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Take ownership of your pride and unforgiveness button

LucyShaw-160Dear Lucy: I divorced my husband ten years ago. We have one child and now he is seventeen. His father has never paid child support and I have never done anything about it because I can usually handle everything myself. However, when I really need his help and ask, he knows how to push my buttons, make me mad and I walk away angry and empty handed. He has never done anything for our son willingly and makes me feel guilty for asking by telling me about the last time he gave me money. Now, my son doesn't even want to ask for anything. Senior year is coming up and I can really use the help. How can I get different results?
– Buttons

Dear Buttons: Our emotions can work for or against us. Could it be that one of the buttons he pushes is the one called pride and unforgiveness? These two states can make us very emotional.

First there is the pride that made you think you didn't need or want his help so you decided not to legally enforce his responsibility to provide support for his child. Second, when we wallow in unforgiveness, it's hard to be civil. And here is something about forgiveness that we need to remember. To forgive a person does not mean that we let them go free. It means that we let ourselves go free. We become free enough to think rationally and without cloudy emotions.

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ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: The business of landscaping

lawncare 600The beautiful May flowers nurtured by April showers are usually accompanied by overgrown grass and weeds. With very little upfront investment, a lucrative business can be created for landscaping residential and commercial properties.

Many men have flashbacks of their younger days when their parents demanded they mow the lawn. Equipped with little more than a push mower and a rake, the teens went to work on the lawn. The more industrious teens became entrepreneurs, mowing more than just their parent's home. They made contact with the neighbors and began their summer jobs tending to the lawns in the neighborhood.

With a standard of expertise above the norm, lawn care now is a thriving business. Whether the business is independently started as a sole proprietorship or a franchise is purchased, there is money to be made in the industry. The benefit of an independently started business is that the profits are not shared and the entrepreneur is free to make his or her own rules. The benefit of a franchised business is that most of the documents needed to begin the business have already been created by the franchisor. Depending on the geographic region, marketing may also be included in the monthly fees.

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Looking beyond the bull market

moneymatter 600When the latest bull market for U.S. stocks reached the five-year mark on March 10, 2014, only five bulls had lasted longer. The Standard & Poor's 500 index posted a gain of 177 percent for the five-year period.

The current bull followed on the heels of the Great Recession and the worst stock market decline since the 1929 stock market crash. The most recent bear market began in October 2007; the S&P 500 fell 57 percent before hitting the bottom on March 9, 2009.

In typical fashion, investors who sold stocks during the downturn may not have participated fully in some of the subsequent bull market gains. A recent Morningstar study found that emotional trading practices had a negative effect on investment returns over the last decade. For the 10-year period ending December 31, 2013, investor dollars returned an average of 2.5 percentage points per year less than the average mutual fund's performance, largely because people have a tendency to buy high and sell low.

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‘Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache’

VanishingPearl 600On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig owned and operated by British Petroleum (BP), exploded, spilling over 50 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico before it was finally capped weeks later. In June, President Obama announced that the company had set aside $20 billion in cash designated to help those deleteriously affected by the ecological disaster.

Kenneth Feinberg's law firm, which had previously handled the distribution of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was retained at a rate of $850,000/month to handle the BP one also. Although the TV commercials running in the company's highly-saturated PR campaign would have you believe that it was contrite and committed to undoing any damage, truth be told, that carefully-cultivated corporate image bore little relation to how it was actually treating many of the victims seeking restitution.

Take, for example, Pointe a la Hache, an African-American enclave located in Plaquemines Parish, La. For generations, the men of that Gulf shore village of less than 300 had supported their families by plying their trade as oyster fishermen. However, the BP spill put the brothers out of business and by 2012 the tiny African-American community had effectively been turned into a ghost town.

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Is a sex tape key to a successful relationship?

Myron-Mays-160Big talk this week is the leaked sex tape between "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" stars Mimi and Nikko. If you haven't heard about this or at least heard, seen or read a "shower rod" joke in the past few days, you must be living underneath a rock...a very large one.

Admittedly, I've been spending a little time under that rock myself. I have never watched an episode of the show. Before this week I couldn't have picked Mimi or Nikko out of a line up. However, I know them both quite well now. Possibly more than I'd really like.

OK, first off, it's not really a sex tape; it's a "DVD." A sex tape is a video between two people that is meant to be kept private. This was a production with a professional cameraman that was made for retail. Ever since Kim Kardashian made the spotlight for a "sex tape" there seems to be never-ending quests for 15 minutes of fame...or the extending of it, that is.

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