percent) said they had to make a payment after the student failed to do so.
The survey asked the one quarter of survey respondents who had taken out a Parent PLUS federal loan, and who had made a payment over the prior five years, whether they ever had any difficulty making payments. Nearly a third (32 percent) did have a problem with at least one payment. The breakdown by race/ethnicity for those having a problem with a payment was: African Americans/Blacks, 46 percent; Hispanics, 49 percent, and whites, 29 percent.
The survey was conducted online in August, 2017 by GFK using the GFK KnowledgePanel®. The survey was fielded among a sample of adults aged 40 and older who have education-related debt for college or other post high school education on behalf of someone else. The sample consisted of 3,319 adults aged 40 and older, including 838 non-Hispanic African Americans, 860 Hispanic/Latinos and 1,117 aged 60 and older. The margin of error was +/- 2.2 percent.
About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media. 

Mealtime Magic: Yume Dog from The Peached Tortilla

I have a chance to share some great recipes from The Peached Tortilla.

Yume DogServes 4

Growing up in Japan, I was infatuated with Japanese burgers. Fusion, in my opinion gets a bad rap because it’s not traditional. But who gives a shit if it’s not traditional as long as it tastes good? The Japanese fuse everything, including their fast food. As a kid, I craved the teriyaki burger at McDonald’s, and eventually graduated to MOS Burger, the mecca of Japanese-inspired burgers. In my opinion, there is no better fast-food join in the world than MOS Burger. The movement to fuse Japanese flavors with American staples continued stateside, after Japadog was launched in Canada, and copycats started to open up shop in Seattle. Creating a Japanese-inspired hot dog was by no means my idea. But this dog is unique to the Yume Burger concept I created. I wanted to fuse the very American flavor of a hot dog with the Japanese flavors of tonkatsu sauce, wasabi, and nori.

4 hot dog buns
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
4 jumbo Hebrew National® kosher all beef franks
2 cups, Tempura-Battered Onion Strings (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons Wasabi Mayo (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons Tonkatsu Sauce (see recipe below)
¼ cup shredded Nori

Using a serrated knife, slice the buns from the top as opposed to the side. You will be laying the hot dog into the bun from the top, as you would layer lobster into a Connecticut lobster role.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and lay the hot dogs in the pan. Turn the hot dogs so that they cook on all sides. This should take about 4 minutes. Remove the hot dogs from the heat and transfer them to a separate plate.

In the same pan in which you cooked the hot dogs, lay the buns, split side down, until they brown a little. Once they have browned, flip the buns to toast the other sides.

Remove the buns from the pan and stuff the hot dogs into the buns.

Lay the tempura-battered onion strings on top of the hot dogs. Then top the hot dogs with the wasabi mayo, tonkatsu sauce, and shredded nori.

We use a local bakery at Peached. One thing to note when you purchase buns: I personally like a good hot dog-to-bun ration. Buns that are too big can overpower the hot dog. The bigger the bun, the bigger the hot dog you should try to source. If you do end up buying a larger bun, you can always cut off the sides a little bit, just as you might trim a bun for a lobster roll. I suggest a lightweight bun that won’t overpower this hot dog.

Tempura-Battered Onion Strings
Makes about 2 cups

2 quarts vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, sliced very thinly, widthwise, on a mandolin
12 ounces Shiner Block® or another American-style dark lager
1 cup dry Tempura mix

To Make the Tempura-Battered Onion Strings

Pour the oil into a large, deep saucepan or pot, and heat the oil until it reaches 350 F degrees.

Soak the sliced onion in the lager, and then remove it. Dredge the wet onion on the tempura batter. Gently shake the onion in a fine mesh strainer or colander to release any excess batter. When the oils reaches 350 F degrees, place the onion in the hot oil and fry it for 20 seconds, or until it is lightly browned. Remove the inion strings from the oil and place them on top of a paper towel-line plate.

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared wasabi paste (see Note)
¾ tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon sesame oil

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk them together. Store the mayo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Note: if you are using wasabi powder, mix it with cold water to create a paste. The strength of the wasabi paste is the biggest variable in this recipe. The stronger the paste, the stronger the mayo. After you’ve made the paste, taste it to make sure it’s not overpowering. I recommend using a ratio of 1 teaspoon of wasabi powder to 1 teaspoon of cold water.

Tonkatsu Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

1 ½ cups tomato ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch slurry
(mix ¾ tablespoon cornstarch with ¾ tablespoon cold water)

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepot and stir them together. 

Place the saucepan on the stovetop and bring the mixture to a boil.

Once the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer.

Simmer the mixture for 40 minutes. Do not overcook the mixture and let it reduce too much or the resulting sauce will be too salty.

Store the Tonkatsu Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Erc Silverstein’s background in Asian food culture and, later, his immersion in Southern and Southwestern cuisine, inspires the cooking at his hip restaurant, The Peached Tortilla, in Austin, Texas. Locals and visitors to Austin arec onveniently introduced to his restaurant concept through the airport location, one of four locations in The PeachedTortilla brand. It’s restaurants like The Peached Tortilla that have made Austin into a dining destination.Eric's new cookbook,The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas(Sterling Publishing, May7, 2019), is filled with 100 flavor-packed recipes, including many of the restaurant’s most beloved dishes, like theBanhMi Taco, Japajam Burger, andBacon Jam Fries, which gained a cult-like following when Silverstein first served them out of his famed Austin-based food truck. Other crowd-pleasing favorites range from crispy Umami Fried Chicke and Korean Short Rib Pappardelle with Smoked Crème Fraicheto Asian Pear Miso Salad and Roasted Cauliflower with Nori Brown Butter.Part cookbook, part memoir, Eric (who practiced law before throwing in his brief case for an apron) weaves his fascinating (and sometimes agonizing) life story throughout each chapter.Silverstein, named one of Plate Magazine’s “30 Up and Coming Chefs in America” and a “Rising Star” by FSRMagazine, has been featured in People, The New York Times, Kiplinger’s, and Food and Wine, as well as onLive! with Kelly and Michael, Food Network and The Cooking Channel

Get the book on
Barnes & Noble

Shopping Savings: Vegamour

Vegamour is offering up to 35% off online orders from 5/24 to 5/28 with the code SUMMERLOVES.
VEGAMOUR is a company that specializes in an impressive lineup of products that are clinically tested to naturally grow hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. All products are made without synthetic hormones or carcinogens in any of their formulas. Best sellers include the vegaLASH Volumizing Serum, vegaBROW Volumizing SerumvegaLASH Volumizing Mascara, and the VEGAMOUR Volumizing Hair Serum.  

VEGAMOUR is a company that specializes in an impressive lineup of products that are clinically tested to naturally grow hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. All products are made without synthetic hormones or carcinogens in any of their formulas. Vegamour believes that you shouldn’t have to compromise your health in order to have beautiful lashes, brows and hair. They believe that the healthier you are, the better you feel and the better you feel, the healthier you grow! With this philosophy in mind, Vegamour has developed integrated, end-to-end hair wellness systems that approach hair loss from multiple angles with powerful plant-based products that have been clinically proven to outperform competing hair growth products formulated with toxic chemicals.

All products are made with sustainably sourced natural ingredients and a mindfulness toward social impact and ethical responsibility. Vegamour’s purpose is to enrich the lives of everyone they come into contact with, from their organic farmers, Fair Trade partners and owner-employees to valued customers. Vegamour can be found on Instagram at @VEGAMOUR.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Parenting Pointers: Throw a Great Birthday Party - Without Breaking the Bank

Tips for Joe at RoosterFin

If you're like most people, the years go by quickly. It sure seems like every time you blink, another year has come and gone. And if you're a parent, grandparent, or important figure in a child's life, that means you've got to plan and budget for yet another birthday party.

I understand you want to make your child's birthday party memorable and fun for everyone without breaking the bank. Follow these simple guidelines for an easy and affordable birthday party your child and their friends will love! And even better, these tips will exercise you and your child's creative muscles and give them valuable play time.

1. Get Creative and Recycle
Most of the tips you're going to read here and over on the RoosterFin blog will center around unleashing your inner artist and re-purposing any old arts and crafts supplies and projects you've already got around the house.

2. Stay Organized Ahead of Time
To keep from getting flustered, pick out the guest list ahead of time, and choose a theme. Better yet, choose a theme that goes with your child's old artwork. Your child will get a kick out of cutting out pictures of their old drawings or stickers and gluing them on to the invitations. Try to send out invitations at least two weeks before the party, that way parents have plenty of time to RSVP.

3. Conquer Your Territory
This sounds way heavier than it actually is. All I mean here is pick out where you're going to host the party ahead of time. Got a dry, spacious basement? Or an airy attic space? Perhaps you have a nice deck and backyard, or live close to a park. Pick your space and consider prepping it ahead of time.

If you've got a jungle theme, you can decorate the space with stuffed animals your child already has. For under-the-sea parties, cut out streamers from construction paper or old ribbon in shades of blue and hang or drape them. You can also use stored Christmas lights to brighten up the space and make it festive. Basically, by getting creative, you don't need to spend money on new decor and supplies.

4. Let the Games Begin
Plan and pick out the games ahead of time. Set up multiple stations for different games so everyone has a chance to play something different or that will work for their skill level. Also, to get kids to blow off steam from all of the inevitable sugar they're going to consume, organize a scavenger hunt with things you already have around the house.

For kids who need a little quiet time, you can also set up a craft station. The Dollar store sells paints, stick-on jewels and other festive materials you can pick up on the cheap. Grab some mason jars and have kids decorate their party favors.

Remember to enlist your child's help and input when planning and organizing the party. It's a great way to bond with your child and create more fun memories with them. If you want some more in-depth tips for how to pull-off a fun and affordable birthday party, head on over to the RoosterFin blog! Don't forget to leave a comment if you've got any party-planning insights you'd like to share.

Healthy Habits: Momnibus Legislation

The US has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world. According to the CDC, in 2019 - American women are more than twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than they were in 1987. 

Mom Congress (a coalition of nonprofit organizations) recently spent three days bringing together moms and those who support them to talk with government leaders about what matters most in maternal and child health. During this time, Mom Congress partnered with members of Congress to present legislation meant to address the barriers that women face and help ensure high quality care for every woman, every time. This group of legislation is known as the “Momnibus." 

I had a chance to do an interview to learn more.

Why are women dying?
  • Uneven quality of care - Many hospitals have no standardized protocols or guidelines in place to prevent or address the most common causes of maternal death.
  • Disparities because of race, ethnicity, income and other factors - Black women and American Indian/Alaska Native women in the US have a three to four times greater risk of dying from a complication of pregnancy than their white counterparts.
  • Too little support prenatally and postpartum - $4 out of every $5 spent on pregnancy and childbirth related care is concentrated in the period around labor and birth leaving few resources for effective preventive services before and following childbirth, including nutrition and smoking counseling, how to recognized important warning signs, and mental health screening and counseling.
  • No one is listening - Too often women and their families tell of experiences where they knew something was wrong, but were ignored or dismissed. That can result in complications worsening, sometimes leading to death.
  • Shortages of healthcare providers - Especially in rural and urban areas, hospitals and maternity units have been steadily closing. Nearly half the counties in the US have NO OB/GYN. More than half have no certified nurse midwives.
How can Congress address these critical needs?
Legislation can address the barriers that women face and help ensure high quality care for every woman, ever time. Quality measures and safety protocols help identify and treat complications early and address them before they become life-threatening. Workforce development and provider training on evidence- based maternity care and implicit bias are critical to reducing medical errors, improving respectful care, and giving expecting families options selecting a provider. Culturally appropriate prenatal and postpartum support services like care coordination and home visits lead to healthier moms and babies. Medicaid coverage of doula care would expand access to this high-value model that improves childbirth outcomes, leads to greater patient-satisfaction, and holds the potential for cost savings.  Increasing integration of midwives into the health care system will ease provider shortages, improving family’s access to care in underserved areas and communities.

Thrifty Thinking: Airbnb Scam

A new scam is targeting Airbnb accounts by charging people with non-refundable reservations at fake destination rentals and then canceling them.

After theses fake reservations are canceled, some people are having issues accessing their Airbnb accounts. Some users are also checking their bank statements and finding out they’ve been charged $1,500 - $2,000 for fake reservations they didn’t book.

Adam Levin, Founder of CyberScout and author of "Swiped" says "It's the beginning of summer travel season and scammers are already making it no day at the beach for Airbnb users.  Users are being charged for non refundable fake reservations at bogus resorts and in some cases their bank and/or paypal accounts have been drained.  Users' accounts and login credentials have been compromised through breaches or they fell victim to a phishing attack where hackers were able to infect their email with malware and gain unauthorized access to their accounts.  Consumers need to beware of fake booking sites.  Look for slight changes in the URL address. Go to the official site to book travel.  Use long and strong passwords that don't repeat across accounts and enable two factor authentication.  When booking hotels and conducting financial transactions, don't use public WiFi.  Use a VPN or a personal hotspot."

Adam K. Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience and is a nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. A former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Mr. Levin is Chairman and founder of CyberScout and co-founder of  Adam Levin is the author of Amazon Best Selling Book  Swiped:  How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers and Identity Thieves.

Caring Causes: Love Bank

Love Bank is a beautiful rustic wooden heart with a clear glass front, filled with love felt notes for your Grad. It's a great gift for them to take to college with them to read their notes when they're homeseick.  Loved ones write their messages on adorable cardstock heart-shaped paper. It's not only a gorgeous gift, but it's incredibly meaningful as well.  
Plus, with every purchase of Love Bank, love and kindness is also spread to those in need and meals are being donated through their partnership with Feeding America®.

Parenting Pointers: The Stepmoms' Club

Blending families is no easy task. With 1,300 stepfamilies formed everyday and 15 million stepmothers in the U.S. alone, more than 1 in 4 American adults have at least one-step relative in their family, and over 50% of U.S. families are remarried or re-coupled.
The Stepmoms’ Club is here to support all of them!
Founded more than 20 years ago (before social media), Kendall Rose*, a finance professional and three stepmom friends started getting together monthly for a girls’ night out to discuss and compare tales of combat, truces, failures and victories.
They are sharing some of the advice they’ve culled over the past decades here, in THE STEPMOMS’ CLUB: How to Be A Stepmom Without Losing Your Money, Your Mind, and Your Marriage (Sourcebooks), a girlfriend’s guide to this unique life. [MORE ABOUT THE BOOK BELOW].
Rose, a finance professional, urges all stepmoms and stepmom-to-be to be sure to Focus on the 4 Ds (as soon as possible) to Make a Harmonious Transition:
-- DOCUMENTS: Examine the divorce decree and custody agreement to find out financial obligations to previous spouse; to understand milestones in the settlement agreement regarding child support payments or certain financial responsibilities as to where money is going and for how long. These are the stepmom roadmaps to your future.
--DOLLARS: Now that you’ve digested the documents, get a calculator and a pencil. It’s time for a spreadsheet. Start with your salary and your spouse’s net salary (by net we mean net salary AFTER alimony and child support). Now discuss how much additional money should be set aside for court-sanctioned support, doctor co-pays, ballet lessons, therapy, kids’ clothes, sports equipment, etc. Be proactive about what your income will contribute and what his really is. Will you have separate accounts? What is your estate plan (no this cannot wait!)?
--DELEGATION: Delegate as much as you can to professionals. If possible, hire a team of third party unbiased experts who specialize in tax, estate planning, financial planning, and legal matters for blended families. Meet with your ‘advisory team’ to help ensure all professionals are on the same page. Prepare for difficult situations ahead of time and don’t delay uncomfortable topics and conversations.
--DO stay true to YOURSELF. Practice self-care. Keep your hobbies. Have friends. Find a local Stepmoms’ Club or join in online judgement-free, guilt-free, honest talk and advice.
Written by stepmom for stepmoms, THE STEPMOMS’ CLUB is full of takeaways and checklists to help navigate these murky waters. Staying ahead of the financial and legal agreements means less fights and more peace.
KENDALL ROSE* has had a long career as a business executive in the financial services industry. She and her family reside in the Midwest—where she is also able to follow her passion for horseback riding and her volunteer work in equine-assisted therapy. She is an accomplished public speaker who has been a featured guest and provided commentary about blended family legal and financial challenges, and solutions to leading media outlets such as: TODAY, CBS Radio, The Jenny McCarthy Show, New York Post and more.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of families and loved ones.
You've met the partner of your dreams and have gotten your happily ever after, but now you've taken on a new role: stepmom. And you have no idea what you signed up for. Or maybe you've been a stepmom for a while now, but things are getting you down. Who do you turn to for help? Where is the stepmothering support group that'll give you the advice you need? Who actually gets how hard being a stepmom can be?
We do. We are the women who have chosen stepmotherhood and lived to tell the tale. This guide holds our solutions to help you:

  • Brave the crazy ex demands
  • Overcome the financial hurdles of a blended family
  • Be prepared for the legal battles and custody arrangements
  • Handle disrespectful children
  • Nourish your relationship
  • Maneuver the emotional breakdowns of stepmotherhood
  • Build your own stepmom's club
  • Understand why you need your partner to have your back

Website Spotlight: IfOnly

I love the idea of giving an adventurous experience instead of a gift - IfOnly offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences at all price ranges.
How about a guided hike with wolves, a private feeding of sharks, a traditional Chinese archery lesson, joining on a professional fossil hunt, or even a fire-eating lesson – IfOnly partners with luminaries and top talent of all types to provide experiences you can't find anywhere else.
Plus, portions of every purchase go towards a specific charity. Visit

Enriching Education: Early Interaction Between Youth and Employers

The future will be about pairing the cognitive, social and emotional capabilities of human beings with machines. The Drawing the Future report, featuring 20,000 children aged 7 – 11 from 20 countries, concluded that kids’ perspectives were often based on gender stereotypes, socio-economic backgrounds, and TV and social media. The CEO of Education and Employers, Nick Chambers, whose organization collaborated with the OECD on the report, says 36% of young people based their career aspirations on someone they knew, and 45% because of TV, film or radio, with “only 1% learning about a job from someone visiting their school.” Gender and socio-economic stereotyping had a lot of impact, with 20 times as many boys planning “to have a role in the armed forces or firefighting services” as compared with girls, who “aspired to be involved in the fashion industry.” Chambers says the goal of his organization is to broaden youth perspectives and ensure that children don’t feel restricted by the media's version of who or what they should become in the future. His organization also hopes to educate and prepare future workers with the skills employers value most. 

Read the full article here

Nick Chambers is the Chief Executive of Education and Employers, a UK based charity. Previously, Chambers studied Environmental Management and ran his own business. He also was Director of Education at Business in the Community. During this time, he oversaw the production of a report on school governance on behalf of the National Council of Education Excellence. 
CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers. 
For more information on CMRubinWorld
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