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Millennial Balance Sheet

Practical Financial Advice for Young Professionals

Month

April 2017

Playoff Intrigue

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The NBA playoff are still in the first rounds of basketball but already fans have witnessed some spectacular games and amazing talent. The usual all-stars leading their teams into the final seconds of games and young inexperienced players stepping up to hit big shots when called upon.

The first team, you want to count out of the playoffs is the Utah Jazz. To say that they are a good team with heart that deserves to be in the playoffs is an understatement. They have stood face to face with the flashy and high profile L.A. Clippers throughout their first-round matchup. Yes, one of the three Clippers stars went out with an injury but let me reiterated they have two other huge stars to lead the team. The Jazz meanwhile have been led by their low key all-star Gordon Hayward who recently went out of the last game with food poisoning. The Jazz stayed tough and powered past the Clippers.

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When you hear Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge, you normally already want to count out the team they are playing minus a few exceptions. The Memphis Grizzlies however, have been playing with the grit they have for years but now also with a renewed focus. Seeing Randolf go to the bench and out of the starting lineup seemed crazy but the plan has worked out for the team. Mike Conley has lead the team with his clutch shooting and Marc Gasol seems to have polished both his inside and outside games into another dimension. With this series also tied 2-2, it will be a fight to the finish with amazing basketball yet to be seen.

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There have been other story-lines and amazing plays that have grabbed the NBA fan’s attention. The two finalist MVP candidates going full throttle to push their teams into the next round. Westbrook still managing triple doubles as his team slowly has fallen to 3-1 in the series. Atlanta could make an interesting match-up in the second round of the playoffs if they can push aside the Washington Wizards led by John Wall.

Leaving out the top seeds from the east and west isn’t a slight to them. They are expected to sweep their first-round opponents with all the money they spend to bring in the players that should push them to a championship. As the playoffs progress we will witness some very hard fought battles indeed.

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Stock Market Rife with Opportunities

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With the mountains of news stories piling up about President Donald Trump in our media, young people are missing out on huge opportunities to make some extra cash. The President just recently touted the enormous rise in the stock market that has reached all-time highs since he took office. One might see this and think that the easy money has already been made. The truth is however, that there are always different industry sectors making money at various points of time, both good and bad.

A little common sense and homework can propel even the most in-debt college student into a relaxed individual with extra cash in his or her pocket. The problem is getting their focus past their social media infatuation and excuses for not taking the time to invest. Reliance on social media is not always a negative however, if one stops to think about the future of the company they spend so much with and money on, they may have a company to consider investing in.

Many social media companies right now are going public and this sets the public up with an opportunity to buy a company’s shares as it starts its journey as a publicly traded stock. The issue is taking time to research the companies that are set up to conquer their industry and competitors. Take Facebook for example, early investors made a lot of money buying in early because they were sure that it would grow into a powerful tech company. Go Pro on the other hand was a hot commodity for one Christmas season and has seemed to slow down because they have no other direction to go but selling fast action cameras.

Being knowledgeable in national and world news only helps you make more decisive buys in the stock market. With the President and congress ready to push over 1 trillion dollars into infrastructure, a smart move would be considering cement and steel companies poised to get large government contracts to rebuild our roads and bridges.

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The Federal Reserve is also pushing interest rates up little by little. When this happens, a smart investor looks for who stands to benefit from these moves… THE BANKS!!! Put a little of your savings in a large bank that will profit from rising interest rates.

The main takeaway is to always be aware of what is going on so you can make your move and make money off it. No one likes to pay more money per gallon of gas at the pump, but investors in oil smile as prices go up because the companies become more profitable and the stick price rises!

HCC’s “Bridge” Project Informs and Unifies Students

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Hillsborough Community College held an Immigration event called The Bridge Project, that started with an interactive workshop and concluded with a professional panel of local and national experts talking openly about immigration. The event was put together by the Community Based Activism group at HCC, and it focused on the national discussion surrounding our immigration system. An emphasis on education was also stressed by the panelists at the event on the Dale Mabry Campus.

Beginning in a classroom, the event had tables set up with a different topic written on large pieces of paper. Colored pencils were also available to illustrated the discussions undertaken while speaking about each subject. At each table was a person available to discuss the issue based on their own personal experiences and knowledge. Students and faculty spent 30 minutes asking questions and discussing the issues that command a large majority of the news on television. The issues discussed throughout the room ranged from the labeling of an immigrant that’s legal versus one that is illegal. Data, statistics, criminal activity and deportation were all popular discussion topics being addressed as well.

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HCC student Bryan Lopez sat at a table and explained the process immigrants go through to become American citizens. “The first step is to get a work permit which is renewed every year,” he explained. “There isn’t much that comes with that status besides being able to get a driver’s license and you receive very little government assistance.” The next step is to apply for a green card and then the work permit becomes void. At this point the immigrant is considered a resident of the U.S. and can receive some assistance. After 5 years of having the green card and living and working, the resident can then file to become an American citizen.

After, the attendees numbering at over 40 people, filtered into the auditorium to listen to a panel discussing these issues in a more in depth discussion. The experts consisted of New York lawyer Cesar Vargas, political strategist/activist Yesenia Mata, UT Immigration professor Michael Coon, local School Board Chair Susan Valdez, bipartisan immigration activist Samuel Aguilar, and USF Graduate Director Heide Castaneda.

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Misconceptions about immigration were a focal point during the question and answer session with the panelists. Professor Coon addressed the delusion of undocumented immigrants are a burden to the economy. He addressed it by sharing how these workers that pay taxes will never see a social security check but they have contributed 7-12 billion into that pool. Also, when they spend it generates more jobs and they also contribute by paying sales tax. The more living here, the more electricity and household goods are bought he added.

Valdez stressed some important points to the audience of young students. She said that, “To break cycles you need to have courageous leaders in power.” “Know who you are voting for and where they stand.” She explained that to implement change students need to reach out to their elected officials to make change happen.

With misinformation abound in our society, it is important to study the facts and have an open mind when discussion divisive issues. The event ended with all attendees having a broader view of just how complex and outdated our current immigration system is.

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Tampa Food-worker Protest Huge Success

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“Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Exploitation’s got to go!” was chanted by protesters on the sidewalk in front of Publix supermarket on Azeele St. in Tampa Florida. Over 250 demonstrators showed up to voice their anger towards the two large corporations of Publix and Wendy’s on Wednesday March 29th. The “Return to Human Rights Tour” event was the culmination of a 12-city expedition which began in Ohio and generated a great amount of support and awareness to the living conditions of our farm workers.

The sun was still beaming down at 5:00 p.m. as activists showed up and began an hour of marching in front of the Publix. After an hour, the group walked to the nearest Wendy’s on Kennedy Ave. to protest the organization that claims it doesn’t make financial sense to spend an extra penny on workers but instead buys multi-billion dollar ads during the super bowl.

Publix and Wendy’s are the last two major companies remaining that haven’t signed the fair food pledge to pay more for their produce. The pledge pushes for equality and demands that workers who pick our food in fields should be treated with dignity and paid fairly for their sweat and labor. In the past, workers would get paid way below to poverty line for the long hours and labor they put forth to pick our produce. These workers have lived in unfathomable conditions where no running water was present and over 10 people stayed in smaller trailers.

The drums, loudspeakers and voices of the hundreds drew the attention of commuters on their way home from work. Many honked in support and rolled down their windows to express their agreement for the actions being taken. The large, colorful, and visible signs held by most of the protesters showed just how much equality meant to them. Some signs read “stop farm-worker exploitation” while others read, “fair food now, respect, we want justice, and 1 penny more.”

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“There has always been a place for students to act in solidarity with these farm-workers,” explained Alex Schelle, a student of New College in Florida located in Sarasota Florida. “Students are so important to these causes because they help to apply the pressure to these companies.” Besides a multitude of farm-workers and students, there was also a large presence of religious communities that also came to lend a helping hand and support.

Two organizations devoted to the Florida tomato worker’s human rights and freedoms are the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s and the Fair Food Program. The coalition has been in place for over 2 decades and has made huge strides in combating human rights abuses right here in Florida.

Local supporter and Tampa native Sydney Eastman joined this cause after already being involved in women’s march rallies. She said, “The message really spoke to her and I was happy to show support to a group that liberated 1,200 farmworkers from actual slavery. This movement and women’s rights are both looking for the same things,” she added.

The protest brought to light the hypocrisy of large corporations who call every move business sense but then turn around and waste millions of dollars. The gathering of a diverse group of people showed that equality is still a subject that needs much attention in our society but also shows the power humans have when they stand together for just causes.

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Laughs and Diversity key to HCC Tennis Team

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The HCC tennis team is an enjoyable and diverse group of women who know how to practice hard, play hard, and have fun. College tennis teams usually fall under the radar when students think about what campus events to attend and the teams support. A bright sunny day filled with a few hours of watching young students hustling across the court to beat their opponent is truly a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

The first thing fans will notice when attending a Hawks tennis match is the diversity of the HCC team. It is made up of seven girls who’s ages range from around 18-21 years old. There is no Tampa or Florida natives on the team and only two of the women were raised in the United States. The other five hail from many other parts of the world, including Argentina, Israel, Hong Kong, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom.

Head Coach Jennifer Gelhaus leads a talented roster of seven students who make her job entertaining and enjoyable. She comes from Cincinnati and this is her first year leading the Hawks and she says next year the recruits will be all international. Gelhaus relayed that it is a pleasure to work with students worldwide because, “I get to see the different styles of play and different forms of work ethic.” “HCC tennis has a great international program and the players come in with a hunger to win and a drive to succeed.”

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The cohesiveness of the team is noticed right away and the chemistry seems to have bonded the students into lifelong friends. When asked about the different players on the team, Jamie Young from Colorado relayed, “I love this team because everyone brings a different style of tennis to learn and we all have different senses of humor.” Ceire Mullins, from the UK, chimed in smiling and said, “We all get along and go shopping and play beach tennis together.” “Our team loves High School Musical,” she added. Studying together and assisting each other with homework is also something great that they all focus on.

Samantha, an HCC student raised in Hong Kong and tennis teammate said that she began to play at the age of four and that her mother was her first coach. “Our team is big on cheering each other on,” Samantha said referring to the comradery of the team. “It is a good experience because you learn about other cultures and make friends from all corners of the world that you will have for life.”

The competitions are selected by the coaches before the match and the day begins with doubles matches and then the teams breaking down for one on one match-ups. It is apparent that the players must regulate themselves on the court as there is only one umpire. Samantha explained, “Florida has great weather so all the pros come here to play and it gets very competitive.”

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The takeaway from attending an HCC tennis match is that these young players do not have many of their peers coming out to their matches to support them. They do a great job of motivating each other on the court but they lack a group of fans cheering on their serves and backhands.

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