Columns/Opinions

Thu
02
Jul

Work to achieve your financial independence

   In recent months, we’ve all felt the loss of some type of freedom, such as being able to travel or engage in social gatherings.
   Still, as we prepare to observe Independence Day, we appreciate the liberties we still have in this country.
   And making the right moves may also help you achieve your financial independence.
   For starters, try to build an emergency fund containing up to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account.
   Also, contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) and IRA.  
   And you can also protect your financial independence by getting some type of long-term care insurance.
   Without this coverage, you could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if you ever need an extended stay in a nursing home or some home health care services.
   Finally, when you retire, you need to carefully manage your withdrawals from your retirement accounts.

Thu
02
Jul

"We are never alone, we can walk with Jesus every step of the way" by: Betsy Monico

   The past few weeks our house has been filled with kids and it is a mess! I recalled an earlier column that fits us tonight perfectly. 
   The guests who frequent our house these days will laugh at this statement, might fall in the floor, or flat out call me a liar! 
   I was once an obsessive housekeeper. When we lived in Dallas, Thursday meant cleaning day. 
   Our house looked spotless at all times! 
   Now, the closets were stuffed full and cabinets were never in excellent order, but everything looked fabulous!
   I must confess my obsession caused my first motherhood fail. My oldest rolled out of a chair when she was only a month old; when I ran to the back of the house to get my “Swifter” mop. 
   Oh, I cried and cried! I questioned my ability to parent; however, parenting was not the real issue. The real problem stemmed from my tidy house obsession.
   When we moved to the country, I miraculously kept up the pace! 

Thu
02
Jul

"Jesus’ empty tomb is an eternal message that our sin is gone" by: Caleb Gibson

   Of all the holy days under the old covenant, Yom Kippur is one of the most important. 
   What is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement? 
   It begins at 6 p.m. on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish Calendar. 
   Aaron takes a bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. 
   It was a 24-hour period of prayer and fasting. It is also called Yom Kippur.  
   Yom in Hebrew means day. 
   Kippur means to cover. 
   Yom Kippur means to the day to cover your sins. 
   Of all the feasts, this one is the holiest. 
   The Jews celebrate it now as a time of fasting and praying. They do not have a temple; they do not sacrifice animals. 
   This is because their temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.
   Fasting has an important place in our life today. 
   We should not let people know that we are fasting, other than a close friend or family member. 

Thu
02
Jul

"Reel Reviews: ‘My Spy’ full of laughs, highlights Bautista’s comedic skills" by: Jessica Shepard

   The second wave of COVID-19 is still holding a majority of box offices hostage due to social-distancing requirements and Hollywood’s stranglehold on delaying blockbuster movie hopefuls.
   Cue awesome streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix – just to name a few.
   These services are getting their hands on a handful of new movies and making it easier to see something fresh from the comfort of your couch.
   Now, the latest movie that I’ve seen this way is “My Spy,’ which was scheduled for release back on April 8.
   We all know that it didn’t turn out that way!
   The film is reminiscent of other comedies pitting overly muscled and ill-prepared (and often male) main characters against a child or group of children.
   I grew up watching such films like Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop” (1990) and Vin Diesel in “The Pacifier” (2005).

Thu
25
Jun

"COVID panic isn’t needed, neither is downplaying disease " by: Mike Reddell

   Part of our job at the Sentinel is monitoring other mediums – mostly to ensure we don’t miss something important.
   There are many jabs at the news media of which I take pride in belonging.
   I’m sure this is inadvertent, but did you know the news media is being blamed for the panic about the pandemic?
   We, of course, share that distinction with the Democratic Party, but the mainstream news media is mostly responsible for inducing the false panic I’m told.
   Maybe the spiking positive cases of COVID-19 in this country, but the Democrats can’t possibly take credit for the rising COVID cases in several other nations.
   But many people can rightfully claim the accolades that surely are coming their way for claiming the pandemic is overblown, the panic is media-stimulated, COVID-19 is more like the common flu or cold and the percentage of actual cases compared to the populations of Matagorda County or the United States is miniscule.

Thu
25
Jun

"Excitement for Keaton’s return as Batman" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, Monday afternoon, I’m getting these pinged social media announcements about Michael Keaton possibly making a return to the silver screen as the brooding crusader – Batman!
   Now, I’ve been a Keaton fan since the original two Tim Burton-directed films: “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992).
   Well, those as well as a handful of other favorites like “Beetlejuice,” “Mr. Mom,” and “Robocop.”
   But, still, he’s always been my favorite Batman cast to date and no one else captured his brooding vigilante persona better.
   The rest just came off as whiny, rich playboys with drinking problems or daddy issues.
   And I know that’s a controversial opinion in my peer group, but, I stand by my reasoning and favoritism.
   Other portrayals have always been more of a joke than the seriousness that Batman carries.
   And the cowl has been donned by several notable actors: Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck.

Thu
25
Jun

"In times like this, take a profit, pay the tax and be grateful" by: John Sample

.    Almost daily I have a friend ask my opinion of what will happen with the stock market. 
   They are asking if they should sell and get out, as little appears to look positive. 
   You only have to look at the daily briefings about the rise in Covid-19 cases as states reopen. 
   The second wave is predicted to be worse than the first. Why would stocks continue to rise? 
   Doesn’t it make sense to take profits and move to cash? 
   In each and every case, I always advise to take a profit. It never is a real profit until you sell. 
   The other alternative is to wait for the next pullback to get value.
    Another good idea should it happen.
   The real answer is that the market doesn’t pay attention to what happened and is focusing nine months out. 
   The thought being that there will be vaccines that will allow people to return to some sense of normalcy. 

Thu
25
Jun

Ensure you are properly insured

      Despite the recent volatility and uncertainty, one aspect of your financial picture probably hasn’t changed: your need for insurance.
   And since National Insurance Awareness Day is observed on June 28, now is a good time to assess your insurance coverage.
   If you have a house and family, your insurance needs are obvious.
   If something happened to you, could your mortgage payments still be met?
   How about your car payments?
   College for your children?
   You may have a spouse or partner who earns a decent income, but your family could still have big trouble paying its bills if you weren’t around.
   Even if you’re just starting out in life, you can benefit from insurance, especially if you have debts.
   And if you’re retired, you’ll need insurance if your spouse is dependent on you and you haven’t paid off your mortgage.

Thu
25
Jun

"Jesus continues to be the constant in our lives" by: Betsy Monico

   I am on an emotional rollercoaster tonight. 
   My two sons and nephew did not do worth a flip with their lambs in the Freestone County Livestock Show this week. 
   My other adopted son, Tyler did not show this year. 
   I missed him, but was thankful at the close of Wednesday that my disappointment only included three young men and not four. 
   My youngest gave up a few years ago on her showing days. 
   She is an amazing athlete and competes fiercely, but for some reason – her lamb projects sent her to the trash can throwing up. She gracefully opted out two years ago, but my boys kept on. 
   The competition is tough! 
   Our county may be small, but not the quality of animals. 
   At the close of the pig show Friday, I finished up a yard job and headed by to water the lambs. 
   The news I discovered sent me into tears. 

Thu
25
Jun

"‘Buffaloed’ put 1 over on me; worst 3-star movie I’ve seen" by: Jessica Shepard

   I’m pretty sure we’ve reached the pop culture lull between semi-newly released movies and the films that have been out for over six months.
   Still, that isn’t much a personal determent for me.
   After all, I’ll watch any movie that’s rated three stars or higher on Redbox’s website.
   And that’s the thing with “Buffaloed,” it had a solid three stars with several users reviews putting it at 4-5 stars.
   Though the film is marketed as “not rated,” I’d put it in a low-end “R” category due to the amount of cursing and violence in the film.
   The movie clocks in at 95 minutes from start to finish and even then, that seems a little long to get to the point.
   Buffaloed is a comedy-drama film directed by Tanya Wexler from a screenplay by Brian Sacca.
   It stars Zoey Deutch, Judy Greer, Jermaine Fowler, Noah Reid, and Jai Courtney.
   Homegrown hustler Peg Dahl (Deutch) will do anything to escape Buffalo, NY.

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