Using Failures as Building Blocks to Create Success

Have you thought about your personal definitions for “success” and “failure”? Maybe you see success as a destination, like winning a race. You look forward to crossing the finish line, being declared the winner, having the prize of recognition in the present moment, as well as future acclaim and rewards — all because you made the right moves! Under the same model, failure could be seen as getting off on a dead-end side street, having to retrace your steps and suffer lost time. Even if others remain politely silent, you and your self-criticism agree that the path taken has turned out to be a “not-so-smart move.” Mistakes appear as “hard lessons” that bring the pain of guilt and regret. Most of us would agree: success is a good to be sought after; failure is bad and to be avoided. But as someone who works with people facing challenging economic circumstances, there’s no way I can use this black and white, all or none thinking in dealing with and solving problems. When someone faces job loss, foreclosure, and bankruptcy, it’s no help to advise a stiff upper lip just to avoid some shameful feelings that can only make matters worse. Failures can be redefined as lessons learned that actually promote success. For example, famous political leaders like Winston Churchill have seen the word “success” as the […]

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Learn more about California’s new Homeowner Bill of Rights

Learn more about California’s new Homeowner Bill of Rights To update the June 1 article about foreclosure options, homeowners will want to find out about important rule changes that will take effect Jan. 1, 2013. The new legislation signed into law on July 11 is referred to as a “Homeowner Bill of Rights,” and makes California the first state in the nation to expand upon provisions of the National Mortgage Settlement. Rather than try to explain the details and specific benefits, which essentially address areas of conflict and unfairness, this article will provide four major resources for homeowners to get the information that focuses on their particular circumstances. 1. See Governor Brown’s announcement: http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=17627 When Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, he said he was responding to the "abusive tactics" of loan servicers, in order to protect struggling homeowners who are trying, in good faith, to renegotiate their mortgages. "Californians should not have to suffer the abusive tactics of those who would push foreclosure behind the back of an unsuspecting homeowner," said Governor Brown. "These new rules make the foreclosure process more transparent so that loan servicers cannot promise one thing while doing the exact opposite." 2. See the Office of Attorney General’s website, which provides a slideshow of how six families would benefit from new rules: http://oag.ca.gov/homeowner-stories "The California Homeowner […]

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Ask the Attorney – Question: Could you give Sacramento homeowners some tips on how to lower their property taxes?

By Kaushik Ranchod Question: Could you give Sacramento homeowners some tips on how to lower their property taxes?  Good question – actually this was a recent question I was asking myself when I got a tax bill that looked like it needed some verification as to its accuracy. So I went looking for some resources for a deeper understanding of my property tax and what was involved in the dispute process. After calling the assessor’s office, I found out about requesting an assessment pursuant to Proposition 8. This would allow the assessor to take into consideration factors that may have caused a decline in the current market value. Indeed, after requesting a reassessment, there came by mail a “Notice of Taxable Value of Real Property,” which readjusted the assessed amount and allows for further appeal if I believe my particular circumstances warrant it. So now that I have a little practical experience, I do have advice for the newcomer to the property tax dispute process. First, I believe the best first step is to review the Sacramento County Assessor’s website at http://www.assessor.saccounty.net/default.htm, which is ready to address questions and problems about almost any scenario. The home page clearly sets forth “HOT TOPICS,” such as: My Property Value has Declined. How do I Lower My Property Taxes? Decline In Value (Prop 8) Request for Assessor Review […]

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Sacramento’s revolving door policy, bankrupt cities, electric car chargers: Wake-Up Call

Welcome to another edition of the "Wake-Up Call," a rundown of items that we’re working on, found interesting, or otherwise thought you might want to know about today. As is always the case here at Sac Press, suggestions are welcome. THINGS WE’RE WORKING ON SACRAMENTO’s REVOLVING DOOR: A recent Sacramento County grand jury report found that two former Sacramento city managers negotiating on behalf of a trash disposal company made some city employees feel intimidated, leading to a contract that a Sacramento Bee editorial said showed “gross incompetence and shocking indifference to the issues of ratepayer costs or basic fairness in public contracting.” City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby told us she wants the city to implement a policy that would prevent the scenario from repeating by more strictly regulating what has been termed the “revolving door,” or the practice of private companies hiring former government officials to gain favorable terms from lawmakers. “When you work for the state and you retire, you can come back as a retired annuitant, but one thing you cannot do is come back as a consultant on subject matter from which you had direct involvement,” Ashby said. Brandon Darnell will have more later today. WHAT WE’RE READING GOING BELLY-UP: The list of cities going under in the state is getting longer: Phll Willon of the L.A. Times reports that the city […]

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Vacation Savings Tips – How to plan a fun vacation without breaking the bank

Surveys indicate that, as a general continuation of cost-cutting in everyday life expenses, vacationers will be spending less in terms of travel and lodging. So how do you get in on the best deals in keeping with this frugal trend? Here are a few suggestions for anyone looking for ways to get maximum value for your vacation dollars by using right “keywords” in internet searches. Three examples of queries with keywords that give suggestions for vacation savings and extra fun 1) Be specific about the name of the location where you’ll be spending your vacation. For instance, for anyone coming to the Sacramento, Central Valley area, you can search online by using a search term like: a. “tips for budget vacation in Sacramento California” [http://www.visitcalifornia.com/Explore/Central-Valley/] or b. “frugal vacation in Sacramento, California” points to 10 ways to save money on your next vacation” http://www.stretcher.com/stories/03/03jun09c.cfm 2) Be general about the type of activities and use search term such as “family vacation package” which will give ideas for family fun applicable to every interest and age. a. Here’s a site for local activities that includes ways for teaching about other cultures through local attractions and food: http://local.stretcher.com/Family_Vacation_Packages_West_Sacramento_CA-p1596554-West_Sacramento_CA.html b. Don’t be shy about using a keyword like “cheap” in your query, it can lead to valuable information and ways to compare the high and medium price for essentially […]

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Ask the Attorney: Can debt collectors contact me?

Before I delve into the question "Can debt collectors contact me at work?" I want to start off our discussion by asking the following question: Do you have a plan of action to take when confronted with a debt challenge? What is a debt challenge? It’s the temporary inability for whatever reason to make a debt payment on time, in the full amount due, or according to an existing debt repayment plan. Isn’t that what happens when you have to miss a payment or cannot pay the full amount owed on the due date? We all have changes in our financial circumstances, which means ups and downs. When a financial situation changes so that you are unable to pay all your creditors, this temporary situation can be addressed with a plan of action. The details may require steps taken over a span of time, but the essential three steps you can learn and take today. Step 1: Recognize in advance that you will be contacted by creditors if you don’t contact them FIRST. Step 2: Plan what you will say and do as a practical solution given the change in your finances, NEXT. Step 3: Know your rights and resources under the law so you remain in control of situation, ALWAYS. Step 1: Choose whether you will call first or reply to a call from […]

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Financial News: Finances and worry

Question: The state of the global economy, and the Sacramento job market has me worried about my financial security. Do you have any suggestions about how to stop worrying about money? Answer: Fortunately, you can solve your financial security issues by observing your emotions and worry. I know, I know, this answer sounds flippant! I’m certainly not belittling the financial struggles and hardships people now face for all of the above reasons, but before you stop reading this article, please consider this about the activity of worrying: Worrying means you are not living in a fantasy of projected wealth promises that things will be fine “just around the corner.” Worry, in controlled doses, is a factual sign that you are facing whatever music is playing loud and clear in your life, and you are sincerely concerned about what to do next. When someone is worried or stressed about a situation, it means they are on high alert, physically, emotionally and intellectually. The body is ready for fight or flight, the emotions are highly charged to actually do something with all that energy and the brain is supercharged to think fast and show amazing practical and smart survival reasoning. Transform your feelings of worry (awareness and motivation) into problem solving (planning) and taking action (behavior). The trick to dealing with worry and stress is to not […]

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Financial News: BALANCE, the Key to Reaching and Maintaining Your Goal of Financial Security

WEEK 1 OF 3: HOW PRINCIPLES OF BALANCE in Nature Can Be Applied to Personal Finances – Do you have a favorite place or activity where you get your best bright ideas? For some people it is the shower – for me it is watering the garden. It’s a simple act of giving the plants what they need – water. If I don’t water them (and if it doesn’t rain, which, here, is almost a sure thing), they will not survive. Since watering isn’t a complex task, it’s easy to use this time to think and just allow my mind wander through the free-for-all place of ideas where it is easy, almost predictable to come upon ideas that have value in practical life scenarios. For instance, a recent “watering contemplation” began with the awareness of the balance which exists between my contribution to the wellbeing of another and my personal happiness. I noticed how, by just the simple act of watering plants, I was participating in the “the give and take of life.” That may sound way too dramatic, but the fact was: Here I am, giving water and receiving back a form of happiness, that is genuinely giving back to me a form of satisfaction. Yes, I had stumbled, quite accidentally too, upon “happiness” in the sense of accomplishment that comes with contributing to […]

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Financial News: Five ways to deal effectively with any difficult task involved with obtaining debt relief

Another way of asking this question is “how does one get things done when there are plenty of reasons to avoid getting them done?” I don’t think there’s one person who is obtaining debt relief who finds the necessary document and data collection and its organization a particularly delightful task. Applying for a short sale, debt settlement and Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires important financial documentation that is required for debt relief. That’s why many people put off doing the necessary things, sometimes waiting for the last minute or even miss a deadline because they find the project unpleasant, even stressful. But the actions that take you from debt overwhelm to financial freedom are not as dreadful as you might imagine. Here are a few tips in dealing with avoidance and procrastination that have already helped lots of people who face the same hurdle: to keep going when it’s tempting to move to a place called “Someday Aisle.” Don’t confuse deadlines with something dreadful Ever notice how productive you become when you have something to look forward to? How about preparing for a vacation – notice how much you get done the day before! You don’t want to leave and have undone work to take along or face later upon return. You discover how many things get done in a shorter amount of […]

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Ask the Attorney: Watch out for information overload – even information anxiety

Seeking information can be dangerous – as anyone who has ever opened an email with a virus can attest. Valuable information is best when it’s local and timely, when it addresses real-life concerns and comes from a trusted source. And it doesn’t hurt if it comes packaged so it is easily consumed – meaning in a format that is handy and “hits the spot.” That’s what I was thinking when I decided to start this weekly question-and-answer “Financial News” – as a reader who wants to share timely information about financial issues I find newsworthy and trustworthy. And since this is the first article of the series, I will ask the first question, which we imagine to be: What do readers really want to know about money and finances? Maybe it needs to be something more personal like, “How can I get out of debt given so many changing and uncontrollable factors in the economy?” Yes, that’s more like it, even if it is a huge subject which requires at least a book chapter to answer. How about if we narrow the focus instead to information about the Sacramento area economy– would readers like that? Not necessarily – readers are not always scouting for information that informs, even if it contains scientific data, especially if it paints pictures of contradiction, ambivalence, or gloom. Hey, cliche […]

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