Monday, September 28, 2015

Should I Leave College for Just A Little While?

Sep. 28, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My parents have very little money to help me in college. All 3 of my friends that came to college with me dropped out after a year so I am thinking about dropping out.  I am struggling financially in school and I am thinking about leaving for a little while so that I can save more funds.  Do you think this is a good idea or should I continue to keep struggling financially? Leaving College, Arkansas

Dear Leaving College:

Most students drop out of college the first year so this is when parents really need to be hands-on to help students cope with college. 

First of all you need to understand that great things come out of struggling.  Most people who have built beautiful lives for themselves and their families -- struggled at one time or another.

Ten years from now you will probably not even remember the names of your friends that dropped out of college so don’t drop out just because they dropped out. 

You should try to stay in school if you can because down the line, your credentials might pay off for you. The temptation to leave school for just a little while may seem to make sense, but it doesn’t.

Most Americans never graduated from college, but most of them went to college for at least a while.  So chances are if you leave college for a little while, you will get distracted and not return.

If you can, try to stay on the educational track by seeking out help from financial aid advisors, other professors or mentors in college and other adults -- before you make this important decision.

You will have the rest of your life to work, make money and buy all the finer things in life.  If you do it all too early, you are going to kill your chance to ever have the finer things in life.  So stay focused!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Garlic Is Playing Havoc on My Relationship

Sep. 25, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am really into my health.  I watched my father and mother both die horrifying deaths from being sick for a long time so I conducted my own research and know that garlic is extremely good for you.  I have been single for a while but finally met a nice guy, however, I eat garlic 3 times a day and no matter what type of breath mints I take, it still can’t cover the taste of the garlic so my boyfriend said he hates kissing me.  I am torn between staying single and being healthy versus stopping taking the garlic.  What should I do?  Garlic Breath, North Carolina

Dear Garlic Breath:

First of all I want to thank you for being proactive in regards to your health.  Relationships are hard and if you have a keeper then you need to do what you can to make it work. 

Garlic and other members of the allium plant family (onions, shallots, leeks) produce cysteine sulfoxide and this gives them their distinct odor and taste.  The best way to get rid of garlic breath is to stop eating it.  This is the only way to completely eliminate garlic breath.  

Also it is difficult for you to know if you have garlic breath or how bad it really is. Even if you neutralize the garlic breath compounds in the mouth, it will still be exhaled from your lungs, still making your breath smell like garlic.

Remedies you can do include:

-Eat Parsley - A lot of the times recipes that use garlic also use parsley as well because parsley is effective in neutralizing the odors of garlic.  Try chewing on parsley after eating garlic.

-Eat Lemon - Try sucking on a lemon wedge after eating garlic.  Lemon is very effective in neutralizing the garlic odor and it also has anti-bacterial properties that will kill bacteria.  Also washing your hands with lemon juice helps to remove the odor from your hands.

-Drink Tea - Drink tea while or after eating garlic.  Tea, especially green and peppermint, contain polyphenols that reduce the volatile sulfur compounds that the garlic produces.  

-Chew Sugar-Free Gum - This will help to mask the odor of the garlic and will help dislodge garlic and food particles that might be stuck on or between your teeth.

If removing garlic from your diet is not an option, you can cut back on the garlic.  You can take it once a day or every other day but you do not have to eat garlic 3 times a day.  This way it will still be in your system to help you boost your immune system and for other health benefits.  You can also get on odorless garlic pills/supplements, which your boyfriend will not notice, so this is probably the best option for you.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How Long Will It Take for My VA Benefits To Get Approved?

Sep. 24, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have been a veteran for 30 years but worked for the federal government and used my health insurance through them?  Under Obamacare my health insurance went up to $400 a month, so now I am ready to start using my VA benefits instead.  I injured my knee in boot camp some 30 years ago and have seen the doctor several times for this -- so I will also be applying for a disability for my injury.  How long will it take me to get my VA benefits approved?  Need VA Benefits, Virginia

Dear Need VA Benefits:

Each VA office is different.   I am sure you have seen over the past couple of years about the issues with, which was exposed by whistleblowers at the VA.  So basically I would say if you are located in a city where there were no issues with VA or a city that have been revamped because of the issues, then you will be in good shape to receive your benefits and your disability over the next 6 months.

The VA benefits should start over the next 90 days or as soon as they can verify your status on your DD Form 214, certificate of release or discharge from active duty, so you should be able to see a doctor right away.  

However, it will take longer, 6 months or more, for you to get your disability approved.  Basically like everything else, you will have to fill out paperwork about your injury with documented proof that you have had issues in the past with doctor’s notes or witness statements. 

If you don’t have any of this, then you need to start going to the doctor now to have this documented in your records.  The good thing is once you are approved for your VA benefits, you can receive these funds for the rest of your life.  But going through all the procedures to get it approved, won’t be easy. 

However, what you need to do is contact today for the closest office to you and work with a VA advocate.  Most VA offices have advocates that you should work with so they can help you fill out your disability paperwork.  Just ask for the Disability Advocate’s Office.  They know exactly how you need to fill out the paperwork to get approved so if I were you, I would not try to fill out this paperwork on your own. 

Even to get approved for your VA benefits to start seeing a doctor through their system, it will still be a good idea to sit down with these advocates and let them walk you through the process -- so contact your local office today and get started. 

If you can’t find your copy of your DD 214, certificate of release or discharge from active duty, then your advocate can start a case file on you on the computer and order another one for you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Am I Shallow For Not Wanting to Live in A Senior Community?

Sep. 23, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am in my 60s and have been a widow for 10 years.  We never had kids.  I am thinking about selling my house and downsizing into an apartment or condo.  The apartments that I am looking at renting is $600 a month but at my age, I could pay $450 to live in a Senior Community?  Am I shallow for not wanting to live around Seniors -- even though I could save more money?  Shallow About Seniors, Georgia

Dear Shallow About Seniors:

No you are not shallow for not wanting to live around other Seniors.  This is your life and no one can make you do something you don’t want to do especially at your age.

Many Seniors and others don’t like shopping at stores on Senior day because it will be full of Seniors who often move slowly so many Seniors, even Seniors themselves, don’t want to live around other Seniors.  This is strictly your choice.

I believe many Seniors think that if they lived in Senior communities, they will end up assisting Seniors bring groceries in or with other chores.  And many Seniors think living around other Seniors, especially sick Seniors, will remind them of how they will be one day.   

As you get older, eventually your body will break down but what you need to remember is that “Getting old does not make you sick but getting sick makes you old.”

So saving as much money as you can on your rent to help you buy good food and other essential things as you age, will be very important. 

Also many Seniors are victims of crime today, so being safe should be at the front of your list, when you make this decision.  If your new apartments will provide more protection for you, compared to the Senior community, then by all means move there and be happy.

Read the book "Golden Years: How To Age Gracefully and Take Care of Seniors" so you will understand how to care for yourself and others as you age.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Can Birth Control Pills Be Dangerous?

Sep. 22, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am 19 years old and have been a virgin up until now. Many of my friends already have a baby and others are on birth control. Can birth control pills be dangerous? Going On the Pill, Pennsylvania

Dear Going on The Pill:

Some 30 years ago, birth control pills were the be-all and end-all of the sexual revolution so women explored their sexuality, perhaps for the first time in history.

However, eventually the pill lost its luster when many women found out it contributed to breast cancer, embolisms and stroke, which made women think twice about getting on the pill.

Today, birth control pills side effects are weight gain, mood swings and breast tenderness.  They have newer lower dosage birth control pills, which maintains high popularity, despite their continued serious health risks for women. 

However, I would not advocate that any woman use the pill.  Sure they are effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies, but the risks far outweighs the benefits. Also don't forget, however, that many women have gotten pregnant, while they were using the pill.

Birth control pills are a two billion dollar industry today. Many women are also ending up on these pills because of painful cramping and irregular periods, and many pills just compound this problem.

Basically eating a good organic diet, free of processed foods, and living a natural and holistic lifestyle will alleviate a lot of issues dealing with painful and irregular periods.

Birth control pills work by keeping estrogen at a sufficiently high level that they fool the body into thinking it is pregnant, therefore, another pregnancy cannot occur. 

Again taking birth control pills can be extremely dangerous so just be aware of what you might encounter if you still want to go on the pill.

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Mortgage is Underwater – Should I Walk Away?

Sep. 21, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My house is underwater and I am thinking about walking away from it. What do you think? Home underwater, Florida

Dear Home Underwater:

During the housing crash of 2008, when callers called into financial show, I heard her tell many callers if your home is underwater, then walk away from it.

But today’s options might be different, but only you can make the decision to walk away. There are many reasons why people continue paying their mortgages even though it may take years—or even decades—to get back to the point where the home is worth more than what’s owed.

Whether it’s a sense of obligation to live up to the contract they signed when they purchased the home, a strong attachment to the place where they have lived and perhaps raised a family, worry about damage to their credit rating by not paying, or just plain resignation, many homeowners are going to just keep on writing out that check each month and hope for the best.

The benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to be concerned about others finding out about your financial difficulties or you don’t have to find a new place to live. But there are some important questions to ask yourself, with the main one being whether you are just postponing the inevitable.

You may be keeping the wolf from the door, but he may be lurking not far away. And financially, you may pay significantly more to keep your home than if you rent, and perhaps later buy a less expensive home.

A home is just housing – a roof over your head, however, many homeowners, have instilled unrealistic emotional value in their homes. The home is now on the same level as the flag and motherhood. housing counseling agencies are available to provide you with the information and assistance you need to avoid foreclosure. As part of President Obama's comprehensive Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP), you may be eligible for a special Making Home Affordable loan modification or refinance, to reduce your monthly payments and help you keep your home.

If you need help understanding the Making Home Affordable programs, you can use this search tool to find a counseling agency in your area that will provide you with free foreclosure prevention services. If you are eligible for the loan modification or refinance program, the counselor will work with you to compile an intake package for your servicer.

Friday, September 18, 2015

My Friend Has Extremely Bad Breath

Sep. 18, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am a senior in school and my friend who is also my cousin, has always had bad breath.  Kids in school have made fun of her for years but I don’t think she really caught on to what they were trying to say – so most people just keep their distance away from her.  What can I do to tell her her breath stinks?  Bad Breath, Louisville, KY

Dear Bad Breath:

First of all you can try leaving a bottle of scope or listerine on her desk or somewhere you know she will be.  But understand up front, bad breath can be a sign of sickness in many people.  

It can be a sign of many illnesses including infections in your mouth, poor dental hygiene, medications, stomach cancer, lung cancer, heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, sleep apnea, gerd, or respiratory infection.

Many people don’t understand that whatever you eat, will eventually pour out of your skin.  So when you see people with a bad body odor including underarm odor and bad breath, they are probably eating a toxic diet.

The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor.  Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and other vegetables and spices, also can cause bad breath.  After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, and are carried to your lungs and affect your breath.

The goal is to eat an alkaline diet because disease and sickness can’t exist in an alkaline body.  Since she is a relative, you should have an adult female relative, talk to her parents or have the school counselor talk to her parents.

You can read more about how the human body operates at "How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Becoming Healthier Over the Next 30 Days" -- which is available as an e-book or paperback.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Should I Expose Someone Who is Lying About His VA Disability?

Sep. 15, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have a friend or let me say someone I know -- who is drawing disability from VA and is receiving around 90% but there is nothing wrong with him.  When he goes to VA for appointments, he uses a walker for walking but any other time, this guy walks fine.  I have even seen him out dancing, exercising and jumping around often.  He is deceiving the system and brags about it often.  Sometimes I feel like I want to expose him?  Should I stand by and continue to watch him or should I turn him in?  Lying About VA Disability, Maryland

Dear Lying About VA Disability:

Seeing dishonesty is really hard to watch everyday.  During the housing and financial crash of 2007/2008, most people who could go out and get on some type of disability -- did it.  Many of these individuals to this day are able to work and make a living for themselves.  However, they found it was easier to lie about their situation.

Many people were raised to go out into the world and deceive people so they have done this their entire lives.  It would take as much work to undo a disability as it would to receive it and this person, his family or others around you might find out that you were the one who exposed him – so why go through the trouble of exposing him. 

Not only would this person be looking at having to pay back the money, but he might also be facing jail time.  Do you seriously want to put your energy into exposing this person?

If you are uncomfortable being around this person, then stop.  The people in your circle should be people you are comfortable with.  They should be people that you really care about so why are you allowing this negativity to come into your life in the first place? 

Instead of trying to expose him use your energy to let other Veterans know about potential benefits they can gain to live off of by applying for their VA benefits.  Over 30% of homeless people at one time were Veterans.  Today that figure is much higher.  And still today, many Veterans don’t even know that they could qualify for benefits -- so choose where you really want to put your energy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Grandmother A Recluse Because of Missing Teeth

Sep. 14, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am an only child and my mother and father have passed on and so have my grandfather.  I really look up to my grandmother who has always led a sociable life with many friends around her.  However, over the last few years, she has become a recluse because of the missing teeth in her mouth.  I wanted to help her out but I work on a minimum wage job and she has very little money to live off of.  Is there anything that I can do to help her with her smile. Recluse, Alabama

Dear Recluse:

It’s unfortunate that this has happened to your grandmother but many seniors face this exact same issue.  The first thing that people look at -- when they look at someone -- is their teeth.  And if you have bad teeth, many people will think you really don't have anything of value to say.

Most dentists say you should come in every 6 months for a check up, to at least get your teeth cleaned. However, many people today don’t go to the dentist because it is too expensive and many don’t bother to see if they can afford dental insurance. 

Past studies have shown that half of all Americans over age 30 had bleeding gums.  Over 70% of people today have some type of periodontal issue.  Many people think it's normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss.  

Swollen and bleeding gums are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria.  If nothing is done, the infection can spread and cause other sickness.  It can destroy the structures that support your teeth in your jawbone.

Eventually, your teeth can become so loose that they have to be extracted and this is what happens in many cases.  Many states do offer some type of free or low-cost dental programs for low-income individuals or for others who receive help through state programs but these programs are extremely hard to find and many have a waiting list -- which is a turn off for most people.

When seniors get ready to buy dentures or false teeth, the more money they can afford, the better their dentures or teeth looks.   It cost anywhere around $2,000 to $3,000 to have a set of dentures or false teeth that doesn’t look false and many people can’t afford that.

All you can do at this point to help your grandmother is to check with businesses that offer dentures and teeth replacements. Many might have a payment plan; Help her check with state offices that might offer FREE or low-cost dental plans, especially the plans through Medicaid and Medicare; and help her start eating better foods, especially organic foods, which affects whether you will come down with periodontal disease in the first place.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

House Keeping Me Captive

Sep. 9, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I was married for a short time when I was young.  It didn't work out so I never remarried or had any children.  I retired 5 years ago but rarely have any visitors because most of my friends, especially the ones that lived in my neighborhood, have passed on.  Basically I am living paycheck to paycheck and can’t really afford to do much of anything but to pay bills. When I was in the workplace, I use to drive around the countryside, so I really miss being out there.  I am still healthy and was wondering if I should downsize my home, travel and do some other things that I still want to do with my life?
House Keeping Me Captive, Virginia

Dear House Keeping Me Captive:

If you had to ask this question -- then you already know the answer.  People who are in their 60s, still have 30% of their productive life left ahead of them.  Life is meant to be lived fully and your bills should not be weighing you down.

I can’t tell you how many women out there are in your same situation.  They know they want to do something else with their lives, but they never take any type of action.  Surely you don’t want that to be your story.

Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to really bring true happiness into your life.   First of all, why have a beautiful home if you are the only person that is seeing it.  Sure it’s good for your ego but not when all those bills come in every month.

The goal is to come up with some type of action plan where you can get out there and enjoy your life.  So here are some options -- Refinance your home to bring down your mortgage.  Check out for this.  Or sell the home altogether and downsize into an apartment or condo.  If you can’t sell you home -- then rent it out.

Downsize your belongings because most seniors don’t need that many things -- so purge your life of things.  Sell what you can and put the rest in storage and get out there and travel.  For a storage unit that will stay cool and protect your pictures, it will be around $80 a month.

Next buy a reliable car with the money you saved from not having to pay the high mortgage notes.  If you no longer feel safe out there driving -- just limit your traveling to buses, trains, and airplanes.  

If all your traveling companions have passed on or is too unhealthy to travel, then look for young people such as nieces or cousins.  But this is definitely your chance to reinvent yourself and see the world at the same time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Husband Refuses to Take A Lower Paying Job

Sep. 8, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My husband got fired from his job that paid a nice salary. He had issues with a co-worker and eventually ending up filing a lawsuit. He went through depression after his termination and spent most of our money on legal fees. He has been out of work for 1 year and nothing really resulted in his case.

Despite making a nice salary for a few years, he had very little put away for a rainy day. His cousins said they could get him a job at McDonalds or Walmart but he refuses to go that route. I was a homemaker taking care of our three kids, but after losing our home, I had to take a job to try to support the family. I am at my wits end dealing with him. Are there any other options? Frustrated With Husband, California

Dear Frustrated With Husband:

Many people in nice paying jobs think they have arrived but curve balls can happen anytime in anyone's life. Life is not etched in stone so everyone need to be there to lift themselves back up and keep moving forward in their lives -- but that is easily said than done.

No matter what type of job your husband had, most men would not want to go and work at McDonalds or Walmart because they will feel this is beneath them -- even when they recognize that their family is suffering from lack of financial support. Many men have even walked away from relationships because of the pressure to do this.

However, for now the needs of the family comes first. First the entire family need to downsize everything and even think about moving in with a relative until he can get back on his feet.  

He should have applied for unemployment benefits that would have lasted anywhere from 20 to 26 weeks -- which would have helped the family out financially -- but he might have missed his deadline, if he did not file right away with the

Most of the times it takes more than a year to gain justice on any type of lawsuit and especially to recover from any type of depression, so addressing his health issues also needs to be a priority. 

Right now your family needs a sense of normalcy, and that can happen because you are working – and you have an income coming in. Sometimes going back in order to move forward is the only way to find your way back from the brink of despair and hopelessness. 

This will give both of you time to think about how you want to restructure your lives. Be patient with him -- because what happened to him could have easily happened to you and you need to ask yourself -- if he would have stuck around for you – so be patient and be there for him.

You can learn everything about how workplaces work by reading my 3 books on workplace abuse/discrimination - 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” at

Monday, September 7, 2015

Afraid of Commitment

Sep. 7, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have been single for a while and is nearing retirement age.  I own my own home which is a beautiful home that I have put a lot of work into over the years.  Most of the men I meet is not as well-off as I am and many want to move into my home.  I have a fear of getting with someone, then ending up with him taking half my retirement if our relationship do not work out.  How can I get over this fear?  Afraid of Commitment, Michigan

Dear Afraid of Commitment:

Many women find themselves in your position especially as they age.  However, just because a guy is not as well-off as you -- doesn’t mean he will not make a good partner.  Of course before allowing a guy to move in with you, you should get to know him and this might take months or even years.

But at the same time, if he does not listen to your desires and hang around to see how the relationship goes, then obviously he wasn’t the right person for you in the first place.   I know it’s hard separating your feelings and his desire to be with you but again if he truly want to be in your life, he would not pressure you on this. 

As many people age, they want less and many move out of their homes into smaller places but still it might be possible that he is attracted to you because of your beautiful home but again, if he wants to be in your life, he will stay where he is at -- for now -- to see how things come together in the future.

I don’t think it’s that men want women to take care of them, it just as they grow older and if they have very little and see a woman with more, maybe they think it would be easier to move in with them.  Life is full of the unknowns and relationships are a gamble especially today where most couples are choosing to live together instead of walking down the aisle. 

But at the same time, you need to get over your fear and don’t let it keep you from finding Mr. Right, because after all, your home can’t keep you warm at night and you can’t walk down the aisle with your home.