Retirement for the Millenial Generation

Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015I am a millennial, I was born between 1980-2000, I am part of the last generation of the 20th century, and don’t really remember a time without the internet. After graduating college, I quickly was introduced to an 8-5 job providing me with benefits. As a millennial, I am part of a generation who lacks financial independence, and literacy.  One of the areas I lacked knowledge about prior to working for a financial company was retirement planning. In a recent article written by Roy Maurer, he discussed the importance of teaching millennials worldwide about planning for retirement.  A research study done by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with asset management company Aegon, found that 59% of workers between the ages of 20 and 29  located in 12 North American, European, and Asian countries are expecting to be worse off  financially in their retirement than their parents’ generation. Across the board employers are seeing millennials who desire to save money and are committed to save for a retirement, but are finding that millennials have a lack of education in finance. A solution stated by the report included “improving young employee’s financial literacy about retirement planning and create easier access to professional financial advice.” As one of Echelon Group’s newest employees, fresh out of college, working as a Social Media Consultant, I have benefited from working in a financial atmosphere. Prior to working with Echelon Group, I had little knowledge on what a 401(k) was and how a millennial, like me, would obtain one. Retirement was not something that had ever crossed my mind; it was focused more on graduating college and finding a suitable job/career to provide for myself now. “For twentysomethings, retirement is decades away,” Cathleen Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, pointed out. “However, by making saving a priority today, their long-term savings horizon will help their savings grow with the compounding of investments over time. Getting into the habit of saving is not easy at any age, but the longer one waits, the harder it will be, especially with the need to make up for lost time.” Echelon Group encourages employers to continuously educate their employees on their retirement plans. It’s better to save now, than wait until it’s too late. “Twentysomethings have the ability to create their retirement destinies-They just need the opportunity and know-how to get started down the right path (Cathleen Collinson).”

This blog was also featured on www.echelongroup.com

Hermana Peacock: New York, New York South Mission

Hermana Peacock 2I have often found myself looking through Hermana Peacock’s blogs and left being inspired. Today on Facebook I saw this post (It’s at the bottom, click on it to make it larger or here to see). I worked with this beautiful sister prior to her mission at EFY and I know she has a strong testimony and is doing great missionary work. Her idea is brilliant. I believe that using the internet to share the gospel is our greatest gift in spreading the gospel. Being part of the pilot blogging mission back in 2011, I have developed a passion for missionary bloggers and using the internet for good. It was my most successful area.I was able to express myself in ways I couldn’t in a one on one interaction. In Hermana Peacock’s plea she asks you to share your stories with her. Your pain, struggles, happiness, and thoughts on the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. Sharing our complete conversion story can have an impact on someone’s life. Many times we think we are alone, or that we are going through something no one would understand. Like me I don’t want the person to sit there and tell me it’s easy or I am making it a big deal. I like to look and see how people came to their decision and solved there problems. Reading it on a blog is the perfect way. I know many of my readers and Facebook friends have stories. I have had deep conversations with many of you and found that your testimony did not come easy, and that keeping it is not a walk in the park. In that aspect you are not alone, let it help someone. Share your testimony.Hermana Peacock

Duck Dynasty: Drawing the Line

Phil RobertsonI have always been a huge Duck Dynasty fan, there is no denying this fact. News about Phil Robertson’s suspension from the A&E network has flooded new’s feeds across the world. At first I was impressed by Phil because he stood up for what he believed in, which is not always an easy task no matter the belief. As I delved deeper into the GQ article (which is not super appropriate) I was shocked at his delivery of his sentiments rather than his beliefs. His beliefs are similar to mine, I am a Christian, I am a Mormon, I am a straight American girl, I have had many friends who are gay, and have studied the culture at Utah State University while receiving my Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate. I  personally believe that being homosexual was not what God intended our purpose to be, but He sent us to earth to procreate, to multiply and replenish the earth. Physically, a homosexual couple can not do that in God’s natural way. I understand that everyone has their beliefs on this subject and I want you to know I respect that. I think the way Phil expressed his views about the difference in the “anus” and the “vagina” was not done in the most appealing or appropriate way. His statements about gays has created havoc in the cyber world that has created more animosity in our world. This sparked something in my mind that I have been fighting with for months. Homosexuality is not only about the physical intimacy, it is about the emotional connection. When you make a blanket statement like that it infers that it’s the only part of a homosexual relationship, from a LGBT standpoint that can come off demeaning… Like any heterosexual relationship there are many levels. With that in mind it has been hard for me to draw the line.

Learning to draw the line. It is hard to live in a torn world, one who wants to accept gay people and the now cultural norm and ones who do not  support it at all because of their respective beliefs and values that they are entitled to. It’s true that I do not believe in supporting gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love, respect and appreciate those who identify that way. Phil Robertson said “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.” His words couldn’t ring clearer, because I do care about everyone. So when is it okay to draw the line? In our society I think everyone should respect each other and treat each other with a genuine kindness, just like our Savior Jesus Christ would and our Father in Heaven. Just because you do this does not mean you support their lifestyle choices. According to my religious beliefs it is not in line with God’s plan to be homosexual, however that is not for me to judge, it is for God to judge and he is a kind and all knowing God. I have realized that my role in all of this controversy is to hold onto my testimony of what I believe, to not let it falter at the ways of the world, and to constantly strengthen it.

Questions on Gays in the Mormon church check the website out

Questions about the Mormon Church in General check this website out

The Big {24}

ClottThis week I reached the big {24}. I absolutely loved being 23, there were so many great things about it. I graduated college, landed a good job, and bought a big flat screen television…How could life get any better? Well by turning 24 of course. This year everyone and I mean EVERYONE was confused about what age I was turning…25… I still have one whole year until I reach a quarter of a century. All I can say is that it was an “adult” birthday. I woke up at 7 am and got ready for work. I went worked the day away while Facebook blew up my phone. I used some of my PTO to get off a little early and meet my family and boyfriend for dinner at the usual place, Kyoto’s Japanese Steak House. I love it because they cook the food in front of you, it is literally a built in party with the cook shouting “Yum, Yum, Yum” over and over again. They light up a onion tree and sing you Happy Birthday, I even got wear a lei. After this #clott went to my house to watch the Duck Dynasty Christmas Special while the rest when to a piano recital for my niece and nephews. After that it was time for my parents to meet Scott’s parents. It was fun to have them join us for cake on my favorite day of the year (self absorbed, I already know). I received a REMOTE STARTER for my car, which to others may not seem exciting, but for a 8-5 working girl who doesn’t have a garage spot, it is heaven sent. Julie (Scott’s Mom) gave me a beautiful hand knit scarf and some of my favorite GREEN GODDESS dressing. My Sister and her family gave me a cornucopia of Burts Bee’s Chapsticks that were much needed, and she even let the kids stay up late! Scott gave me a thoughtful gift, a few months ago he went and bought him some “house shoes,” you know the shoes you only wear around the house. Since then he has only worn those shoes inside and will even change them for when he walks me to the car. It is something that we tease House Shoeseach other about. So for my birthday he got me my own HOUSE SHOES. Mine are much cuter than his, and definitely more comfortable. I guess I can’t make fun of him any more. When the parents of a couple meet for the first time it can be potentially awkward. My reference goes back to Father of the Bride when George decides to go through their bathroom and ends up throwing the other dad’s checkbook in the water. With my media mentality I was hopping for something similar.  Instead I think my dad scared them a little when he took them to the basement to show them the array of dead stuffed animals that lace our walls, followed by his extensive gun collection. After a swapping of stories from both moms and dads it was time to end the party. It was fun to have everyone meet and share my birthday with people I care about. So here is to being 24, I don’t know what will happen in the next year but I know it will be exciting!

Your Kindness Will Never Be Forgotten

life of a clare bear kindnessI just love acts of kindness. The thing about them is that you never know the impact they will have in the moment, and the lasting effects a random good deed can have on someone’s life. Today, while in church I was able to hear about the “behind the scenes” of an act of kindness that was shed upon me many years ago. I was young and I was often lonely as I attended young women’s. I was the only one my age and felt that I didn’t fit in with the other girls. Most of it was probably brought upon myself through my own insecurities, it was something I struggled with. There was one particular year that things were rough and church was not necessarily my safe haven. My loneliness was at an all time high and  I distinctly remember thinking that I was not wanted. It was towards Christmas that one of the younger girls had sent me a gift. It was a hand knitted scarf and hat it was blue and yellow. I was shocked that she had thought of me and was pleased to know that I was noticed in Young Women’s by another girl. I knew at the time that she was having health issues, but I truly never knew the extent that she was suffering. All I knew at that point was that she was kind, and I now had a friend. Today she taught the relief society lesson. She shared her own story of loneliness. Her health was not good and she was living in a hospital. She explained how she didn’t have much there and it was far from home with no departure date in sight. Christmas was coming up and she wanted nothing to do with it, she wanted to ignore it. She had expressed to her family that she didn’t want to see them for Christmas and that they should do their normal traditions here in Boise. Her family couldn’t let that happen, they surprised her and spent the holiday in the hospital room with her. It was the hardest Christmas for her but she described it as one of the most spiritual and humbling Christmas holidays. Her family read the bible together and shared stories. As I listened and felt her pain today I realized I had no idea how much she was really going through. Even in her deepest  and darkest times in her life she took the time to be kind, it takes a very special person to do that. I was so humbled  to hear her speak and share her story.  She has always been a great example to me, and will always have a special place in my heart. If you ask me, it was a the perfect reminder of what this season is really about! At the end of her testimony, a girl with Down Syndrome raised her hand to comment. She said “I need to hug you,” and she went to the front of the classroom she gave our teacher a big hug. It’s was the perfect end to a lesson and something that strengthened my belief of being kind.

AUTHOR-ity

Nathan BarryA while back my boss, Don Reiman, attended an event that was featured local authors in Boise. Don is currently putting the finishing touches on his own book, RESET, and will be debuting it in early 2014. While at this conference he purchased me a book, Authority, written by Nathan Barry. This book is a step-by-step guide to publishing your first book independently. I am a Social Media Consultant and have had little experience with the book writing process… I have blogged, done press releases and some articles, but after reading Authority I learned that they overlap, and quite well. I sat down and read his entire book today, and was impressed by his ability to teach. There have been many times in the past few years where I have sat down to write a book. I even got up to 30 pages in my word document, but fizzled out because of work, and the Walking Dead. What this book did for me was inspire me, it helped me understand that anyone could write a book. It is just the matter of sitting down to do it. This book has some valuable websites in it that I had never heard of. I’ve already contacted my brother in hopes of helping him publish his book. What most people think is that you HAVE to have a HARD copy of the book, but it was apparent in this book and through Nathans experiences that even e-books make money. I have heard stigma’s about self publishing and e-books. However my perception was changed and my mind is much more open to the idea of self publishing on the internet. Now, I am not yet prepared to publish my own book, I would say I have a head start and will be there in the near future. However, I did find Authority to contain information to make me a positive asset to Don and his publishing team as we enter the final stages of his book. I was able to take notes, and change our plans to better fit Don’s book launch. It was well written and it was also a quick read. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for guidance in the publishing world!

The Christmas Ornament

The Christmas OrnamentIt is amazing what kids can teach you. I don’t have my own kids, and at this point I am okay with it, but I do live with three. I can’t tell you how excited I get when it is five o’clock and I get to go home. Most nights Madison, Hayes, and Pierce are waiting at the door for me, just to welcome me home. They tell me all about their day’s and what the learned at school. Pierce usually goes “Care Care” and puts his arms up. I pick him up and do a tight squeeze leaving myself completely soaked from his excessive amounts of drool. These are just things I look forward to. The other day I came home from work and Boise had just had it’s first real snowfall of the year. The sidewalks were barely coated, but the kids suited up to go try out their little shovels. I was not envious, I went straight for the electronic fire, and sat and waited from them to come back. Let’s be honest, I don’t love the cold. They came in and were so excited, they had informed me that they had come up with a plan to make money. Like any child, I thought wow these kids are getting to business early in life, they want the finer things in life is what I thought. After hiding in their room for 20 minutes they came out with a cardboard sign that said, “Will shovel side walks for 2$.” It was not very legible, and I quickly thought judgmental thoughts of their feeble attempts to make money in a neighborhood like mine. It then occurred to me to ask what they were earning money for. They both replied with the most humbling answer. They explained to me that they wanted to earn enough money to buy their baby brother Pierce (about 1) a Christmas Ornament for the tree. They each had one, but he didn’t. They explained to me that they didn’t want him to feel left out on Christmas morning. I can guarantee you Pierce would not know if there was an object on the tree that was solely for him, he will be too consumed by the wrapping paper, but that’s not the point. Madison and Hayes showed me that they understood the true meaning of Christmas. For that short amount of time they put all of the Lego’s and Barbies they wanted out of their minds and thought of someone else. They thought about another person, it wasn’t because they felt obligated but because they didn’t want him to feel left out, they did it out of kindness. That is the true Spirit of Christ.

On The Outside Looking Indian

From the outside looking IndianI recently set a goal to become a reader. I am continuously surprised by how much I am enjoying my adventures through the literary worlds. I just finished another book! I love when you come to the last chapter and you are reading the last few words the author has for you, and then you see “The End.” It is a bittersweet moment. I am sad if I liked the book and yearn for more, but part of me is excited to start another one. If you ask me it’s a win-win situation. The book I read was titled From The Outside Looking Indian written by Rupinder Gill. I was mostly intrigued by this book because I was so obsessed with Mindy Kaling, and her newest book. This book inspired me. Rupinder told of her childhood and how she immigrated from India with her family to start a new life in Canada. She grew up in a split world. She wanted to experience the “normal” teenage things that she saw throughout her television viewing career, but her parents kept to their traditional values. Rupinder felt as if she had missed out on her childhood. She had never learned to swim, she hadn’t attended a sleep over or summer camp, owned a dog, or made it to Disney World (I haven’t done all of those things and I turned out fine). In this book she decided to go for it, as my generation would refer to it “YOLO.” She seeks out the adventures she never was allowed to have. As I read about her leaving her comfort zone and at her age (like 30), I realized I could do that to. I am not a kid anymore. I work 8-5, eat, sleep, and then go to work again. Sometimes it becomes a monotonous routine and I feel like I am missing out. I am going to live a “Rupinder” year, I want to pick something I have always wanted to do or become proficient and I am going to conquer it.  I haven’t decided on what just yet, but this book just gave me the feeling of inspiration to do more. Rupinder’s book was high on my list as well, and I would recommend it because it was a clean and an appropriate book. I did not have to skip pages or feel uncomfortable. It was an easy book to read, I would even say teens could read the book and find it interesting. Overall, this was another book that inspired to me to continue reading, it captured a little piece of Clare, and I would definitely recommend it especially as the New Year is upon us.

Buy the book HERE.

Age Means Nothing, You Are Still Loved!

Clare and Great Grandma LouiseYesterday, I was sitting in the doctor’s office for yet another appointment…(I am so good at going to the doctor, it’s ridiculous). One of my favorite things to do while patiently waiting is to “overhear” conversations, I know it’s rude, but I am a people person! Yesterday was one of my favorite visits, not procedurally speaking of course. When I got to the office I had realized that they did not actually schedule my appointment. It’s rough now that I have a 8-5 job to fit things in, and so after some begging and pleading they said if I waited 30 minutes they could see me. I sat down on the double wide couch and begin to read my book. The book I am reading is a great read and I thought it would keep my attention. Boy was I wrong, I had found someone who was much more interesting. I didn’t get his name, but the things he said, I will never forget. From what I over heard he was 92 (yes I had to do some math on my iPhone), he was there Grandma and Grandpa Pwaiting for the only thing he said he was still living for, his wife. He had his grandson (I think) with him, and he just kept telling stories. They were not quiet ones, but loud and boisterous ones like good grandpas tell. Eventually he noticed I was listening, usually I hide it, but I was too intrigued. I found out that he too had graduated from Utah State University, he would have gone to school with my great grandmother Louise. After that he attend University of Idaho and settled in Boise teaching as an Economics professor at Boise State. It was fun to hear about how he wanted to own the family farm but had lost it to his younger brother. He told a story about the night he almost lost his wife during her Collegesfirst heart attack. He would look at the clock and say to his grandson “Damn, you’re still listening to me?” Honestly I couldn’t stop listening. I have always had a fondness senior citizens, many of my close friends are over 55, many find this odd, but what I want to tell those people are: You are missing out. My new found friend said something that bothered me yesterday. He was talking about what to do with his remains when he passed away. After his morbid talk of his afterlife, he said something that broke my heart. He said, “Once we hit 75, they should just take us and let us go if you know what I mean, no one needs us” He did clarify on methods, but I Great Grandma Louisewon’t go there. This was the second time I had heard this in one week from an elderly person. It made me sad. After he said this, I shouted from across the room, NO WE NEED YOU! That’s when I blew my cover and he realized he had an audience. He replied with, “What does a young girl like you know, and why would you care?” As I pondered that question, I realized there might be many senior citizens thinking that exact same thing. I have to tell you something important, we need you. Often we look past you, sometimes you can’t hear us, and sometimes you are grumpy, don’t worry I know tons of teenagers who fit that description! You are who passes down wisdom, our history, and have a pure love. You are at a point in your life where you have seen just about everything, there are some of us who want to hear about it and learn from you. If you are a senior citizen, know that even if you have become “more work” with your health it is an opportunity for the younger generation to do service and have the opportunity to learn from you. If you are widowed and lonely, know there are still people on this earth you can have an impression on. You are not useless, you are needed. I can’t express my gratitude to my senior couples, friends, and family who have taught me so much!

Meeting Everlee

Meeting Everlee, the Best aunt in all the lands Clare VaterlausOver this past month everyone has shared what they were thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving. I am not late doing this, even though November is over, I am still thankful. For Thanksgiving this year we did our usual thing, we drove to Utah to spend it with my grandparents, the Quayles. I have always loved this tradition, especially now that I don’t live there 24/7. I got to ride down in the big truck, before we left I was so excited with the idea I would have the entire back seat to myself to lay down and sleep. As 1 of 6 it is something you always look forward to. Well that was presumptuous of me. I thought the whole reason of having a truck was so you could throw things in the back. Apparently not, the extended families Christmas gifts took up pretty much the whole back seat and I was left to a little corner of the truck, #firstworldproblems. I felt the excitement creep into my body as we got close, I was excited to see my siblings, grandparents, aunt’s, uncles, cousins, and especially my niece. I am a family junkie, I enjoy being with them at all times, in all places, and in all things (totally copied the yw theme there). The days were filled with talking, shopping, eating, movies, and even some crafting. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I was happy to be there. My brother Alex and his wife Justene, were not able to make it to the big dinner, and so I awaited their arrival on Sunday morning. I wanted to be the first one to hold this brand new baby, selfish? Yes it was, but look at her, she is adorable! I had texted my brother and he said he was close, I had purposely left my aunts house quietly so I could reach my grandmothers house with out any side kicks who could steal the baby from me. As they pulled up in their car, I saw from my peripheral view my mom running towards my grandmothers house with one thing in mind…the baby. Now, I learned my lesson after the last nephew (whole other story), that grandmas will always hold the baby before a measly aunt or uncle gets the opportunity. But this time, she had already held her, I was one of the last siblings to meet her. I tried to lock my mom out of the house, but after some laughing she got in. Alex and Justene followed, with EVERLEE. She was here, it was real. I got to hold her. I had beat my mom. It was such an incredible feeling to hold something so little, and precious. It reminded me of how powerful God is and what he can do. He has the ability to do all things, including giving us these little humans that make us so happy. I am thankful for that. Three minutes into holding her, none other than my mother, came and stole the baby right from me. My mom kept saying how Everlee just needed a hug from her grandma… The rest of the morning we took turns holding her. I even was brave enough to change her diaper, which turned into a fiasco. After cleaning her up, she peed everywhere (except for on me) and ended up in a whole new outfit. I am impressed by you mothers, I was tired after that, and thoroughly disgusted from the baby bodily functions. We did the wave and they were off. At this point all I had on my mind was, finally the back seat to myself…Once again I was wrong, it was full of those Black Friday Deals, but at least I got to meet my newest niece, Everlee 🙂