ESG Portfolios Can Outperform Tradition

When investing, do you consider the company’s impact on the environment, production of harmful products, or questionable business practices?  Many would prefer to support groups with a positive mission but often feel that the returns are greater from so-called, “bad boy” companies.  This may not be true.  Chris Tomlinson for the Houston Chronicle sites financial data from two firms showing that focusing on ESG (environmental, social and governance factors), portfolios can actually outperform those loaded with stocks from corporations known for their cavalier business practices.

Good returns don’t require ‘bad’ investments

When I Grow Up…

Have you ever reached a crossroads and wondered what you should be doing with your life?  Tim Herrera for the New York Times offers these five tips to help you along the path.

–Start by looking backward
–Decide what ‘meaningful’ means to you
–Build a personal “board of directors,” a financial cushion, and take time to reflect
–Find a sponsor, not just a mentor
–Collect experience and be generous

In the article, 5 Tips to Help You Figure Out What to Do With Your Life, Tim delves deeper into each of these categories, defining the roles of a sponsor verses  mentor and gives insight into ways to construct your own group of trusted confidants.  A recommended read for anyone currently pondering their future.

Are You Prepared?

Are you prepared in the event of an emergency?  Many people fail to realize that true readiness takes detailed planning prior to the actual event.  If you had to evacuate, would your valuables be secure?  Or would you have enough water and food to sustain your family for 72 hours?  All these are good questions posed by Ronda Kaysen for the New York Times in her article, Preparing Your Home for a Disaster.  The thought of disaster preparedness can be overwhelming, but if you allow time for the various parts, it becomes a much less daunting task.

Interview Questions

Ever had an interview that felt like an interrogation?  Most managers agree that this time should be a way to learn more about the prospective employee and to offer them a safe space to ask questions about the company.  Often, similar questions are used in this process but they might not always mean what you think.  Rich Bellis for FastCompany, offers his advice for what interviewers  actually hope to hear when they ask these questions.  The Secret Meanings Behind Four Of The Most Common Interview Questions.

Empowered Employees

Looking for ways to inspire and jumpstart your team?  Turns out that micromanaging can actually stall the process and failure to delegate leaves employees feeling powerless.  For more great tips on how to help your employees achieve their fullest and to give you less stress as a manager, check out this article from Forbes Community Voice, 10 Ways You Can Start Empowering Your Employees.

Musicians Filing Taxes

Here in #ATX, the self-proclaimed, “Music Capital of the World,” we play host to all levels of musicians.  This article from Tom Tom magazine offers a great look at best practices for filling taxes as a working musician.   Drummer and owner of Math LLC, a tax preparation service, Emily Kingan, gives detailed information on all things money from handling cash transactions to dealing with a multi-facited career.  Tips from an Accountant: The Best Way for Musicians to Do Their Taxes.  

Real or Fake?

After the Equifax information breach, many of their customers were encouraged to visit a site containing consumer updates and security information.  Instead of creating a page from the Equifax domain, the company spawned a new page, one that was easily copied, leaving their clients yet again at risk.  Nick Sweeting, a software engineer proved this point when he created a clone of their page.  His version was so convincing that a representative of Equifax even tweeted the web address (three separate times) he had created.  Sweeting’s page alerted people that it was a fake since his intent was not to steal information but to spotlight the fact that Equifax had created yet another cyber hazard.

Someone Made a Fake Equifax Site. Then Equifax Linked to It.

Helping Yourself and Others After A Natural Disaster

Last week Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas and Louisiana leaving destruction in its wake.  Now the Atlantic hurricane, Irma is causing great damage to the Leeward Islands with its eye set on Florida.

In the aftermath of a disaster, what are the best ways to help others and if you are affected by the storm, what should you do to expedite recovery?

The Federal Trade Commission offers a good overview of natural disaster best practices along with tips, advice and links to other agencies on their page,  FTC Advice for Helping Hurricane Harvey Victims.

More Women In Tech

Companies often say they desire a more diverse workplace without really understanding how to achieve this goal.   Katherine Zaleski, in Opinions for the New York Times highlights the fact that small changes in the interview process can make a huge difference.  From making sure the panel includes one woman, to perks that are mentioned, such as maternal leave and child care subsidy.

The Maddeningly Simple Way Tech Companies Can Employ More Women


Phone Protection?

There are a multitude of smart phone protection products on the market today.  Deciding exactly what you need can be hard.  The Wirecutter, the product recommendations site owned by The New York Times has narrowed the field with their top choices.  Reality Check: What Does, and Doesn’t, Protect Your Smartphone. Currently debating a screen cover versus a case or possibly a protection plan versus a warranty?  They have research backed answers that may help with your decision.