The Stellar Communicator

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Dahna M. Chandler, MPS

Award-Winning Finance Journalist & Star Finance Industry Content Writer 


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Personal Finance Journalism

This section contains mostly personal finance articles, but there are a few health and other pieces here, too.

How Digital Banking Is Driving Social Change

(Editor's Note: In this story, Dahna Chandler profiles OneUnited Bank and E. Napoletano profiles the Daylight financial platform; Mitch Strohm wrote the introduction and conclusion.) Someday soon, if not today, you may find a banking platform that’s designed specifically for you and those like you. A growing number of banks and fintechs are using digital banking platforms to meet the unique challenges and needs of individual communities. This article tells the story of two of them.

Get Your Financial House In Order With These 7 Black Women Financial Experts

Studies prove that, in most American homes, women still do most of the household management tasks. Increasingly, this includes handling finances. Research shows that, in nine in 10 American households, saving and spending decisions involve women, while 31% of partnered women are the primary managers of their household’s finances. Partnered or not, perhaps you’re a woman who’s decided it’s time to change your or your family’s financial picture. Let these seven women help you.

What Is Loss Assessment Coverage?

Your condo insurance policy covers only what happens within your walls. And “a master policy protects the building,” explains Scott Holeman, director of the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. “An individual policy covers your liability, personal property and structural elements that are not covered by the master policy.” That's why you may need loss assessment coverage. Here's what it is and how to get the coverage.

OneUnited: The Nation’s Largest Black-Owned Bank Is Unapologetically Black And Activist

Launched in 1968 as Unity Bank & Trust Company in response to calls for Black economic empowerment, OneUnited Bank’s mission remains being Black America’s first choice for banking. Here’s how OneUnited is working to achieve that goal. (Forbes Advisor added an editor's name under my byline for SEO purposes. However, I researched, interviewed subjects for, and authored this story entirely.)

Is your long commute to work driving you insane? 5 ways to cope

Census data show that in 2013, 3.5 million Americans made one-way mega-commutes from their homes to their jobs. As this piece shows, there are people who travel between countries to get to work in the US each day, not just within busy metro areas or between states. This article shows those of you who make frequent long commutes for work how to cope effectively with the stresses, including financial, of such constant work travel.

How to Start Saving for Retirement After 50

Many Americans over 50 haven’t saved for retirement. In fact, the Insured Retirement Institute found that only 54 percent of boomers (age 53 to 71) have retirement savings. Quite a few Gen X’ers over 50 have little or no retirement savings, too. The boomers and Gen X’ers are in this position for multiple reasons; the most common one is postponement. If you’re one of them, it isn’t too late to get started funding your retirement and avoid future missteps, though. Here's a smart plan to help you.

These Are the Best Ways to Lose Weight in Your Face

Sometimes, it's your face that's the trouble spot for weight gain on your body. Here are 7 tips to lose weight there before getting surgery. (My editor assigned this article to me as part of WomansDay.com's SEO strategy. She knows how well I understand content strategy and how to write interesting and informative articles that also meet the publication's strategic objectives for attracting readership. I got a title from her that included the keywords. From that, I researched, sourced, interviewed for and wrote the piece.)

6 Common UTI Symptoms Women Need To Know About

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are relatively common in women: They account for 8.1 million doctor's office visits annually. If not treated promptly or properly, though, this usually minor infection can be deadly, especially for elderly women. Here's how to know what symptoms to look for and when to call your doctor. (My editor assigned this article to me as part of WomansDay.com's SEO strategy. She knows how well I understand content strategy and how to write interesting and informative articles that also meet the publication's strategic objectives for attracting readership. I got a title from her that included the keywords. From that, I researched, sourced, interviewed for and wrote the piece.)

Immigration assignment at North Carolina high school sparks racism debate

It was meant to be part of a social studies assignment tied to the US presidential campaign and the national debate about immigration. Instead, Erwin High School in Buncombe County, North Carolina, started its school year with a class project that inflamed existing racial tensions. The assignment in question? Students were required to create “bumper stickers” reflecting a point of view based on the topic of undocumented immigration. Read this article to learn what happened.

Personal Finance—Editorial Content

Why inflation happens — and the role of the Fed

Most people know that inflation — the gradual rise in prices over time — decreases your purchasing power. And the recent bout of inflation has certainly had a profound impact on most people's purchasing power. At 8.5%,1 it's at its highest since the 1980s. This comes after price increases holding steady at the Federal Reserve's prescribed rate of a 2% annually since the Great Recession ended in 2009. What is the role of the Fed in mitigating inflation? [Note: I wrote this for the private wealth content platform for the bank's mass affluent audience.] (Image: Pexels)

How to Avoid Distracted Driving

In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that nine people die daily in crashes reportedly involving distracted drivers. In most cases, mobile phones are the source of distraction. If you cause an accident, your auto insurance rates may skyrocket and you may experience significant legal problems depending on the accident's severity. So, you want to avoid distracted driving at all costs. Here's how.

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit for 2022 Rated by Experts

According to myFICO, a credit score that’s lower than 580 is considered poor, and one between 580 and 669 is fair. Any credit score under 670 is below the average U.S. consumer credit score, and lenders will consider that borrower a higher risk. This "Best of" overviews loans available for borrowers with poor credit. •• About this Project: As an expert reviewer for this website, I substantially rewrote and updated this review, which was the equivalent of 13-15 pages of text. I used my expertise in SEO, personal finance, and U.S. politics and economics, and I provided editorial direction. A project like this takes substantial time to complete, especially when it requires multiple editor-requested revisions, and I charge by the hour to do the work. The editor was an SEO expert and said the end product met his high SEO standards for content. Click my name in the review to see why this website made me an expert. Image: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com.

Best Private Student Loans of 2022

A private student loan is a one that comes from a lender like a bank, credit union, or finance company. Since the government doesn’t issue these loans, they’re often called “non-federal student loans.” The "Best of" overviews 10 private student loan lenders who have special programs for different borrower types. •• About the Project: As an expert reviewer for this website, I substantially rewrote and updated this review, which was the equivalent of 13-15 pages of text. I used my expertise in SEO, personal finance, and U.S. politics and economics, and I provided editorial direction. A project like this takes substantial time to complete, especially when it requires multiple editor-requested revisions, and I charge by the hour to do the work. The editor was an SEO expert and said the end product met his high SEO standards for content. Click my name in the review to see why this website made me an expert. Image: Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma'aji on Pexels.com.

Best Personal Loans for 2022: Reviewed and Ranked by Top Experts

A personal loan is unsecured debt offered to borrowers in a lump sum. Most personal loans come with fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments, and fixed repayment terms. This makes personal loans a good option for borrowers who need cash but don't want t the high interest rates and unpredictable monthly payment amounts of credit cards. Choosing a personal loan can be challenging, so this "Best of" overviews 10 lenders who offer the best loan types for a borrower's situation. •• About the Project: As an expert reviewer for this website, I substantially rewrote and updated this review, which was the equivalent of 13-15 pages of text. I used my expertise in SEO, small business development and lending, and U.S. politics and economics, and I provided editorial direction. A project like this takes substantial time to complete, especially when it requires multiple editor-requested revisions, and I charge by the hour to do the work. The editor was an SEO expert and said the end product met his high SEO standards for content. Click my name in the review to see why this website made me an expert. Image: Sarah Chai on Pexels

Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

If you want all your student debt—both federal and private loans placed into one private loan, possibly at a lower interest rate with lower monthly payments and longer to repay, then consider refinancing. •• About the Project: I wrote this original review from a client-provided detailed project brief that supplied SEO keywords and the required questions to answer for each lender. I selected the lenders to review from a spreadsheet provided to me by the marketing firm that owns the site. Then, I extensively researched each lender and wrote the reviews. I also used my expertise in SEO, personal finance, and U.S. politics and economics in my writing, and I provided editorial direction. This project, which was the equivalent of 15 pages of text or 5,000 words, took 30 hours to complete. The editor was an SEO expert and said the end product met his high SEO standards for content. Because of my work and extensive expertise on the two original reviews I wrote to the site, he made me an expert on the site. Click my name in the review to see why this website made me one of its experts. (Note: Clients pay me by the hour or word for projects like this and provide detailed project briefs.) Image: Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com.

Best Debt Consolidation Loans for 2022

A debt consolidation loan combines multiple debts, like credit cards, personal loans, medical and others, into one loan. I summarize the features of each loan covered here. They may be different in your state and are subject to change frequently. So, please check the lender’s site for the updated information. In this "Best of" lender list, I also provide significant education on what debt consolidation loans are, the application process, and alternatives to debit consolidation. •• About the Project: I wrote this original "best of" from a client-provided detailed project brief that supplied SEO keywords, the lenders to review, and the required questions to answer for each lender. I extensively researched each lender and wrote the reviews. I also used my expertise in SEO, personal finance, and U.S. politics and economics in my writing, and I provided editorial direction. This project, which was the equivalent of 15 pages of text or 5,000 words, took about 30 hours to complete. The editor was an SEO expert and said the end product met his high SEO standards for content. Because of my work and extensive expertise on the two original reviews I wrote for the site, the client editor made me an expert on the site. Click my name in the review to see why this website owner made me one of its experts. (Note: Clients pay me by the hour or word for projects like this and provide detailed project briefs.) Image: Monstera on Pexels.com.

A guide to credit scores

Your credit score – three numbers that hold considerable sway over your financial life — is often the first thing a lender wants to see before considering giving you a loan. Your credit score can seem mysterious or even random, but you have more control over it than you may think. Understanding what a credit score tells lenders and how it’s different from a credit report is the first step to taking control. Here's what you should know.
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Residential Real Estate & Design Content

How To Inherit A Rent-Controlled Apartment From A Friend

Inheriting a rent-controlled apartment is like achieving rental nirvana: a state of housing bliss where your rent is always below market rate. But rent-controlled apartments rarely become available to the public, so it’s not an easy dream to realize. However, with a little grit, determination, and luck, depending on where you live, you might just be able to make it happen. For those interested in giving it a shot, here’s where to start.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer: An Introduction

You have multiple options when considering materials for your home’s exterior. Many are first-rate. If you’re looking for materials that are beautiful, durable and versatile in their use for a large variety of exterior applications, natural thin stone veneer might be a surprisingly affordable choice. This blog post gives you an overview of the costs and benefits of using thin stone veneer in place of full-thickness natural stone.

What You Need to Know About Earnest Money and How to Protect Yours

Finally finding your dream home and getting ready to make an offer can be very exciting. But there is also a lot at stake: the financial decisions you make while buying your home can affect your long-term net worth. After all, your home is likely to be one of your most valuable assets. Before you submit your bid, it’s important to understand what an Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is, how you can use one to strengthen your offer, and how to protect your money. Read this to know.

A guide to AVMs

Whether you are considering buying, refinancing, or taking a loan on your home, the first step is to determine its value. And the faster you and the lender agree on that value, the quicker you can move forward. This is where AVMs can help. An AVM or automated valuation model is an approach used by real estate agents, mortgage companies and well-known companies, like Zillow, to quickly appraise a home’s value. Here's how they work and how they benefit you in real estate transactions.

8 Home Repairs That Are Not a Landlord’s Job

While your landlord is expected to handle many fixes, there are others that are on you. Your lease will often define exactly when and how you should make any repairs. When in doubt, pull out the paperwork. The general rule of thumb is that renters are responsible for repairing any damage that they cause themselves. So if you want to remain on peaceful terms with your landlord, don’t be the renter who calls about changing a lightbulb. Here are eight more repairs that you'll make yourself.

Smart Tips for Decorating Your Apartment on a Budget

Decorating a new apartment can quickly go from exciting to overwhelming, especially if you’re on a tight budget. As a renter moving into a new apartment, you want to make your place feel like your own home, but without spending a ton of money every time you move. Herein lies the eternal rental decorating dilemma: Which items should be higher quality, and where can you get away with more frugal options? Follow this set of savvy furnishing guidelines to know.

How to Use Natural Stone in a Kids’ Bathroom

If your children have their own bathroom, make that space unique to them and as kid-friendly as possible. To survive their childhood, you want this bathroom to be durable. You can achieve this using natural stone if you know which stone to choose. You also can change the space as your kids outgrow some decorative elements without decreasing your home's value or making a significant investment. Here are 7 tips for creating a kids’ bathroom that will fit their personalities—and the rest of your home. (This is a post I pitched, developed, interviewed for and wrote.)

Out with the Old: When It's Time to Update to Safer Furniture

This post is on upgrading from furniture made under old environmental and chemical exposure regulations to safer furniture. Originally, the focus of the post was different, but I showed the client how to make a better impression on readers by removing some keywords and refocusing the post to make a stronger connection between the statistics it presents and the company's offerings. This kind of tweaking can mean better engagement and outcomes for an overall content marketing strategy. It's how I combine my journalism background with my marketing fluency to help clients achieve their content marketing objectives.

Surprising Facts About the Eco-Friendliness of Furniture Rental

This post brought out the data journalist in me. I had to analyze the story behind the numbers and find additional data to support the original study. I focused on making this a piece of strong, editorial content that inspires readers to make their lifestyles more eco-friendly by recycling rather than replacing things. That can increase greenhouse gases since people end up disposing of their old items improperly. Read the blog post for more.

How to Reclaim Secondhand Wood Furniture and Make It Your Own

Personalizing a reclaimed secondhand piece of wood furniture is a satisfying endeavor on several levels. First, you’ve done a good deed for the environment because you’re keeping used furniture out of the landfill. Second, it’s an opportunity to turn a mediocre piece into a masterpiece. This blog post, which I was assigned but sourced, developed and wrote, gives tips on how to reclaim old wood furniture and make it yours.
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Travel, Lifestyle, & Health Content

Historic Virginia Getaways That Are Ideal for Romance

If you and your partner are history buffs who love to indulge in getaways that are ripe with opportunities for romance, add Virginia to your list of states to visit. The “lover’s state” is where many of the country’s founding fathers and presidents lived and loved. Wine historians also appreciate that it’s home to one of America’s first wine countries. “Thomas Jefferson was the state’s first commercial winemaker,” says Charles McCool, Washington, DC travel expert.

Lavish Lodging: Luxurious Places to Stay on Michigan's Mackinac Island

This vacationer’s haven, created for wealthy travelers in the 19th century, is a summer resort island with no franchise hotels. It maintains its 19th-century ambiance and old-world hospitality while offering numerous modern amenities. That includes full digital capabilities to keep you connected so that you can stay on the grid — if you’d like — and relax effortlessly. Learn why you should visit "Mackinaw" Island. (Image: Pixabay)

Cruising the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

In Kentucky, bourbon isn’t just a drink. It’s part of the state’s culture and history. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999 to showcase bourbon’s heritage. As you hit the road to discover America’s only native spirit, you’ll get to know the major bourbon brands, sample classic Kentucky cuisine, learn a bit of history, and enjoy miles of scenic rolling hills and bluegrass fields along the drive. (Image Source: Pixabay)

Must-See Attractions for an Authentic Cape Cod Experience

Cape Cod is the 70-mile peninsula shaped like a flexing bicep, making a fist that juts from the southeast corner of Massachusetts. About 100 miles from Boston and Logan International Airport and affectionately called “The Cape” by locals, it’s best known for legendary seafood caught in lobster bays that are part of 556 miles of unspoiled beaches. The area is the origin of the classic Cape Cod-style home that is popular across America, and the architecture is a core part of its landscape. Learn more about the Cape and the best places to visit for an authentic Cape Cod experience.

The 4 Most Expensive Luxury Cars

In summer, 2017, I was a regular contributor to the new Hertz blog and wrote this first post is about four super luxury cars only the wealthiest make their regular vehicles. Hertz's editors gave me the title and chose the cars based on my love of supercars (my favorite two are at the top of this list!) and my general knowledge of fine driving machines. This short post shows my ability to write quick, fun posts that draw audiences in and keep them excited. (Image: Flickr User Decio "desmodex" https://is.gd/drVwoq)

Emergency Guide: Disaster Planning for College Students

Most of the time, college is safe and fun, but it's not always disaster-proof. What would you do if you faced a natural disaster, especially if your college locale isn’t your permanent residence? It’s good to know how to respond before it happens, so start your planning by gathering whatever information you can. As you would for any class, take advantage of readily available information already compiled, including information that your independent rental insurance agent provides.

6 Things You Can't Live Without Your Freshman Year

When you’re shopping for your freshman year of college, buy everything on the list your school provides, and invest in the best tech tools you can. But, as a college freshman, you also need creature comforts and conveniences to make you feel at home in your new living space. That can help your academic and social shift from high school to college go more smoothly. Here are 6 things a former college freshman says you shouldn't live without.

Women Are Driving Healthcare: How Recent Trends are Changing Healthcare Delivery for Women

With its 2019 Women's Care Specialty Excellence Awards release, Healthgrades explored current trends and developed a data-driven, comprehensive white paper to share our findings. Our research includes data from the women who come to our site and represents nearly 70% of the monthly traffic on Healthgrades.com and also includes what they search for when seeking OB-GYN services. This research confirmed that today, women are healthcare provider most influential patients.
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SMB Finance, Development, & Operations

Financial Wellness for Your Small Business: What It Is and How to Create It

If you’re like most small-business owners, you may have gone into business because you’re passionate about the product or service you sell, and how it helps your target customer. While you may want to generate the highest revenue possible, you may prioritize excellence in serving your customers over managing business finances optimally. So, having high revenue doesn't mean you're experiencing small business financial wellness. Read this story to understand what that truly is and the strategies you must implement and concepts you must understand for achieving that position in your enterprise. [About the project: This story is pillar content, which broadly overviews the aspects of small business financial wellness 101. Linked are the supporting pieces on the specific small business finance topics I wrote about broadly in this pillar piece. It required an extensive understanding of small business financial concepts to write this piece, which I have.]

Does My Insurance Policy Cover a Flood on My Land?

Owning a farm can be a high-stakes enterprise, and you can't afford any event that would harm your business, especially flooded land. Inland flooding is one of the biggest risks to Americans. A lot of people don't think they necessarily need flood insurance but if you're near a river, a creek and you all of a sudden have intense rainfall, there's a flood risk. Even when your farm isn't on the Gulf coast, seriously flooded farms can happen. That's why it's important your farm has flood insurance. Here's what to consider.

What's your law firm's ideal client legal marketing persona? | Martindale-Avvo

Do you know who your ideal legal client is? It's difficult to develop a law firm content marketing strategy that distinguishes your law practice from your competitors' unless you know exactly whom you’re targeting. That’s where a legal marketing persona becomes a crucial part of your market research. This detailed profile of your ideal legal client, which gets integrated into your legal marketing plan, will help you precisely target that potential legal client with the right editorial content that persuades them to choose your firm over your competitor's. Here's how to create them these ideal client personas.

A Balancing Act: Cash Flow Management | 100 for 100

A high volume of sales may make you feel profitable, but that’s not the same as having a strong cash flow. After all, you can appear profitable at certain times, but be in the red in others. It’s only by proactively balancing how you manage your cash flow—revenue, expenditures and profits—that you have cash to maintain business operations consistently. That allows you to take advantage of opportunities to invest in growth. Here's how to achieve that balance.

How to Build a Financial Network of Advisors | 100 for 100

No matter what your business does, it’s essential you build relationships with a dedicated network of financial advisors. They help you operate, develop, and grow your business so you can focus on serving your customers while avoiding financial missteps. But which do you need and when do you need them? Use the guidance in this blog post to learn the right way to build your financial advisor network.

A simple breakdown to the working capital formula

If you want to know how well you're really operating your business, you'll need to know your business's working capital, also known as net working capital. It's a moment of truth for your company's financial health – telling you the difference between what you owe and what your business owns at any given time. Plus, it's one of the most important numbers lenders often rely on to decide if your company is worth financing. We've broken it down to make it super simple to compute.

The Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Your Business

Crowdfunding combines crowdsourcing and microfinancing. It does that by allowing individuals to invest small amounts in businesses that interest them. Sometimes, funders may outright donate money to your business. In others, they expect something in return, like equity, loan repayment, products or services. It is a way a small business owner can finance a new or existing enterprise without going to the bank. Here's how to find the best crowdfunding sites for your enterprise.

How to Get a Small Business Grant | Small Business Startup Grants

Have you been thinking that you want to start a business? So much planning goes into following your dream, and we know it can be a struggle to finance its startup and daily operations. We also know that finding funding opportunities for your enterprise can be harder during a global pandemic. You may not be eligible for small business loans. You also may not be open to additional loan debt to manage or want to max out your credit cards to conserve cash. That's why you need grant money. Here's how to get yours.

How to Keep Your Business Entity Legitimate As a Freelancer

Debate rages around the liability freelancers accept when they agree to contracts that hold them liable for their words using indemnity clauses. Other contract terms related to confidentiality violations, libel or defamation committed while writing give freelancers pause. Wanting to protect their business or personal property in lawsuits related to business activities, writers can establish an entity with a state government agency. Here's how to register your entity and keep it legal.

How to Get Better Pay for Your Freelance Writing Business

If you’re like most freelance writers, you’re savvy enough to know before starting a writing project, it’s imperative you put in place a solid contract that sets clear client expectations. However, that’s not always easy, even when you recognize that as a freelance writer, you’re a small business owner in the sales business. Here's how to overcome future payment issues and still build bridges with clients.
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Commercial Real Estate & Office Decor

The Importance of Quality Furniture for Your Small Business

The way you design your office reflects on your brand. Employees and clients alike determine the value of your business based on the feel of your office environment. Its design and organization determine whether you'll keep current employees and clients happy while attracting new talent and customers. So, to convey that you're a quality business worth the fees you charge, you'll want to go with quality furniture and an organized space. This blog post tells you how.

Easy Ways to Incorporate Small Business Trends into Your Office Design

Small business trends in office design come and go. But it's important to follow them to know which to implement and when to keep employee and client satisfaction high. You also have to do it in a cost-effective way that leads to high ROI. This blog post tells small business owners how to maintain critical long-term strategies in office design while still incorporating the latest ones with ease. That way, you can keep your employees, customers and bottom line happy.

Using Natural Stone in the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project

After a century of active use, almost any building will begin expressing the groans of advanced aging, with internal and external structures steadily failing. The Minnesota State Capitol building was no exception. In 2013, the centenarian structure, constructed in 1905 by Cass Gilbert, had reached a severe deterioration point. Its crumbling façade, with chunks of marble threatening to fall and injure visitors, became dangerous. To preserve the architectural integrity of this historic building, the 158,225 occupied square foot Capitol is undergoing a $309.674 million, three-plus-year extensive renovation, repair, and restoration. Read more about this award-winning project, that is expected to be completed in late 2017, here.

Wealth Management Industry & Private Equity/M&A Content and Journalism

MiddleGround's SixAxis Deal is Part of its Commitment to ESG

MiddleGround Capital, the first industrials-focused signatory with assets under $1 billion for the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, acquired SixAxis as part of its ESG investing strategy. Founded in 2002, SixAxis is a maker of highly engineered, compliance-driven industrials safety equipment based in Andrews, SC. (About the story: Because the PE firm liked my first story on its acquisition of HLC so much, I got the exclusive on this, which means I had to turn the story around in 36 hours. I chose the ESG angle for the piece, too.)

Using ESG as a Core Investment Option

We believe that one of the biggest challenges financial advisors often face with ETF investors is the latter's belief that ESG investing only needs to be a small part of their portfolios. Often, they're unconvinced that ESG is an optimal core option, preferring other more “traditional" choices. [In this blog post that I pitched to FlexShares, I tell wealth advisors how to educate their ETF investor clients on the importance of using ESG as part of their core investment strategy. When I wrote this in 2016, there wasn't such a deep understanding of ESG as there is today, so my thinking and writing about the subject were still innovative.]

How to Effectively Educate Your Bigger is Better Clients About the FlexShares ETF Difference

We believe FlexShares ETFs beneficial investor offerings include our growing innovative fund product lineup. Partnering with seasoned index investment professionals using quantitative research, our alternatively weighted indices and mixed asset classes provide investors with funds that are designed to help meet a variety of investor financial goals. But for many investors their most objective measure is quantitative—size. [This blog post, which I pitched and wrote for FlexShares, shows financial advisors how to educate clients on choosing measures other than size when evaluating ETF providers like FlexShares. When I wrote this 2016, there wasn't such a wide understanding of ESG as there is today, so my thinking and writing about the subject were still original.]

ESG and Social Labor Considerations

We believe that many of today's investors are seeking investments that put their hard-earned dollars into ETF portfolios that reflect their convictions about important social issues. They connect most with brands that apply ESG — or environmental, social, and governance considerations — in their daily operations. [This blog post pitched and written by me for FlexShares helps financial advisors inform clients how choosing ETFs that focus on ESG, particularly social labor considerations, align with their core value. When I wrote this 2016, there wasn't such a broad understanding of ESG as there is today, so my thinking and writing about the subject were still novel.]

White Paper: Reaching Executive Women- An Overlooked — and Growing — Investor Segment

High net worth and ultra-high net worth executive women often get overlooked by wealth management advisors as viable clients. But, this multi-trillion dollar market is a growing—and lucrative—investor segment. From this white paper, advisors learn why this important investor segment has value to them and how to reach this market. [Co-authored with client.] (Inclusion of this writing sample in my portfolio does not represent an endorsement of me or my work by FlexShares or Northern Trust.)

eBook: Customize your clients' ESG experience

Increasingly, investors are interested in aligning their investment portfolios around their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values. Savvy financial professionals are taking essential steps to identify their clients' interests and values to help them meet their investing goals. This research-backed eBook shows financial professionals how to provide customized client experiences that meet their ESG investing requirements.

Understanding the CFP Board’s New Standard on Technology for Financial Planning Software

Recognizing it likely was overdue to provide robust technology standards for CFP® professionals, on October 1, 2019, the CFP Board unveiled its new Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The regulations are effective now, but the CFP Board begins enforcing them on June 30, 2020. Read this ghostwritten post to learn more about how you become compliant to the new technology standards. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

Case Study: ACH Data Means More Lending for a NY Credit Union

What happens when a small NY credit union uses its own ACH data and a small marketing budget to create an auto loan recapture promotion for its members? Phenomenal results happen, including $2.2 million in auto loan business in seven months, up to a 22:1 ROI for each marketing dollar and a jump in signature loan, HELOC, and new credit card account business. Read my case study and learn how, occasionally, marketing can produce magic (although planning took three years).

Why Client Communication Is Key to Building Better Relationships with Women Investors

When working with any investor, financial advisors must excel at client communication. Clients want to feel that their financial advisors hear, respect, and value them—especially women investors. Women now control more than half of personal wealth in the US, roughly $22 trillion. As wealth gets transferred to more women over the next four decades, that number is projected to rise to nearly $29 trillion. Financial advisors must shift their client communication strategies to meet women investors' needs. Here's how. [Bylined blog post.]

How to Create the Foundation of Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Today’s financial planner faces multiple challenges in business development, especially when just getting started with digital marketing techniques. There are numerous digital channels that financial professionals can leverage to connect with prospective clients like never before, and create growth for their firm. Oftentimes, the key to success in any digital marketing initiative is taking a unified approach. This ghostwritten blog post shows financial planners the basics of digital marketing planning. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

The Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Your Business

Crowdfunding combines crowdsourcing and microfinancing. It does that by allowing individuals to invest small amounts in businesses that interest them. Sometimes, funders may outright donate money to your business. In others, they expect something in return, like equity, loan repayment, products or services. It is a way a small business owner can finance a new or existing enterprise without going to the bank. Here's how to find the best crowdfunding sites for your enterprise.

Perfecting Your Client Service Model

The client’s experience is more important than ever. It’s vital during times of disruption to retain clients, and it’s imperative for the future of your business as technology gives firms fresh capacity to engage and delight clients. Research by eMoney isolated a group of firms that offered exceptional client experiences and found that they saw impressive results over the past five years. Learn more about how perfecting their client services model leads to this outcome. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

The Elements of Exceptional Client Service

Research from Cerulli shows client satisfaction is higher than ever—80 percent of investors are satisfied with their current advisor, while only one percent are dissatisfied. Yet, the exceptional client service bar is getting raised continually for financial professionals. Investors are pursing personalized advice more regularly since the pandemic began, and desire honesty and dependability from financial planners. Here's what clients expect from financial planners now. [This is a ghostwritten blog post.]
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Credit Union Marketing & Operations

(Each case study opens as a PDF document.)

Case Study: A New Approach To Pay Scales At Member One FCU

This Virginia credit union changed its mortgage lending paradigm to accommodate members’ availability and interests. By changing the pay structure for its mortgage loan officers, the credit union substantially increased both personal income opportunities for their mortgage lenders and revenue for the credit union. Member satisfaction for their mortgage loan clients is at an all-time high, and those members maintain at least four personal finance products with the credit union.

Case Study: ACH Data Means More Lending for a NY Credit Union

What happens when a small NY credit union uses its own ACH data and a small marketing budget to create an auto loan recapture promotion for its members? Phenomenal results happen, including $2.2 million in auto loan business in seven months, up to a 22:1 ROI for each marketing dollar and a jump in signature loan, HELOC, and new credit card account business. Read my case study and learn how, occasionally, marketing can produce magic (although planning took three years).

Case Study: X Marks The Spot: A Texas credit union’s marketing campaign for Gen X women speaks directly to the family CFO

This case study I pitched, developed, sourced and wrote to show that Gen X, now the wealthiest generation and 81+ million members strong, is a market worth targeting for credit unions. It overviews a profitable marketing campaign launched by this Fort Worth, TX credit union and provides a solid justification for why and how other credit unions should plan and launch similar campaigns targeting this generation which influences the two generations who precede it and the two who follow.

Employee Experience & Organizational Equity

Employee Stories: Leadership Training With a Dual Approach

It's well established that corporate America, including the financial services industry, lacks diversity in management. People of Color get hired less frequently, experience lower promotion rates and voluntarily leave at higher rates in most financial institutions. And, when organizations engage in diversity initiatives, they often focus on “fixing People of Color” as if they are the primary problem. The Hartford has long had a distinct culture that supports employees at all levels. Here's how their EMPOWER program helps. [Bylined blog post.]

A Diverse Workforce Demands An Inclusive Workplace Culture

This is a ghostwritten blog post I pitched, researched, developed and write for an agency client. While, as is their prerogative, they revised the introductory paragraph and some sources and statistics to suit their unique needs, they maintained the structure and keys to diversity success. Since equity-focused employee messaging is one of my core offerings, this was a pleasure to write. (The original version is available for review upon request.)

Is Your Diversity and Inclusion Program Age-Appropriate?

This ghostwritten piece is one I successfully pitched to an agency client based on my subject matter expertise and graduate educational background in corporate communications and cultural transformation. I then researched, developed and wrote the content to fit the client's brand and content strategy. Because equity-focused messaging is now a core offering, I am pleased to have written this. [Ghostwritten blog post.]