September 20, 2020

Latest Posts


Disney on Ice: Pros & Cons of Working in This Industry

Get paid to travel throughout the United States and abroad while working with Disney on Ice? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not! I’ve had the pleasure, and foot-ache, of working with Disney on Ice and being able to travel to multiple US cities, and so have 3 of my family members. It’s not feasible for everyone, but if you’re interested in broadening your horizons, the opportunity to work with Disney on Ice, and travel, is worth a look. There are pros and cons to this enterprise of traveling with a Disney show and I will go into detail about a few of each. Beside all the positive and negative factors of this industry there are popular Disney Performing Arts Workshops that are organized at regular intervals. This is a really good opportunity for all those interested in performing arts. You get a full Disney experience there along with experienced mentors.

PRO-Paid to travel with Disney!

This is a big one. Crew members travel to a new city every week, for months at a time. Vendors and operators on a Disney on Ice tour are paid after every show as an Independent Contractor. Payment is on a commission basis, and everyone must be prepared to work hard. Much of the travel is conducted through charter bus companies, but if the trip is long enough you’ll get a free airline ticket, nothing like frequent flyer miles and being able to travel for free!

CON-Responsible for taxes

As an Independent Contractor for Feld Entertainment, the company that produces the Disney on Ice shows, the vendor or operator is completely responsible for filing all tax requirements with the Internal Revenue Service. Contractors are given a 1099 at the end of each tax year. It is imperative that expenses are tracked and logged to assure proper documentation at the end of the tax year.

PRO-Stay in quality hotels for a small fee each week with the rest of the Disney crew

Disney on Ice foots the bill for hotel rooms, asking that each member of the crew pay a small rental fee, usually in the neighborhood of $25-$30 dollars. A small price to pay for nice accommodations for an entire week. When I was a vendor, I stayed in hotels on Miami Beach, Canal Street in New Orleans, and a full suite with kitchen and living room in Salt Lake City.

CON-Away from home for extended periods

This can be a major con for some people who have many responsibilities at home. Disney on Ice Tours usually begin in September and run through March or May, but there is a Christmas break. However, since everyone is an Independent Contractor, there is the freedom of going home at any time that it’s necessary and returning when one is able.

PRO-Foreign travel, the world loves Disney

There is a limited need for vendors/operators to take advantage of foreign travel, but I know of a few people who have traveled to Mexico, Canada, Japan and China. Hawaii, although not foreign, has also been a destination in the past. With Disney, the possibilities are endless.

CON-Long hours

Most Disney on Ice shows are held Wednesday evening thru Sunday afternoon. Saturday is the busiest with 3 shows in one day. Many times morning call is between 9 and noon, workers don’t return to their hotel until about 1030 or 11 pm. This leaves little options for dining and sleep can be missed while in some cities, like Las Vegas.

PRO-High School Graduates can save money  amp; tour colleges

This is an excellent way to save money for college. By not paying for an apartment, car payment or gas, and making money everyday one works, a prospective college student can watch their savings grow. As an added bonus, gaining experience in sales with Disney, and traveling to a variety of places will allow the student in search of the perfect college to tour those they like. Cities I’ve been to include, but are not limited to, San Francisco  amp; Oakland, San Jose, Las Vegas, Columbia SC, and Miami. In Columbia SC we worked in the arena located on the college campus.

The people that would be perfect to take advantage of this opportunity are those over 18 (a requirement), drug free (random testing), able to clear a criminal history background check (required) and have little responsibilities at home. However, anyone meeting the requirements can certainly make the decision to work on the road. My mother, who has a mortgage and a family, has decided to try her hand at this lifestyle. There are a variety of Disney on Ice tours and many of them have just begun their season in September.

What types of jobs are available you ask? Well, think about the last time you went to a Disney on Ice show or Ringling Bros. Circus (the same company produces both). There are tables where customers can purchase novelty items such as lights, t-shirts, plush toys, etc. There are other tables where customers can purchase snow cones, popcorn, and cotton candy. Some choose to be a vendor, which is the person who gets a healthy workout by selling inside the arena seating area. I have personal experience as a cotton candy vendor. And for those that don’t like the idea of a sales position, there are a few office positions but these positions are paid every two weeks and harder to get.

Do you find yourself more and more curious about the opportunity of getting paid to travel with Disney and bring a smile to millions of children in the process? If your over 18, have no problem with random drug tests and can get away for extended periods of time this may be exactly what you’ve been waiting for, and as always, feel free to contact me.

Biore Restore Skin-Boosting Night Serum Review

There’s a time when a young woman realizes she’s getting old. You can’t fight aging but you can sure as heck slow down the signs of aging. No, I don’t mean plastic surgery. Really, all it takes is starting a daily skin care routine and reading the ingredients to products you use on your face. Start one as early as possible. There are products made specifically for young girls and mature women, finding products for the age group in between is a little more difficult.

I’m in my mid 20s and one night I woke up, heart racing, realizing how close I am to hitting thirty. Aside from the panic thoughts of ‘where is my life going’ and ‘I can’t believe how little I’ve accomplished,’ I thought about the health of my skin. I’ve been using moisturizer with an SPF since I was 15, in that regards I’ve taken fairly well of my face. As I got older I switched to a moisturizer with a higher SPF and more protection. Now I’m at the road where I need to start taking other precautions. This little revelation came to me when I started noticing dry, flaky patches around my cheek bones and mouth when I wake up in the morning. Then there were the dark circles from my insomnia and the dullness of my complexion. It wasn’t enough to cleanse before bed and moisturize in the morning, I needed something else. After some research I came across Biore’s Restore Skin-Boosting Night Serum. I know, it’s a mouthful.

I compared the reviews and prices with several other products both drugstore and department store brands. Biore’s night serum was by far the most reasonable sounding in terms of price and positive reviews, so I gave it a shot. Considering the state of the current economy I really didn’t want to splurge on some $50 tiny bottle of cream and risk wasting my money. Don’t be put off by the small size. It’s well worth the money at just $10 for a 1.41 oz bottle.

The product claims to help your skin restore itself while you sleep and keep it moisturized. This night serum contains Celandine (wild yellow poppy),vitamins A and C, antioxidants, chamomile, sage, rosemary, aloe and nettle extracts that work to strengthen your skin. It’s also oil free so it won’t clog your pores. After months of trying this product out I’d definitely recommend it. It does everything that it claims. I no longer wake up with dry, flaky skin. I always wake up looking well rested, even on days I’m not, and my skin is soft and vibrant. I like that the serum is so light that once you put it on you forget it’s there.

It comes in a small bottle but a little bit goes a long way. You really don’t need much because that bottle will last you months. If you’re looking for a night cream or serum that does the job with an affordable price tag, get Biore Restore Skin-Boosting Night Serum.

There are numerous plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery options in abundance if serums and medicine prove futile.

The Process To Buy Listed Insurance Companies

No matter how harmless the buying of insurance seems, acquiring policy returns are subjected to market risks. The insurance market is full of credible companies and trickster enterprises alike. Gullible clients get trapped in the lofty policy returns that some insurance firms claim to make but eventually fail to execute. At the time of such crisis, if legal actions are taken against the insurance company, then all its assets get liquidated. There is a protocol that all insurance companies have to follow in order to acquire the license required to sell insurance. Firms only get a legal certificate if they can mortgage a considerable part of their assets. The company must have floatable assets in order to get into the business. If an insurance company gets bankrupted at any point of time, its assets are listed at chartered websites. There is a specific procedure involving specialty insurance consultants to buy an insurance company’s corporate assets.

The buying of an insurer

An investor, seeking to eliminate loss due to market risks, should apply for the purchasing of an insurer in receivership. This process allows you to be notified when an insurer is listed up for sale. The investor needs to register oneself with the in-charge of the receivership court with a non-refundable deposit. After being approved by the court, you will get the right to be informed as soon as the insurer goes up for sale at a chartered website.

Buying books on insurance

This is applicable for licensed insurers who seek to buy an insurance company as soon as they get listed. The insurer applying for an offer to purchase books of insurance will first need to prove his financial credibility. The buyer of the firm’s financial assets must be able to write off clients who have their returns put on hold by the suspended insurance office. The company making the purchase needs to register under the new policy of coverage that includes the floated firm’s financial assets. The buyer needs to make an offer which if found commendable; they get to proceed with the application. The court will then notify the buyer at the time of liquidation.

Assuming a book of insurance

If there is a transfer of risk from a listed company, the buyer has to write off the insurance products on sale. The purchaser making such an offer at the receivership court needs to be licensed in order to carry out the obligations of the floated firm. The buyer requires to get registered at the court with necessary documents. This followed by an approval will enable a buyer to get notified at the charted website when the insurance company in question gets sold.

Buying a loss portfolio transfer

This agreement allows a firm listed at the receivership court to obtain a portion of the liquidated firm’s liabilities. This is paired with a considerable part of the insurance company’s assets. The carrying out of this exchange will enable a buyer to write off insurance products stated by the insurance firm in the receivership. The buyer needs to be a licenc3d insurer in order to be eligible for this transaction. This exchange too is carried out via the court where the buyer has to register his offer. The selected buyer will be informed once the company being floated is put up on the respective website

Ways to Relieve Back Pain

The modern world has seen so much, among which the back pain has become a common issue in almost every person we meet. Every form of back pain that one suffers form isn’t actually a fault of him/her but it’s the lifestyle that has to go with. Well, speaking in medical terms, the back pain occurs from the muscles, the joints, the nerves that constitute the back part of our spine. The need to understand which form of back pain is one suffering form is very important to get a effective and adequate remedy. Some well known forms of it are neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain and tailbone pain. There is Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin that can help you with this. These specialists are trained professionals that you rely on for your back related problems. You can make sure that you get the best treatment for your back pain there in Austin.

The simple and the most effective ways of treating the back pain is mostly not taken into consideration by many and as a result of which the expensive and fast relief surgeries are done right at the spot of the emergence of it or even after trying to cure it by their methods and failing. The surgeries prove to be a quick relief but in fact aren’t so, the ill effects starts to rise in a small period of time as we continue with our daily choirs. The cure lies in patience and continuous following of the on going technique. These include:

Yoga: The most acclaimed method that guarantees the total removal of the pain for ever and even make one deal with the prevention side, that proves to be very much in the affordable and effective side of the healing. The medication even can play a part in dealing with the pain not only physically but mentally, which is more important when one considers the will and the body as a whole.

Massages: The comfortable healing is possible with the massaging sessions that can prove to provide relief but should be continued, and not stopped when the pain seem to fade away. The professional massage-parlors surely deal with treatment of back pains.

Acupuncture: Chinese methodology of treatment for human body disorders can definitely help in finding the back pain cause and deal with it as required for each and every peculiar body type. The treatment is famous in healing not only back pains but several other disorders.

Home exercises: Before the pain gets into the chronic stage the back bending and joint relieving exercises can be practiced, the several positions can be learned though simple consulting of a physiotherapist just once not more than that, I believe. When the disc slips or even the small cracks are the cause for the back pain then the exercise is never to be tried, which would worsen the condition.

Heat treatment: Hot water bags with herbal medicines added in it and soaking it over the back for a period of 10-15 minutes can do wonders when the method is continued for a few months. The herbal medicines do have a quality that when its use begins the healing takes time but when it starts healing it heals forever.

Meditation: Healing plays not only a part in the physical kind of it but the mind and the soul in myth terms have to be bonded well enough, the proper and quality medication tips and guiding is a kind of weapon that can heal the pain as readily as the strong medicine has the capability to.

There can be any method that can be opted according to the suitability of the person’s body kind , the only thing that has to be kept in mind is to not let the pain control you rather you realize it and act as quick as you can to permit yourself to get rid of the pain once and for all.


Going Broke in the Wrong Small Business

Becoming your own boss is the dream of almost every person that feels they are underpaid or unjustly treated on their job. Not having to kiss the ass of a superior employee every day is a step toward personal freedom. Many accept their slavish fate and go on doing what they hate. But other more adventurous people go into a small business hoping that one day they will become their own boss. Unfortunately only fifty percent of them are still in business after five years, the rest fulfill the dream of becoming their own boss. But I will tell you about a small business where ninety percent of investors fail in the first year, and that is in the vending machine business.

The salesman encouraged me into buying ten candy dispensing machines costing me fifteen thousand dollars. He promised that once on location I will be earning more than two thousand dollars a month. That meant that my investment would be returned in less than a year. It sounded great and I was sure of being successful. This is how many investors lose their hard earned money. There are several best small business crm software that these investors can use in order to minimize their risk and they can analyze the market as well.

My fifteen thousand dollar investment was delivered, and I proudly examined my candy machines to see if they were in good condition. They worked perfectly and I was sure that I got a good deal. Now all I had to do was follow the salesmen’s advice and put them on location. First I tried the motels and found that all of them had gigantic candy vending machines combined with ones that dispensed coffee and cold beverages. They were owned by a large corporation that had its machines in all of the motels. My little candy vending machine had no chance of being given a spot to stand. I then tried to locate them in beauty parlors and gas stations, and within three weeks all my ten machines were on location. A month later it was collection time and I happily went out to collect the money in the machines. At the end of a hard day of collecting and replacing a few candy bars, I was rewarded with twenty two dollars and fifty cents. Tears flowed down my cheeks.

I called up the guy that sold me the machines and told him my problem. He said that what I did was correct, but I had to give the machines a chance. People will start to use them after a few months. Six months later I called again and told him how bad business was, he said he could help me recover my loss. My problem was that the locations I picked were bad. He said that he would get better ones for me at a cost of seventy five hundred dollars. He said the results were guaranteed. I had no choice but to agree. After three months of earning next to nothing I called him—his phone was disconnected and I was broke.

We all learn from experience, I learned not to buy candy vending machines. That mistake cost me over twenty thousand dollars. I also learned that the guy that sold me the machines and the people that manufactured them are better at business than I can ever be.

A Quick Introduction to Liposuction

Liposuction is a technique used to remove extra fat from the specific parts of the body. This advancement in the field of medical science was introduced in Dallas, Fort Worth and rest of parts of United States in early 1980s. This technique is effective in various body parts including tummy, waist, hips, buttock, breasts, thighs, calf, arms and chin. Now days, this Liposuction technique is widely being used in plastic and cosmetic surgeries. People find it the most effective and easiest way to give an attractive look to their personality.

Though Liposuction is used to impart a perfect shape to an obese patient, the effect can no longer be visible if a perfect diet is not maintained by patient. Hence, it could be misleading to believe that these procedures can completely change your outlook without efforts. The success of liposuction lies mostly on the hands of patients. There are few factors based on which the effectiveness of a liposuction surgery or the plastic surgery of lies. There are various tiny canellas that are being used during a surgical operation by cosmetic surgeons to suction the fat deposits under the skin. A much smoother body contouring can be achieved with the help of these small canellas.

Saturating the site of liposuction before the operation counts to the easily removal of fat layers, minimizes the blood loss and reduces pain and trauma to much extent while performing ultrasonic techniques based operation. The fat thus removed from the patients may further be reused for the grafting. Grafting can be done by harvesting, purifying and then ejecting the cells into the depressions or wrinkles under the skin. Ultrasonic techniques are being used for the regions which are much more difficult to operate manually. Above procedures are followed for a successful completion of a liposuction operations. Liposuction can be used to remove or implant fat to any of the part of body, but its result is best viewed on inner and outer thighs, waist, abdominal region, inner knees, inner arms, chin and neck.

There are various techniques that are followed for liposuction surgery. Tumescent technique, dry technique, wet technique, super wet technique, ultrasonic technique and power assisted technique are some of the most widely followed and effective liposuction techniques. Before a patient is declared fit for the liposuction surgery, he/she has to go through certain medical tests. Due to risks and certain complications involved in these surgical operations, the candidates are first checked if they are a smoker or not, have had any medical history of diseases like cardiac disorders, lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. If a person is found affected by any of these diseases then they may not be allowed to go for liposuction operations. Depending on the operated area general liposuction cost up to $12000 to $20000. The price may vary as per the volume of operation.

Body sculpting has recently become more descriptive so as to impart the patient with their desired outcomes. It is recommended that patient should be completely open to the cosmetic surgeons in order to achieve the perfect figure that is desired. Body countering needs a detailed survey of each and every aspect of the patients. If a patient is little over obese then he is instructed to loose some weight by following a set of diet for certain period of time. Dallas Fort Worth institute of body sculpturing is most famous for breast enlargement. Belly button technique is used to resize the breasts of the patients.

Prior to the surgery, the desired area to be operated is first confirmed by the surgeons. Contour marking is then done accordingly keeping in view all the possible postures of the patient. After the counter marking of the desired portion, small incision is made with the help of canellas. The canellas are slightly inserted in to the skin and the liposuction procedure works on. These canellas are moved all across the portion marked to remove extra fats beneath the skin until the most pleasing shape and size is achieved. While someone has to gain fat under their skin then fat grafting procedure is used. The extra fat is processed and ejected on to the depressions or wrinkles of the skin with the help of these canellas. The whole process involves minimal risks and hence general anesthesia is sufficient enough for the whole liposuction surgery to be accomplished.

A general recovery time after liposuction is scheduled. Initial two days should completely be given for bed rest, only sponge bath is allowed and the patient is instructed to drink plenty of fluids. Pressure garments are kept intact with the patient until the third week of operation. After 3 weeks, a light exercise is suggested with proper massage or ultrasound for smooth effect.

Bear in mind that the cost of liposuction ranges from $2,000 to $3,500 per treatment and not everybody can afford it.

Review of Small Business Management Tool,

If you are a small business owner who is looking for a CRM tool, you’ll want to demo Office Interactive.

In the past, I’ve configured and trained sales teams to use I thought it was a fine tool. As a tech person, it was easy to configure. And, management could run the reports they needed with no problem. Now, as a small business owner, I don’t have an international sales staff nor an office in Bel-Air, yet. So, for me it doesn’t make good business sense to go the route. I want something that is inexpensive, but at the same time meets my demanding business need like sales tracking software. Basically, sales tracking software is designed by sales managers themselves so you are sure and confident that the features are relevant and based on real life experiences of sales professionals.

When I interviewed the Raz Choudhury, President and Co-Founder of Office Interactive, Inc, he warned me that Office Interactive could be much more than just a CRM tool, yet much less expensive than what Fortune 500 companies use. He said that it is ideal for the small business owner.

“Traditional software vendors have neglected the small business segment,” explained Raz Choudhury, President and Co-Founder of Office Interactive, Inc. ” Most products were either too expensive or were inadequate for small business. Office Interactive was built from the ground up on the belief that individuals and small businesses should have access to a free and easy-to-use platform that will grow with their needs.

He was right. At a base price of $9.99 per month per user, the small business owner has access to the following features:

Productivity Collaboration: Collaboration amp; Productivity Suite

Sales: Sales Management amp; Sales Force Automation

Customers: Customer Service amp; Customer Data Central

Marketing: Ad Campaign Tracking amp; Management

Billing amp; Expense: Invoice amp; Expense Management

HR: Resource amp; Recruitment Management

Project Management: Project Tracking amp; Management


Being the control freak that I am, I wasn’t too thrilled with the thought of having all of my company’s customer related information on the net. Web apps are useful and I loved being able to access my data at anytime in any place, but what about server downtime? What about set-up support? What if someone hacks into my data while it is on Office Interactive’s servers? I was pleased to find that Office Interactive has world class data center with redundant connectivity and power backup, and 24/7 security monitoring. Heck, my small business data is safer on their systems than it is on my own!

Office Interactive has a great dashboard that I can personalize to show my email, appointments, individual and shared tasks. It also has a bulletin board and blog. And, the mail feature can be configured to support Outlook.
I can Instant Message my team members, store and track my sales efforts and even project my earnings. Office Interactive makes it easy to keep track of paid and unpaid invoices, top 5 clients and top 5 expenses.

It even has an HR component that allows me to assess and develop the skills of current employees as well as candidates.
The only thing I didn’t like was the “session time out feature”. That is, for security purposes, Office Interactive would log me out if my session was idle for a certain period of time (Don’t worry. I am fully aware of the contradiction between being a security conscious control freak and denouncing the session time out feature). Of course I could manage the time out feature by changing my settings, but recently they have added a layer of security that allows the user to lock/unlock the session so there is no need to go through the entire log in process again.

Perhaps my favorite part about Office Interactive is that unlike many sites, I can use whatever browser I choose to access my data.
You can really tell that the developers know what a small business owner’s pain points are. They’ve addressed every conceivable issue. What’s more it that you don’t have to use what you don’t need. You can choose if you want to use the Billing amp; Expense feature and/or the HR feature and/or the Project Management feature.
But, you really have to try it for yourself to understand how it might help you and your small business.

Quit the Diet – Change Your Life through CoolSculpting!

Summer is here and we all know what that means: Spending time at the beach or by the pool, showing off those bodies we worked so hard for. Or rather, trying to hide what we promised ourselves we’d lose ever since the Christmas holidays. CoolSculpting is the diet help in reducing the weight of the person. Now, the question comes – how much CoolSculpting costs? It depends on the consumption of the diet everyday.

If you haven’t done so already, you are probably thinking about going on a diet right now. Which diet should you go on? Atkins? South Beach? Weight Watchers? Maybe something that only lets you eat soups, or salads? The options are endless. But which one really works?

Here is something new: Don’t go on a diet!

Yes, you probably will lose a few pounds in the beginning but at what cost? If you cut your portions in half you might be starving your body at this point, which will get you the opposite results: gaining weight.

Why? Because your body believes it is cut off, it won’t get enough food so it will hold on to everything you put in, thus making you gain weight. Or at the least you won’t lose any.

Another problem with diets is that you usually deprive yourself of something you used to like. Maybe it’s candy, maybe it’s burgers, maybe it’s beer. Whatever it is, in most cases you will end up with horrible cravings which oftentimes end up in giving up your diet and indulging in whatever it is that you gave up in the first place.

Last but not least, did you ever think about what happens when you are done with your diet? That’s where the Yo-Yo-Effect comes into play. And why wouldn’t it? It is only natural for you to gain the weight back that you lost by not eating certain things for a while and then going back to the way you always ate.

So what should you do instead?

Change your lifestyle!

Slowly but surely start adopting healthy eating habits. Don’t do it all at once or you will end up with the same horrible cravings as mentioned earlier, which will make it harder for you to stick with it. Start for example by replacing your soda with water. Too plain? Add some fruit to your water to give it some flavor. I personally like lemon or mango in my water, which makes it a lot more refreshing and also gives me a different taste than plain old water every day.

Then start to eat more often. Yes, I said eat more often. This will get your metabolism going, which will help you burn more calories and thus lose more weight. When I first started to do this I felt like I was gaining weight. I was one of those people who skipped breakfast, had some fast food for lunch and then found something unhealthy to snack on for dinner.My body thought it was starving so it held on to every bite I put in my mouth. After two to three weeks my metabolism began to speed up and and I dropped 6 pounds in one week. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t eat six huge meals a day. Try to have four small meals plus two snacks, with breakfast being your largest meal to get your metabolism going first thing in the morning.

I usually started my day with two eggs and some oatmeal, and two to three hours later I had a protein shake or protein bar as a snack. I like chicken so I didn’t have a probelm with eating a lot of it for lunch and you can even get a fast food version – grilled, with a side of mashed potatoes. Healthy food does not have to be boring.

And finally, cut out the unhealthy food choices. This is definitely the hardest part for most people so once again, don’t do it all at once. Try to substitute candy with fruit. I used to love candy, still do, but once I started eating more healthy I didn’t even want the chocolate bar anymore. I was perfectly happy with a chocolate protein shake or a protein bar. That brings us to Increasing your protein intake while lowering how many carbs you eat. But careful: If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, too much protein as well as carbs will also result in weight gain.

I also began working out at the gym while adapting to this new healthy lifestyle. In four months I lost 25 pounds. If you stick with it you will see the results!

Once your body adjusts, you will notice the increase in energy which will ultimately help you make the right choices. Let’s face it, who wants to eat fried chicken that will make you feel all sluggish, when you could have a steak with a delicious salad on the side?

Remember, this is not a diet. It’s about changing the way you look at food and ultimately changing your lifestyle. Give it a little bit of time and I promise you will see results.

Talking to Your Preschooler About an Absent Father

Many single moms don’t have the luxury of joint custody, visitation, or even child support from our children’s fathers. We are– for better or for worse– in the parenting ring all by ourselves. While this can be beneficial in many important ways, it can be hard to talk about our children’s absent fathers.

My daughter, who is preschool-age, knew her father until she was two and a half, and still remembers him and asks about him every day. Ouch! But I’ve found several ways to talk about her father in a positive, proactive and sympathetic manner.

 If your preschooler wants to know about her absent father, aside from sensory gym at our house, these tips can help you initiate a positive conversation .

1. Tell the truth. It would be easy to tell your preschooler that her absent father is dead, or that she never had a father. But dishonesty is never a good policy between a mother and daughter. Explain how you met your daughter’s father. If you were in love with him, say so. If you got married but it didn’t work out, say so. If he was there for your preschooler when she was a newborn, say so. It’s critical to keep a clear, honest and open line of communication with your child about this important topic.

2. Don’t bash him. There should be a limit to how much you divulge when it comes to your child’s absent father’s negative behaviors. It may be true that he is on drugs, homeless, or in prison. It may be true that he was selfish and immature, and didn’t own up to his responsibilities as a parent. But, if you tell your child these things, she will have to live with the guilt of knowing that his blood still flows in her own veins. There are more positive ways to express the same issues in ways that your preschooler can understand. For example, you might say: “Your father has a lot of problems to deal with, and we both agreed that it would be better for him to stay away while he copes with them.”

3. Make sure she knows it isn’t her fault. Unless you say otherwise, your preschooler will assume, by default, that her father is absent because of her. She will think that he left her because of something that she did, or didn’t do, or something that was innately wrong with her. Say it clearly and say it often: “Your father didn’t leave because of you.”

4. Share positive memories. Even if there isn’t much good to say about your preschooler’s absent father, say whatever good things you can. Swallow your pride (and you hatred of your ex) and remember the good things. Tell your preschooler about how happy he was when she was born. Tell her about how smart and funny he was, even if you have to exaggerate. Relive any happy memories that you had with him, or that your child had with him. She needs to know that her father cared about her and had good traits to pass on.

5. Make a scrapbook. This was, for me, the hardest but most important step in talking to my preschooler about her absent father. It was easier to hide any pictures that included him, and to not bring up any memories that we had together, but my daughter kept pressing to look at pictures of him and to talk about him. My solution to this was to create a “Father Book,” which explains, in preschooler-friendly terms, who he was, why he left, and what good traits he had that I can see in her. It includes about 20 pictures of her father, either alone or with her. She adores this scrapbook; I see her thumbing through it in private and telling herself, “My father went away, but this picture of him won’t go away.” It hurts, but it’s what she needs.

6. Reassure her of your love. My daughter’s Father Book ends with a picture of me and her with our pet rabbit. It was taken just a few days after my separation from her father. The text in this part of the scrapbook says, “I am sorry that you don’t have a father in your life, but you are– and always will be– the most important thing in the world to me. Every day, I do my best to make sure that we have a good life together, and I’m excited about watching you grow up. I will be here for you for the rest of my life. I will never, ever, ever leave you, no matter what.”

This message alone seems to be the most important thing that I can communicate to my daughter about her father. She asks me to read this page to her again and again, like a mantra of my unconditional love. And, of course, I oblige, even if I have trouble reading it without tears. If you communicate nothing else to your preschooler regarding her absent father, communicate this: you are not like him. You are not going to leave her. For better or for worse, you will be there for your child for the rest of your life.

Student Loan Debt and Its Negative Effect on Americans

Remember that movie with the guys in Vegas? Well this story is worse. I remember when I first began looking at prospective colleges when I was just a junior in high school. The main thing I dreaded over was how my family and I would afford to pay for college outside of scholarships and grant money. The answer was student loans. I was so excited when I chose the university I would attend and that my financial aid application was accepted. In my mind, like countless others, I rationalized my thinking on my future student loan debt by telling myself everyone does it and I’ll only borrow what I need. The promise of a great education, secure financial future, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to go away to college with the help of student loans can be a recipe for financial disaster. Unsuspecting students and society as a whole face consequences when we are not careful and diligent when it comes to investing in our future.

The total outstanding student loan debt now exceeds over $1 trillion and Americans as a whole now owe more in student loans than credit card debt and if you wish to know more than you can look up to for more information. At the time I signed my loan documents to help pay for school, I remember thinking that I was making an investment in my future and that it was for the greater good long term. I was convinced that this debt would be ‘good’ debt for me b/c once I started paying for them I’d be building my credit and I could always consolidate all the loans into one low monthly payment. One time in college when it was time to sign the documents to receive another student loan, the lady in the financial aid office told me I could get as much as I needed. To this day I can still recall an overwhelming desire to take out a lot more than I needed to have some fun with extra money even though it would all have to be paid back. After coming off of my temporary high, I began to think that this ‘free money’ should not be this easy to get for a college student. It was as if I were being given the key to a bank vault. I’ve personally known people who knowingly took out a lot more student loans than they needed simply because they could not because they needed it. Students today take out student loans for a lot more reasons other than paying for school because it’s readily available. Rent, clothes, spending money, etc are just some of those reasons.

Now that I look back on everything, Americans got drunk on student loans. The availability, deregulated interest rates, and overall need has convinced almost everyone who really wants to go to college that student loans are the best way to go to finance higher education. Society has brainwashed students into thinking that higher education is the best way to secure their future. With the average student backed into a financial wall, they turn to student loans to bridge the gap.

According to The Atlantic, student loan debt has risen 511 % since 1999. There are 2 main reasons that have caused student loan debt to skyrocket: 1. the continual rising cost of college tuition and 2. over inflation of other college expenses. It’s no secret that the cost to attend college has increased significantly over the last 2 decades while Americans’ income has failed to keep pace. Each year it seems the public and private schools raise their tuition and fees. College expenses (books, housing, meal plans, admin. fees etc) are also over inflated. This over inflation is due to the availability of student loans. As long as they are available, these expenses will continue to rise b/c they know students will get the money to pay for them. The only way I see the problem can be fixed is for colleges and universities to cap their costs of tuition and fees as well as for the government and/or financial lending institutions to either cut the APR on student loans in half or charge no interest at all for a specific time period of the loan. There have been rumblings that student loan forgiveness should be put into law but that will only make things worse. Our society would end up being well educated but even more financially illiterate and irresponsible.

Americans in this country got drunk on student loans. Using them to pay for any and all other expenses other than education made it seem like the right thing to do at the time. Now that the hangover has set in (down economy, lack of jobs, deferment, creditor calls, late fees, etc.) it is a harsh reality for many Americans and it’s starting to take its toll. While student loans can be considered the new 21st Century gold rush, Americans got lazy and felt like they didn’t need to work or find alternative methods to help pay for their education b/c they could always obtain a student loan. Now that the ‘high’ is over, it’s time that Americans face the facts about the importance of having financial literacy, being more entrepreneurial minded, and work on saving more as a culture and society.