Thursday, April 30, 2015

Retiring but Need to Supplement My Income With A Business

April 30, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am thinking about retiring from my job.  I am 2 years away from early retirement. When should I start a business to supplement my retirement?  Retiring Soon, Ohio

Dear Retiring Soon:

Some people are just drifting through life - paying the bills - until the day that they can retire.  The biggest problem that most people have when they retire is the amount of money that they will have to live off for the rest of their lives so before you put in your retirement papers, make sure you conduct extensive research. 

Many people have ended up in careers that they would not have selected if they had to do it all over again.  However, there is a good chance that you can start a business around the skills that you learned in the workplace so make sure you look at those options.

Starting a business whether it is part-time or full-time will be the time for you to really evaluate your life.  Look for business opportunities around your passions.  Second careers are about “passions!” 

Remember that it will take some businesses anywhere from 1 to 2 years to start making money, therefore, you want to start off part-time working in any business while you are still in the workplace, so get started today. 

The more research you conduct on the front end of the business, the better chance you will have at being successful on the back-end so start now by conducting research at libraries by reading books and at community an online bookstores.  Use online search websites to conduct research at and  Now would also be a good time to join a business group and get a mentor.  Mentors are not just for young people.

For a list of potential business opportunities read "The New CEO: 185 Easy-To-Set Up Businesses for Youth and Adult Entrepreneurs" -- available as an e-book and paperback.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Actions Should Black Communities Take to Hold the Police Accountable?

Mar. 29, 2015

Dear Cathy:

How should the black community prepare to deal with racial profiling and police brutality especially after what happened in Ferguson, MO, Staten Island, NY, North Charleston, SC, Baltimore, MD and other cities across this country?  Young Activist - Deep in the Movement, Baltimore, MD

Dear Young Activist - Deep in the Movement:

What happened in Ferguson, MO with the killing of Michael Brown by the police, Staten Island, NY with the killing of Eric Gardner by the police, North Charleston, SC with the killing of Walter Scott by the police, Baltimore, MD with the killing of Freddie Gray and many other wrongful killings of black boys and men by the police is forever etched in history books.  However, all the protesting in the world won't bring about the changes that the black community really need at this time.  

The incidents, however, were a wake up call for many in this country and it showed many Americans and others just what the police is capable of.  There are several things that most black communities and others need to put into place as soon as possible:

1.    Since everything we do in the community must be legal, everyone should make a list of on-call activist attorneys in their cities that they can call to report cases of racial profiling and police brutality to.  These attorneys should not only be prepared to represent their clients but also set up workshops to teach the community of their rights when dealing with the police and help their clients and others obtain video cameras and other recorders to record the police.

2.    Activist attorneys should find a way to build a database where statistics can be collected to report to legislators because legislators are in charge of creating laws.

3.    These on-call activist attorneys should build relationships with media entities so they can assist in telling the stories of police abuse.  These can be mom and pop community newspapers where everyone should subscribe to these newspapers, send donations and volunteer to work with them.  It's imperative that these media outlets have an online presence.  Try not to ignore the media impact of public TV, internet radio, bloggers, freelancers and social media outlets (,,,,,,, etc.). 

4.    Activist attorneys should also work with civil rights groups.  Even though many people are discouraged because of the actions of many civil rights groups today, most acts of racial profiling or police brutality are reported to the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (, American Civil Liberties Union (, Amnesty International (, National Action Network (, etc., however, local and national activists and advocacy groups can be formed to take on these challenges.  So don't wait for these groups to take on these abusive police departments.

Don't forget that African Americans are not only dealing with "Driving While Black" but they are also dealing with "Flying While Black, Shopping While Black, Walking While Black and Breathing While Black" -- so the top 4 steps is a good start in the right direction to hold others accountable for their actions.

To learn more about how to deal with the police read my book "Police Interactions 101: How To Interact With the Police in Your Car, On the Streets, In Your Home" which is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.

Monday, April 27, 2015

How Can I Keep From Getting Sore from a Workout?

Apr. 27, 2015

Dear Cathy:

Everytime I try to engage in a regular workout program, I end up too sore to continue. What are some of the steps that I can take to keep from getting sore?  Sore in Louisiana

Dear Sore in Louisiana:

Getting sore after exercising will not only keep you from continuing to exercise, it might make you stop all together.  Therefore, to prevent soreness remember to use natural remedies for soreness versus the over-the-counter creams (icy hot, bengay, etc.) that can leak into your blood system and cause your body to become toxic.  

A good natural remedy include Epsom salt.  So keep it by your bathtub to use when you finish with an exercise program and for muscle cramps rub pure, unprocessed olive or flaxseed oil into your muscles before and after strenuous exercise.

Flaxseed oil can get too expensive so I would start using olive oil daily as a natural body moisturizer especially after completing your morning and evening bath or shower. 

Also make sure you warm up before exercising.  Your warm-up is just as important as your workout, however, with busy schedules, people forget to stretch and heat up their bodies.  Many just settle for a few toe-touches which can leave them in pain or injured.

A good warm-up will provide increased flexibility and will activate the necessary muscles for training and competition.  It also speeds up your blood flow and causes your core temperature to rise, which will prepare you to train at your highest levels. Good preparation makes for a great workout.

For more health tips on working out read "How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Becoming Healthier Over the Next 30 Days" available as an e-book and paperback.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Is The AARP a Good Organization To Join at 50 Years Old?

April 24, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I just turned 50 years old but I don’t plan on retiring until age 62.  What exactly do the AARP do and is this a great organization to join? Aging Gracefully, Nebraska

Dear Aging Gracefully:

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over, dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as they age, which provides a wide range of benefits, special products, and services for their members. 

The AARP stands for the “American Association for Retired Persons.”  In 1999 the AARP formally changed its official name to AARP.  Officially, AARP no longer stands for anything.  It is a United States-based non-governmental organization and interest group, founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus, PhD, a retired educator from the state of California, and based in Washington, D.C.
AARP Services Inc. offers an array of services from Medicare supplemental health insurance, discounts on prescription drugs and consumer goods, entertainment and travel packages, long-term health care insurance and automobile, home and life insurance.  

Yes the AARP is a good organization to join, however, be aware that some of the services they offer especially their car insurance.  You can actually obtain it elsewhere at a cheaper price so conduct your own research before using any of their services.

As you know Americans age 50 and older face choices and pressures unlike those of any other age group – choices few could have prepared for.  We live in a country that steps over senior citizens on our streets so this country don’t care anything about senior citizens.  Because we are social creatures being a part of an organization or group is key to aging gracefully. 

AARP has two affiliated organizations: AARP Services Inc. which is managed wholly for profit and the AARP Foundation, a charity that operates on a non-profit basis.  The AARP claims approximately 38 million members making it one of the largest membership organizations in the United States and it operates as a non-profit advocate for its members and has one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States.

The AARP Foundation’s goal is to win back opportunity for those now in crisis, so that thousands of low-income Americans 50+ can regain their foothold and continue to serve as anchors for their families and communities and ensure that their best life is still within reach.  Key areas of focus are hunger, income, housing and isolation. The Foundation’s vision is a country that is free of poverty where no older person feels vulnerable.

You  can learn more about aging gracefully by reading "Golden Years: How To Age Gracefully and Take Care of Seniors." 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Much Do A Workplace Attorney Cost?

April 23, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I don’t have a lot of money to obtain an attorney.  How much do they usually cost and how can I save money if I have a workplace complaint?  Unhappy Employee, Texas

Dear Unhappy Employee:

Remember many unions in workplaces have their own attorneys that you are entitled to if you are a union paying employee.  You can also seek advice from a reliable professional experienced with equal-opportunity cases.  This could be a friend with a law, human resources or management background so you don’t have to seek out an attorney right away.

These days, most lawyers will want a large retainer of $5,000, less or more, and will charge an hourly fee of $250 or $300 on average. Try to get the lawyer to agree to a fixed flat rate or, if your case is exceptionally strong, to accept payment on a contingency basis, plus expenses.

You can also find law students and paralegals that hang out at law libraries that can give you free advice. Your goal at this point is to learn everything you can about workplace discrimination.  

I have 3 books on Workplace Discrimination which you need to read so you can figure out what actions to take on your own “Workplace Survival Guide: How To Fight Discrimination, Whistleblowing and the Workers’ Compensation System and Discrimination 101: The Complete Guide to Recognizing and Surviving Discrimination in the Workplace (Volume 1 & Volume 2).  Also check out my “Workplace Blog”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Choosing A Title for My Non-fiction Book

April 22, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am writing my first book but I am not sure the best way to choose a title.  It will be a non-fiction book so do you have any suggestions on the best way to choose a title?  Upcoming Author, Florida

Dear Upcoming Author:

Many upcoming authors can’t get started writing a book because they can’t come up with a title.  Most authors get fixated on their book title from the very beginning but they should not do this. 

Even though it’s nice to have a hook to hang onto from the very beginning of writing a book, by the time you finish writing the book, there is a good chance that your title will change.

Just remember the book title will have a major impact on whether or not people will buy your book – especially if they come across it online without having been introduced to it by you or someone they know. 

Next to the cover design the title is the single most important pre-purchase feature. It’s imperative that you include a subtitle with a non-fiction book so that people know what it’s about. 

If the title and subtitle pulls the potential reader in, then they will go on to view  the Table of Contents, Preface or Introduction so just remember that most readers don’t get past page 18 in a book so you need to hook them from the very beginning.

You can learn more about how to write a book by reading "How To Write A Book: The Complete Guide To Writing and Selling Your Own Paperback or E-book."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Young Writing Entrepreneur

April 20, 2015

Dear Cathy:

As a single mother I believe I am a great mother.  I am not a business owner but would like for my daughter to have all the opportunities of today.  She is 12 years old and great in English in school and she likes to write poetry.  What business would you recommend she pursues and how should she get started?  Great Mother, Georgia

Dear Great Mother: 

If your daughter is great in English and likes writing poetry, then she should write a book.  If she becomes an entrepreneur now it can pay for her entire college education.  Like all young entrepreneurs, she should get a mentor.  

You will be her first teacher and mentor because you love her but look for business mentors in your family, talk to English teachers, librarians, and others in the writing and publishing industry.  Find a local business group that caters to youth entrepreneurs.

Whether your child is writing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, the community will support young authors.  Because of technology today, it is extremely easy to write a book.  If you don’t have a lot of money – let her start off by writing an e-book which you can place for free on the internet and start making money within 24 hours.

To learn how to write a fiction, non-fiction or poetry book read my writing book “How To Write A Book: The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling Your Own Paperback or E-book” -- which is available as an e-book and paperback and can be read by 10 year olds and above.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Should I Give A Power of Attorney to a Family Member or Friend?

April 17, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am in my late 70s.  I moved into a smaller home when I became a widow a few years ago.  I have an overbearing daughter across country, an unreliable son who lives close to me and several close female friends.  I have been in and out of sickness over the past few years.  At one point I almost lost my home.  I am having trouble concentrating and is thinking about writing a Power of Attorney until I can recover.  Should I give this Power of Attorney to a family member or friend?  Sickly in Alabama

Dear Sickly:

If you embrace a natural and holistic lifestyle, you should be able to overcome any type of sickness or illness.  Whether you want to admit it or not, getting sick and almost losing your home can be one of the most stressful times ever.  You might want to think about giving “Power of Attorney” to someone you trust to handle your personal affairs.

Discuss the different possibilities for Power of Attorney with an attorney as soon as possible.  You may or may not need to limit your Power of Attorney to certain areas such as sale of the property and other areas of your personal life such as help with paying the bills.

Most seniors should have all their bills set up automatically to be taken out of their personal bank accounts around the first of the month.  This will help to make sure that all your important bills are paid on time so you don’t risk losing your home.  You can set this up with many companies or most banks can do this for you but be careful with setting up your light or cable bills because they can go up and down every month. 

It’s always best to give the Power of Attorney to a family member but others including close friends might be willing to help as well but it needs to be friends that you can truly trust.  At your age you should also have a Living Will and Advanced Directive put into place so again talk with an attorney as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Do I Write A Book About My Life?

April 16, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I want to write a book about my life.  I have had a brilliant life and I am finally ready to put it on paper.  What kind of advice can you give me about writing a book about my life?   Will the book be a biography or autobiography?  Writer in Kansas

Dear Writer in Kansas:

You need to decide if the book will be about your entire life or a certain part of your life.  Writing a book about your life or parts of your life can be a very gallant act.  A ‘biography’ is a detailed description or account of someone’s life.  It entails more than basic facts (education, work, relationships, and death).  A biography also portrays the subject’s experience of those events.  

An ‘autobiography’ is a book about the life of a person, written by that person so you will be writing an autobiography about your life.  The goal is to commit to writing for one to two hours everyday.  Some people write at the break of dawn and others at night so you need to figure out when will be the best time for you to write and just do it.  Before you know it – you will have a finished book in front of you.

Just try to have fun writing the book.  If you are having fun while doing it people will be able to tell.  It’s your life, and it may have been hard, but you survived. Think about the triumphs and joys, important people in your life, and all the things that made it worthwhile.  To learn more on writing a book read “How ToWrite A Book: The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling Your Own Paperback orE-book.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Can I File My Own Bankruptcy?

April 15, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am really getting serious about my finances and I am thinking of filing a bankruptcy.  I have heard you can file your own bankruptcy.  Is this true and how do I do this?  Bankruptcy Bound, Memphis, TN

Dear Bankruptcy Bound:

Bankruptcy should be your last option, but it is an option.  First of all you must understand that a bankruptcy is simply a reorganization of your finances.  Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that allows you to get out of excessive debt and gain a fresh start financially.  

There are four (4) common types of bankruptcies:
-Chapter 7 allows either an individual or business to discharge virtually all unsecured debts.  Remember new bankruptcy laws will require persons with a certain income to pay back a portion of their debt.

-Chapter 11 is for individuals or corporations engaged in business who desire to reorganize their debts and seek court protection while they negotiate a plan of re-organization with creditors.

-Chapter 12 is like Chapter 13 but is only for family farmers.

-Chapter 13 is an alternative to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  It is designed for “wage earners” with relatively small amounts of consumer debt (as opposed to business debt).

Bankruptcy attorneys typically charge anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more.  If you do not have the money to hire a bankruptcy attorney, you can file the bankruptcy yourself.  You can go to an office supply store such as Office Depot or Staples and buy the bankruptcy kit for a very low price.

Fill out the forms to the best of your ability and take it to the courthouse and obtain a case number.  This process will cost around $100 or more.  Fax the sheet with the case number on it to the mortgage company.  This should stop the foreclosure.  It will buy you some time so you can obtain the rest of the funds to solicit help from a bankruptcy attorney or give you time to move.

It’s imperative that you secure an attorney that specializes in bankruptcies and not a catch-all attorney, or a jack of all trades.  You should avoid large bankruptcy firms that treat you like a herd of cattle.  They won’t return your calls or answer your questions without an appointment.  Some large firms also rotate you from attorney to attorney, leaving no stability and no one really knowing your case directly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Young Beautician Seeks Mentor

April 14, 2015

Dear Cathy: 

I am a young beautician.  I am currently running my business out of my home but would like a mentor so I can take the proper steps to grow my business into my own line of beauty or barber shops someday.  What do I need to know about this type of business?  Help for young beautician, Cleveland, Ohio

Dear Young Beautician:

First look for a mentor in your family.  Are there any business owners?  Then look for business groups especially Chambers of Commerce that caters to youth entrepreneurs who can match you up with others who already have these types of establishments. 

Recognizing that you need a mentor is a crucial first step to becoming a successful business owner so don’t be afraid to ask others to mentor you.  The next step you need to take is to make short range and long range goals to open your own beauty shop.  It’s great to start off at your home but eventually you need to branch out.  You can start out by working for other beauticians before you get your own place.

Think outside the box!  Instead of opening just a regular beauty shop you could open a school (4 to 5 chairs in the back of your shop) for young and upcoming beauticians and/or barber shop owners; Sell beauty supplies on the side in your business; and write a book and give workshops on the proper way to take care of hair.

The goal is to keep traffic coming in and out of your shop so you will have a steady line of customers so think about placing a community bulletin board in your shop with entrepreneurship and job opportunities especially for young people.  

All of the above will look good to potential angel and private investors who could be family members, friends, neighbors or others.  You can learn more about how to set up a successful business by reading “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” which includes every step you need to take to set up a successful business.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Is Couponing A Good Idea to Buy Healthy Foods?

Apr. 6, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am really trying to save money this year but I would also like to eat healthier.  What can you tell me about food couponing?  Coupon Shopper, Oregon

Dear Coupon Shopper:

Even though it’s great to save with food coupons, there are very few foods in neighborhood grocery stores that are healthy.  Over 90% of foods in grocery stores are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) especially all processed foods.  These foods might not make you sick next week or next month but over the long haul they will cause you to have more doctor’s visits.  Is that what you want for your family?

The goal is to transition off processed foods and start eating foods in as natural forms as possible – fresh, raw, and organic foods and especially foods for your blood type.  Health and wholefood stores and other organic venues does offer sales on their products so before going to your neighborhood stores to shop for food, you should check these stores out.

Some of these stores have discount Wednesdays (15% to 25% off) or they collect your email to send discounts and coupons directly to you along with other special discounts -- so don’t rule them out.  If you still prefer to use coupons in your neighborhood stores remember that many people don’t have time to gather and organize coupons.

The truth is even if you aren’t the coupon-clipping type, you can still save quite a bit with them.  All it takes is five minutes to look at the ones that come with the Sunday paper, in the daily mail and any others that you happen across.  Over 75 percent of grocery coupons come from the Sunday newspaper so buy two to three copies to save the most.

Know how your stores’ coupon policies work so ask if they double coupons.  Be flexible about your store choices so check ads for area stores and shop at the one with the best deals on your items that week.  Download and print coupons from coupon websites.  Combine sale prices, store coupons and automatic rebates to get free merchandise every week.

To save more money this year check out the book "Recession Survival Guide: How To Get Back Into the Driver's Seat" -- available as an e-book and paperback.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Is The Four Basic Food Groups (aka Food Pyramid) A Myth?

April 3, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am a single mother and I am 35 years old.  My 10 year old son is on medications for high blood pressure and my 12 year daughter is on medications for diabetes and I am on medications for both of these diseases.  Being single I can barely afford the medications. 

I don’t live near any family so I have to depend on what doctors are telling me.  I have always followed the 4 basic food groups’ standards of eating which was provided by my doctors.  But still we are all overweight and obviously unhealthy.  What do I need to do to make sure my family stays healthy? Unhealthy Family in Texas

Dear Unhealthy Family:

What you need to understand upfront is that schools, institutions and corporations initially started mis-educating families with the 4 basic food groups (aka Food Pyramid) a very, very long time ago.  It’s a big myth that you should eat foods from the 4 basic food groups. 

Today holistic and natural healers are teaching people not to mix bread and meat and other foods together so the 4 basic food groups were initially put into place to keep people sick.  The four basic food groups' standards are referred to as Standard American Diet (SAD) and that along should tell you something.

The pharmaceutical industry in this country has and always will be “BIG BUSINESS” and as long as people are sick and going to doctors or buying over-the-counter medications, then the pharmaceutical industry makes a profit. 

Being on medications will cause nothing but the further deterioration of your body.  So your goal should be to get off the medications.  The only thing you and your family can do now at this point to ensure your entire family stays healthy is to get entrenched in holistic and natural communities which are located in every city. 

My health book "How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide to Becoming Healthier Over the Next 30 Days” has a 30-day action plan and lists “12 Steps To Wellness” ( – so check it out.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Should I Eat Foods for My Blood Type To Be Healthy?

April 2, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am seeking more health information this year.  Many of my friends say they only eat foods now for their blood types.  I don’t really understand what they mean.  However, I have heard many times growing up that not all family members can eat the same foods so what do they mean by that?  Seeking More Information, Idaho

Dear Seeking More Information:

Basically even though most people grew up on beans and peas and other foods, many blood types can’t eat the same foods.  There are 4 blood types – Type A, B, AB and O.  Most kids take the blood type of the father or mother so this means that many families as they grow up have one or two blood types in the household and again, one blood type person can’t eat the same foods that the other blood type person eats. 

It’s imperative to eat for your blood type today more than ever.  Over 90% of foods today are Genetically Modified foods especially processed foods in grocery stores so many people are allergic to these foods.  Many are suffering from food allergies which can also zap your energy, make you miss days at work and put you in a state of depression.

Foods play a major role in your life.  Foods affects every area of your life from your mood, behavior, happiness and entire quality of life.  Foods either acts as a medicine or poison in your body so yes most or a large percentage of people are eating the wrong foods.  

Once you start eating foods for your blood type then those allergic reactions should subside and then you will have the energy and vitality to live a long and healthy life.   Read the book “Eat Right 4 Your Type” and read my health book so you will understand how the body operates HowTo Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide to Becoming Healthier Overthe Next 30 Days.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What Does Unions Do in the Federal Government?

Apr. 1, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am employed with the federal government and I don’t want to file an EEO complaint against my job.  I have heard it is a long drawn out process so I rather work with the union to resolve my issue.  What exactly can a union do for me?  Disgruntled Employee, Georgia

Dear Disgruntled Employee:

Unions can help you better understand the guidelines at your agency or company.  So join these groups early on because it’s protection for you.  Unions are a good first option but if your issue is not resolved through your union by filing a grievance, you might have to think about filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( workplace complaint. 

In many jobs unions can be your best friends or sometimes your worst enemy.  They can usually come to your rescue and intervene to assist you from being disciplined and/or wrongfully terminated by helping you file a workplace grievance instead of an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint.

Just remember the union is not always to be trusted especially in the federal government where most unions are in bed with management.  However, sometimes unions might prove to be better than going to Labor or Employment attorneys who specialize in workplace complaints who sometimes will take advantage of you financially.

As a paying union member, you also have the right to contact their national office where their attorneys are located, which might be located in other cities.  These attorneys could also help you save on attorney fees.

You can learn more about how to survive in the workplace by reading "Workplace Survival Guide: How To Survive Discrimination, Whistleblowing and the Workers' Compensation System."