Your Money

“Desperately seeking jobs” article in local newspaper not good news

March 14th, 2009 at 8:02 pm by under Your Money

“Desperately seeking jobs” (The Grand Rapids Sunday’s Press 2-15-09, page B1) reporting on the job fair participants’ experience did nothing to help people understand what they need to do to find work and stay employable.  Job fairs are historically poor places to look for work in economic downturns, and, even in good times, are well known to be discouraging “cattle calls”.  The article did more to drive workers to think about leaving our beautiful state and region than help them with news to assist their locating new work.  Job fairs have never been seen as very effective means to help people find work, given the alternatives. (more…)

The Economy and Depression

March 12th, 2009 at 10:20 pm by under Your Money

Here are few thoughts and comments about the economy and how it relates too our emotional and mental health:

A recent Gallop poll states: as the economy gets worse, so does our mental health, with
levels of anxiety and depression significantly increasing. American moods seem to be extra sensitive to economic news, especially the negative. Dow losses and Job cuts particularly show stress.

We have many cases in our practice at Pine Rest that we deal with daily where people are losing insurance, going into foreclosure, have unpaid bills, and are being or have been laid off.

The challenge is: How do we Respond?

Usually: We eat more, sleep more, spend less time with other people, exercise less, worry more, focus on the negative more, and in general make very poor coping choices.

We put a lot of faith in money for security, when that is taken away, a lot of people are not sure what to do or how to respond. This is a great time to ask those deeper questions about where your life is going and what is really important.

Concrete/Practical Coping Steps:

Talk to someone – rely on those close to you
Don’t suffer alone
Reframe and Redirect your thinking patterns
Stay away from constant negative thinking
Find hope, develop a plan
Focus on the choices you can make, not on what’s out of your control
Seek out a therapist

Ryan LaRue MSW
Pine Rest Caledonia Clinic
9090 S. Rodgers ct., Caledonia, MI, 49316
On M-37 (Beltline) just one mile south of 84th st. and only about 2.5 miles south of M-6.

Writing resume when have education but not experience

March 12th, 2009 at 2:34 pm by under Your Money

From Your Money, Your Questions

I have been in the cosmetology profession for 15 years.  I decided I was ready for a change last summer and took the Medical/Chiropractic Assistant online program through Blue Heron Academy.  I completed it right before Christmas, and have gone through retooling my resume.  But, my question is, while I emphasize on my resume that i’ve got multi-line phone, computer and customer service experience, and that i’m reliable and willing to learn, how can I make myself more appealing when I don’t have experience in the medical feild and I want to really get in somewhere so I can get experience?

Thanks! Kathy, Grand Rapids

Balancing Your Investment Choices With Asset Allocation

March 11th, 2009 at 12:38 pm by under Your Money

A chocolate cake. Pasta. A pancake. They’re all very different, but they generally involve flour, eggs,
and perhaps a liquid. Depending on how much of each ingredient you use, you can get very different outcomes.  The same is true of your investments.  Balancing a portfolio means combining various types of investments using a recipe that’s right for you.

Getting the right mix

The combination of investments you choose can be as important as your specific investments. The mix of various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives, accounts for most of the ups and downs of a portfolio’s returns.

There’s another reason to think about the mix of investments in your portfolio. Each type of investment has specific strengths and weaknesses that enable it to play a specific role in your overall investing strategy. Some investments may be chosen for their growth potential. Others may provide regular income.  Still others may offer safety or simply serve as a temporary place to park your money. And some investments even try to fill more than one role. Because you probably have multiple needs and desires, you need some combination of investment types.

Balancing how much of each you should include is one of your most important tasks as an investor.  That balance between growth, income, and safety is called your asset allocation. It doesn’t guarantee  a profit or insure against a loss, but may help you manage the level and type of risks you face.


How to make career change: Janitorial work to illustrator/graphic design

March 11th, 2009 at 9:44 am by under Your Money

From Your Money, Your Questions

I am currently a small business owner in the janitorial field.  With the current economic state more and more people, and business’s are using our services less.   This is creating a economic hardship for myself and my business.  My God given talent is doodling/illustration although I have no degree it is my passion.  I am thirty six and I don’t have the income to support returning to school to get a degree.  My question is would it be feasible to pursue this area and how would I go about it?  Please see attached illustrations.
Thank You
Maggie in Grand Rapids

Kelli trying to make a career change at 40+

March 10th, 2009 at 1:27 pm by under Your Money
Dear Ken,
I really enjoyed your interview on TV-8 on  Monday, March9, 2009.  I hate to bother you, but I just have a simple question concerning networking.  I am 45 years old and have made the decision to make a career change.  From Consumer sales and Management to Human Service’s.   Since I I have become unemployed this summer, I decided to go back to college (on-line) to acquire another bachelors degree in Human Services for this change.  Can you give me a few tips on networking in a new career field to find a job.
Thank you so very much for your time,

Job clubs and transition support groups in West Michigan

March 9th, 2009 at 7:12 pm by under Your Money

Job clubs and transition support groups are helping job seekers find work in West Michigan.  These weekly or monthly sessions are open to the public and provide ongoing networking, support, group problem solving, and coaching for individuals during periods of work search and career transition.

Career coaches and human resource professionals lead them. Ken Soper, a National Career Development Association recognized Master Career Counselor and adjunct faculty member of Spring Arbor University / Grand Rapids, coordinates information for these groups.

Currently job clubs/roundtables are operating at these locations in the greater Grand Rapids area.  They do not meet the weeks of major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day (some exceptions), and the 4th of July.  (Regular participants at these events are also able to take advantage of using the “Work Search Roundtable-Grand Rapids” Yahoo eGroup’s many capabilities for further networking, materials, and coaching resources.)

ALLENDALE / NE OTTAWA COUNTY – Thursdays, 9:00-10:00 am, “Work Search” ministry at Spring Valley Community Church Office, 4629 Lake Michigan Dr (just west of GVSU entrance next to Speedway), Allendale, Michigan. For more info, call 895-9150. This is a joint effort with the Allendale Chamber of Commerce. Link:

BELTLINE SE – Thursdays 8:30-10:30 am, Work Search Roundtable℠ meets at Spring Arbor University’s Grand Rapids Center, 1550 East Beltline, Suite 245/Executive East–just south of Lake Drive on the east side of the street. Parking is on the south side of the building. Contact Ken Soper, LifeSteward Group LLC, 698-3125,, for more information.

GRAND RAPIDS EAST – Fridays, 9:30-10:30 am, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2700 E. Fulton at Robinson Road. Call Joel Grumm, h285-0437, to register and for more info.

GR DOWNTOWN – Wednesdays known as “Job Seekers Support Group,” 10:00-11:30 p.m., at Women’s Resource Center, 678 Front Ave NW, Suite 180, Grand Rapids. Registration requested; please call 458-5443 for Sandy Healey,  Open to women AND men. Website:

ROCKFORD – Wednesdays, NE Kent Employment Resource Group, Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, 6727 Kuttshill Dr. Rockford, MI. 49341, Room 300.   Every Wednesday, 8:30-10:30 am.  Use back entrance, lower level, room is by drinking fountain.  Call Frank Bettig at (616) 204-0215 (c) for more information.  This is a new group started in February 2009.

NE GRAND RAPIDS – a weekly Wednesday “Job Club”, 9:15-11:00 am at St. Jude Catholic Church, 1120 4 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 (on4-Mile between Coit and Plainfield).  Contact Joel Postma, (616) 550-7423 (c),  Enter by parish office, go upstairs to 2nd floor Brophy Center.  This club started in early March 2009.

SPRING LAKE – a monthly third Thursday job club that meets 7:00-8:30 pm at the Spring Lake Library,123 E. Exchange St., Spring Lake, called “Job Seekers Networking Group.”  Contact Bobbie Twa, for more info, (616) 846.9395, or

Know another job club that is regularly meeting at a church or non-profit organization’s facility? Or like to start one? Contact Ken Soper, for more information (616) 698-3125,

A.C.T. Now Regarding Your Finances

March 9th, 2009 at 4:23 pm by under Your Money

If you have seen your retirement plan or personal investment account value drop 40% to 50% in the last 18 months you may be asking yourself … What Do I Do Now?

What you should do is A.C.T. …  Assess, Calculate & Take Action.

A – ASSESS your current situation.  Do an inventory of your assets and liabilities and revisit your goals and time horizon. The critical piece of information is your current and/or future monthly budget needs.  Review your monthly expenses and complete a side by side analysis of how each of your expenses will change when you enter retirement.  You also need to dust off those Social Security statements you receive and review your benefit amount at different ages.  If you have a defined benefit pension plan, you should contact your employer and have them calculate your pension benefit.  You should have them do this for you at the various possible ages you may want to begin benefits and at the various payout options provided within your plan.

C – CALCULATE your financial projections (mainly retirement).  There are a number of web-sites that you can use to calculate retirement projections.  You should be careful that you are inputting the proper information and using realistic assumptions within your calculations. You may want to consider inflation between 3-4% (4% if you want to be conservative).  Also, the rate of return you may want to consider while accumulating for retirement may be 7% to 8% and possibly 5% to 7% during your retirement years.  There are many web-based tools or even the over-the-phone investment company planning support services you may be able to access.  However, I would recommend working with a financial professional that has the knowledge and resources to help you over time and not just during the initial planning stage.  A financial professional can also help you accurately interpret the data generated.

T – TAKE ACTION. Once you have an updated analysis of where you stand, you should implement any changes your analysis suggests.  Changes that may relate to your desired retirement date, your spending or saving strategy, cash reserve needs or portfolio adjustments.  This is the difficult part. There is more to managing your situation than just changing investments or rebalancing your asset allocation.  You may find that you are on still on track and you don’t need to make any changes. You you may find that some adjustments are necessary and should be addressed immediately.
You may need to spend less, save more or change your portfolio to produce more income.  Whatever you discover in your recalculation you need to act on.  Don’t ignore it and simply hope for the best.

Remember, ASSESS your situation, CALCULATE the impact of recent events and TAKE
to address needed changes.

The time to A.C.T. is now.

Roger J. David
Rinvelt & David, LLC
Securities and Advisory Services offered through Mutual Service Corporation. Mutual
Service Corporation and LPL Financial are affiliated companies and are members of
FINRA/SIPC.  Rinvelt & David, LLC is not affiliated with Mutual Service Corporation or LPL Financial.

Career Ken is now on the blog!

March 9th, 2009 at 1:52 pm by under Your Money

Join me on this blog in asking questions and discussing the challenges you’re are finding in landing work and staying employable.