Year-end: Time for some New Year’s financial resolutions

   Do you make New Year’s resolutions, such as going to the gym more often or learning a new language?
   These are worthy objectives, but this year, why not add some financial resolutions?
   For starters, promise yourself that you will increase your contributions to your 401(k) or another employer-sponsored retirement plan.
   Here’s another resolution: If you get a bonus or tax refund next year, use it to help fund your IRA or to fill a gap in another investment account.
   Also, tell yourself that you will not overreact to market downturns by selling off investments that may still have strong prospects and are still appropriate for your needs.
   And here’s one final item for your list: Start building an emergency fund containing several months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account.


"Offer forgiveness, make up when necessary" by: Betsy Monico

   Part of my family went to the Steward’s Mill Church Christmas candlelight service last night. It is a tradition we absolutely love. 
   We attend it every few years. Seeing my people with their precious faces lit up by candlelight was absolutely beautiful. 
   I took something from the short message too that touched me. 
   David Filis encouraged us all that when we blew out our candles to not let the light living inside of each of us to burn out, die out, or to get dim. 
   When you are in that setting, blowing out your candle is somewhat sad and dreaded. I kept mine lit last night as long as I could. I savored the splendor of it. 
   The light of my personal candle illuminated and hid the darkness in the old church. 
   When I saw that all of my neighbors on our wooden church pew blew theirs out - I finally gave in and extinguished my flame. 


"It’s important to ask the right question of God: Do I matter? " by: Caleb Gibson

   G.K. Chesterton once said, “All men matter. You matter. I matter. It’s the hardest thing in theology to believe.”
   Out of all the things in life we must understand, the love of God needs to be at the top. That is really what we are called to do.
   Jesus at the age of 12 was found sitting in the temple asking questions.
   Before you start the new year, begin to ask quality questions.
The very first question in the Old Testament is, “Where are you?”
   Genesis 3:8-11 tells us, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
   “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”
   In the midst of their sin, God went to them. He will not abandon you.


"Reel Reviews: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ caps off Skywalker saga with fast-paced action" by: Jessica Shepard

    I have to confess that I’ve been excited for “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” since it was announced by Disney.
   To that end, it fits into the series fairly well, minus a few pacing issues and random half-done plotlines gathered and shoved into one film.
   And I know that sounds bad, but, overall, it’s an enjoyable film and they did good credit to Carrie Fisher’s legacy as General Leia Organa.
   The movie is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, clocks in at two hours and 21 minutes with no special scenes following the credits.
   The Rise of Skywalker currently ranks No. 1 worldwide with a revenue just over $374 million in its debut weekend.
   The film is an epic space-opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J.J. Abrams.
   It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and concludes the nine-part “Skywalker saga.”


Gordon Sorey candidate for Precinct 1 Constable

Gordon Sorey

   To the constituents of Precinct 1 Matagorda County: 
   I am Gordon Sorey, candidate for Constable Precinct 1, and I am sincerely asking for your vote to be the next Constable for Precinct 1. 
   I am married to Vicki Lawrence Sorey, daughter of Arthur and Margaret Lawrence -longtime residents of Matagorda County. 
   I have the experience, skills and dedication to serve the people of this county as a full-time constable. 
   I will be fair and impartial, devoting my time here and ensuring my duties are met to the highest regard. 
   I will not be working for any other agency or administration that could limit my duties and obligation to serve the public of Precinct 1. 
   It was a privilege to have held office as the elected Constable of Ward 2, Richland Parish, in Louisiana, for a six-year term, along with being commissioned with the Sheriff’s office in Richland Parish for many years. 


"Celebrating Christmas coming up fast for family" by: Jessica Shepard

   Since Christmas Eve falls on Tuesday this year, it’s sort of thrown our work and family time for a bit of a loop.
   It also makes this whole month feel more rushed than usual.
   We’ve mostly finished coordinating family togetherness for the holiday next week.
   Both my siblings and their significant others are making an appearance Christmas Eve and are keeping with the tradition that way.
   With my sister and brother’s new jobs, we were worried that we’d have to stagger Christmas festivities to accommodate everyone, but everything is falling into place.
   Aside from a bit more Christmas shopping for meal plans and late gift requests.
   Thankfully, we’ve got Amazon wish lists online and can work through getting everyone something on their list.
   Ashlee’s birthday is New Year’s Eve and she told mom that she was able to celebrate it with us this year.
   That’s a first in about five years.
Color me excited!


"The Santa Claus rally has come in big in 2020" by: John Sample

   More record highs and Santa hasn’t come down the fireplace yet. 
   I hate to say that I am getting nervous, but the tone of analysts has turned way beyond positive. 
   These are the times that give birth to corrections. 
   I don’t see that happening until January but that wall of worry was demolished with the news of a     Phase 1 trade deal and the trade pact with Mexico and Canada. 
   The impeachment proceedings are distracting attention from the economy. 
   Boeing announced that the 737 Max production will be put on hold in January until the certification process with FAA is completed. 
   Think how high the Dow would be without the weight of Boeing holding the gains back. 
   Yet another example of why the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index is the best measure of equities. 


Financial moves for life’s inflection points

   You’ve probably heard or read about inflection points – those events, like the creation of the internet, that changed human existence in some important way. 
   However, you have personal inflection points, too – and when they occur, you’ll need to make the right financial moves.
   One such inflection point is marriage. 
   When you get married, you and your spouse will need to discuss a variety of financial issues, such as whether you should combine accounts and what sort of investment approach you will take.
   Another inflection point: A new child. When you welcome a new child into your family, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate life insurance. 
   You also may want to start contributing to a college fund.
And perhaps the biggest inflection point of all is retirement. 
   When you retire, you’ll need to determine how much you can afford to withdraw each year from your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts. 


"Tis the season to reach out to someone in love" by: Betsy Monico

   I heard today that we have ten days left until Christmas. My shopping is sporadic and a bit chaotic as usual. Gifting is not my love language. I struggle with it. 
   Really here for my crew, Christmas means restocking many necessary items that are worn out. We shop heavily before school starts and again at Christmastime. 
   The real countdown for many of us though is how many days we have left of school before Christmas vacation begins. 
   The kids need a break. The teachers need a break. Don’t get me wrong,
I absolutely love my job, but the natives get restless around this time of year. 
   Last week was our big Polar Express event at the elementary. 
   Each class had an hour long journey on our “train” with singing, dancing, snacks, and holiday fun.  
   I got in a lot of cardio and nearly lost my voice by the end of the week. 


"My dad had a captain in life and his name was Jesus; Who is yours?" by: Caleb Gibson

   Christmas means the most when you are around those you love. 
   In this column I want to share some thoughts on my father. It’s been four months since he passed away. 
   One Christmas song that reminds me of my Dad, Harold Gibson, is the song, “Hark the herald angels sing.”
Although the spelling is different, it reminds me of him because his name is in the song. The word herald means, “An official messenger bringing news.” 
   My dad was a herald of the good news, and I’m sure that I will one day get to sing to God again with him, just the next time in Heaven.
One of my dad’s phrases was, “Repeat back.” This was because of his job at STP. He wanted to make sure that if we were working on a project, we would repeat back so that there was clear understanding. 
   Sometimes my Dad would tell you the same story five times. He did this because was repeating it back in his mind. 


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