January 9, 2013

In a great book the I’ve just finished reading by author Erin Botsford, “the BIG RETIREMENT RISK; RUNNING OUT OF MONEY BEFORE YOU RUN OUT OF TIME”, I learned a whole new way of thinking about investing money, and I want to share it with you. Here are the key points:

A) In retirement, cash is king–in other words, cash flow or income is the kingpin of your existence. Well, that’s not exactly “news”, I know.
 B) Investments that provide cash flow can be broken down into these three categories:

  •  Lifestyle Investments
  • Hybrid Investments
  • Non-Lifestyle Investments

Botsford explains that most of us who are so-called, “retired”, probably think of the income that feeds our retirement years as that which we worked for and invested as our pension or Social Security monies. This will include 401Ks, and pensions established for independent business owners. She describes theses sources of income as “Lifestyle Investments.”  This is the source of essential elements of our lifestyle: rent or mortgage, food, utilities, insurances, car notes (if any), basic clothing, etc.– kinda like the “Safety” level of “Maslow’s Higher Archy of Needs.”

The next category, Hybrid Investments, are those that are based on solid sources, such as rental properties, royalties, bonds, and some stocks, but they don’t always yield the same income month-to-month that you can count on. This source, can, however, augment the Lifestyle stuff from time-to-time, or it can supply cash for the next category, Non-Lifestyle Investments. Non-Livestyle Investments, according to Erin Botsford, is money that you might have acquired through unconventional means: inheritance, bonuses, lottery, or other “windfall” sources. It can also just be money you saved for those special DESIRES: a great vacation, a summer cottage, a boat or motorcycle, grandchildren’s gifts, education–you get the point–you don’t NEED it, but it sure would make life sweeter if you had it–paid for!

Looking at the issue of having enough money to live on during retirement was scary, and it generated a huge question mark in my mind, until I began to think about my income in this compartmentalized way. In addition to ordinary income, It has helped me to decide where to put money that I receive from part-time work, ancillary side investments, and the lottery that I’m sure to win someday!  What’s more, it has increased my awareness of cash expenditures that don’t fit into this plan, and that exploit my plans. I’m a new creature! I am very grateful to Mrs. Botsford for her enlightening book. I hope that sharing just this much of it with you has been helpful, too.





December 28, 2012

“They just don’t listen to me!” These were the words spoken through sobs of my new teacher mentee, as she buried her head on my shoulder and wept. It had been a pretty grueling observation session, in which I witnessed middle school students behaving disrespectfully, not only to the teacher, but to each other. Virtually everyone was “off-task”–talking loudly (arguing) back and forth about social things that had no relevance to the lesson on Compounds that was represented in the Science lesson plan. Over and over again, the novice teacher tried to restore order; but, to no avail.  She was an intern who was completing her student teaching requirement. Today, nerves frayed, and frustrated beyond words, she was at her wit’s end–thus, the tears.  It was all I could do to console her.

The bell rang, and the students bolted out of the door, leaving the classroom in disarray; balled up papers were on the floor alongside broken pencils. Chairs were pulled out  from tables where books and student folders were strewn in “helter-skelter” fashion. The place looked like a tornado had passed through. No learning had taken place here today, and a very demoralized prospective teacher was limp and convulsing with horror and pain in my arms. Disappointment, and a pillaged sense of self-efficacy only mildly described what she felt. 

My mind raced back to a time many years ago when, as a new teacher,  I felt the same way. I had to do something to help her. What was needed was the assistance of a qualified Teacher-Coach.  That was me. It’s what I do best.  What I had seen was inspiration enough to get me started on a new approach with this good, but “green” new teacher, who was full of potential to be great. Once she was calmed down, I set an appointment to discuss commencement of a formal program of coaching and feedback that consisted of a) a pre-conference session, b) a formal observation, and c) a post-conference session.  It was a simple, 3-step plan, but one that I’ve used successfully with many teachers–new and experienced alike. I take pride in setting my teachers up for success, by establishing across-the board structure.

It has taken a few weeks of consistently using this plan to bring about the confident, well-organized, and well-planned young teacher that I now observe, but I can tell you that it has been time well-spent. Instead of being ready to quit, I  now see a potentially powerful, fully competent teacher joining the field of excellent teachers that are so sorely needed in our classrooms. For this, I credit the power of COACHING. I’m proud to be one of those who are privileged to work with with teachers using this approach. The results are immeasurable, not to mention the sense of fulfillment that I derive from the effort.

Save The Children

December 26, 2012

Nothing inspires me quite as thoroughly as the precious innocence of little children. Whatever it takes, we have to protect and preserve their special time in life.

October 29, 2009

“From Dunbar to Destiny: One Woman’s Journey Through Desegregation and Beyond”  is being read by book clubs all over the country.  Personal stories about people, places and events along the journey from early teens through college, marriage and fascinating life experiences are intriguing, if not  riveting. There is passion, pathos and a plethora of history to be found in the pages of this book.  Women, especially, will find it an engaging narrative that contains much with which they can identify.

Your club can secure copies through Amazon to read anytime, but perhaps it will spark good conversation leading into Black History Month (Feb.).  The author is available for speaking engagements with at least 60 days notice.  Post interest here with contact info.

Shirley Robinson Sprinkles Releases New Book

April 6, 2008

Published by Wheatmark, this new release by  Shirley Robinson Sprinkles details her Journery from Desegregation and beyond is getting positive reviews. See what a few are saying about her book “From Dunbar to Destiny”.

The fact that Shirley Robinson Sprinkles and I grew up together and have been lifelong friends does not take anything away from the fact that she has brilliantly chronicled an important era in American history. I wouldn’t expect anything else from her because she is so brilliant and full of life and dedicated to the creation of a better world. 

Shirley as well as I and everyone who attended our beloved Dunbar, a black elementary and junior high school, could have easily bought into society’s opinion of us as “less than” – but she has travelled way beyond such a tag and has illustrated clearly in her memoir how, when brawn and brain are melded together with good intentions and purposes, wonderful things can happen and a human being, no matter his or her circumstances or color, can reach for the stars and shine among them. 

Our motto at Dunbar was “Be the Best” and my friend’s writing shows that she has honored such a creed and made my old chest poke out with a level of pride that can’t be denied. If there ever was a “must read” book her’s is surely high on the list.       

– Ernest McCray “Ernie McCray” (San Diego, California)

 What an amazing journey! Every young woman should take the time to read and enjoy this book. Shirley has proven that hard work, discipline, and self-pride pay off. Her life demonstrates that when one door is closed, another door opens. Too often, young women give up and let wonderful opportunities pass them by because of an obstacle put in their path. Shirley had the courage to ‘keep steppin’. Her journey serves as an inspiration to all. 

– Sandra H. Wilkins (Fayetteville,NC)