Katherine Johnson–retired NASA mathematician finds fame

Katherine Johnson

If you’ve seen the movie “Hidden Figures,” you know about Katherine Johnson. Below is a recent article written about Katherine’s new found fame.

Katherine Johnson, a black NASA pioneer, finds acclaim at 98

by Victoria St. Martin, The Washington Post

January 29, 2017

“Fame has finally found Katherine Johnson — and it only took 98 years, six manned moon landings, a best-selling book and an Oscar-nominated movie.

For more than 30 years, Johnson worked as a NASA mathematician at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where she played an unseen but pivotal role in the country’s space missions. That she was an African-American woman in an almost all-male and white workforce made her career even more remarkable.

Now, three decades after retiring from the agency, Johnson is portrayed by actress Taraji Henson in ‘Hidden Figures,’ a film based on a book of the same name. The movie tells how a group of black women — world-class mathematicians all — helped provide NASA with data crucial to the success of the agency’s early spaceflights. ‘Hidden Figures’ was nominated Tuesday for an Academy Award for best picture.

Suddenly Johnson, who will turn 99 in August, finds herself inundated with interview requests, award banquet invitations and people who just want to stop by and shake her hand.

…For many people, especially African-Americans, her tale of overcoming racism and sexism is inspirational.”

Read more about Katherine Johnson

Travel insurance can “soothe” your worries

travel insuranceTravel Insurance to Protect Your Vacation

by Miriam Cross for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine

June, 2016

“You’ve finally booked a long-awaited Mediterranean cruise. Before cracking open your guidebook, make one more purchase to ensure that your dream vacation goes smoothly: travel insurance.

Nearly one-fourth of Americans had to cancel, delay or interrupt travel plans between spring 2013 and fall 2014, reports the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, mainly because of illness, severe weather or transportation delays. A comprehensive travel insurance policy includes coverage for those problems and others that might derail your trip, both before and during your vacation. As insurance goes, it’s relatively inexpensive—typically 5% of the cost of your trip. You can generally lock in coverage up to 24 hours before your departure. But the sooner you buy, the more key, time-sensitive benefits you get, including coverage for preexisting conditions.

Good reasons to buy. Most insurers’ package plans will reimburse your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses if you have to cancel or interrupt your travels because of a close family member’s death or illness, storm damage that makes your destination uninhabitable, or a layoff from work. They also typically reimburse you if your flight is delayed or your bags are lost or stolen. And you should get 24-hour phone support.”

Read more

Help “keep the music that shaped America alive”

Music Maker Relief Foundation: Our Mission

Published on Sep 5, 2012

“The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions.”

Music Maker
Age Don’t Mean a Thing by Robert Finley, age 62, album released September 2016

I have always loved the Blues and today I purchased the album on the right. The reviews on Amazon say it is great!  I can’t wait to get it!

Please visit their website and check out what the Foundation does for these talented elderly musicians.  It’s an awesome mission and you can see the difference they are making on the musicians’ faces.

“You can support the artists and the music by making a donation, purchasing a CD,  or attending an event!”

How do you approach financial planning?

financial planning

How Men and Women Think Differently About Money

by Janet Bodnar for Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine

September 2016

“When I get a massage, as I do periodically, I like to park my brain in neutral and bask in the serenity. So imagine the jolt when, a few months ago, my massage therapist wanted to spend our hour talking—about Social Security. A divorced woman in her fifties, she had heard that she could apply for Social Security on her former husband’s record. Was that true, she wanted to know, and if so, would it have any effect on her ex-spouse’s own Social Security benefit?

So instead of parking my brain in neutral, I had to shift into overdrive to explain the nuances of Social Security (yes, if her marriage had lasted 10 years, she could apply for benefits on her husband’s record once she’s 62, and no, it wouldn’t affect his Social Security). So much for my peaceful massage.

A few weeks later, I sat down for my regular haircut, assuming I could zone out while my stylist snipped away. But she wanted to talk—about her retirement plan. She thought that as a self-employed person she could sock away much more than she could in a traditional IRA, but she was hesitant to raise the subject with her accountant. I confirmed that she was probably eligible for a Simplified Employee Pension or individual 401(k), and that triggered a discussion about retirement investments that lasted as long as my haircut.

It occurred to me later that both women were in tune with the Kiplinger’s subscribers we surveyed earlier this year to learn more about how they invest.”  Read more

Is travel in your future?

senior travel discounts

The Best Travel Discounts for Seniors, 2016

by Jane Bennett Clark for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine

December 2016

“Starting at age 62, you can get a lifetime parks pass from the U.S. National Park Service for as little as $10; the card gives you access to more than 2,000 national parks and federal recreation areas. At some sites, you can also use the pass to get discounts on parking, tours, boat launching, camping—even an ice cream cone at the concession stand.

If you’re 65 or older, you can get discounted fares on Southwest, United and American airlines. Discounts are off the standard fare and don’t necessarily deliver the lowest price for the seat. Still, senior fares have their privileges. For instance, unlike Southwest’s ‘Wanna Get Away’ fare, the senior fare is fully refundable and doesn’t require booking well in advance.

Travelers age 62 and older can get a couple of compelling discounts. Amtrak offers 15% off some fares and, better yet, at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, you can go to the front of the line (along with business-class passengers), assuring you a seat in the often chaotic boarding process. At 62 you also qualify for a 15% discount or more at one of 4,000 Marriott hotels worldwide without having to book well in advance or forgoing full cancellation privileges.”

These picks are part of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s annual Best List, a roundup of the best values in all the areas we cover – from funds, stocks and ETFs to credit cards and bank accounts to cars, college, kid stuff, phone plans, travel and health. Discover all our Best List picks here.

Funeral costs can “take a bite out of your estate”

funeral costs

Seven ways to cut the cost of a funeral

by Bob Niedt for Kiplinger.com

July 5, 2016

“In addition to the emotional toll, dying can take a heavy financial toll on the living. The median cost of a funeral runs about $8,500, according to the latest figures from the National Funeral Directors Association, including embalming, viewing, a hearse, a metal casket, a vault and some other related services. The price tag, 29.3% higher than it was a decade earlier, could come as a shock to grieving heirs and take a bite out of your estate.

There are two important points to keep in mind about the $8,500 figure. First, it doesn’t take into account some common cemetery expenses such as a burial site, marker, paid obituary and flowers. Second, it’s the median, or middle, price; some funerals can cost upward of $25,000.

Prepaying for your own funeral is one way to spare your survivors the hassle and expense, but generally speaking Kiplinger recommends thinking twice about prepayment because there are better ways to set aside cash for a funeral. A smarter approach might be to focus on reducing funeral costs. Here are seven ways to save.”  Read more

A second opinion may give you peace of mind

second opinion

When to Get a Second Opinion

by Nellie S. Huang for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine

December 2016

“Your doctor has just diagnosed you with a serious disease, or recommended a costly procedure, or advised you to have major surgery. Before panicking or following a drastic course of treatment, get a second opinion. Not only can a medical evaluation from a different doctor help you learn more about your illness, the options available to you, and the risks and benefits of each path, but it can also ‘give you the confidence and peace of mind that you’re making a good decision,’ says Robert Nielsen, medical director of PinnacleHealth System in central Pennsylvania.

Most insurance policies will cover the fee for a second opinion as they would cover a regular office visit, but it’s always wise to check with your insurer before you schedule the appointment, especially if you plan to go out of network. ‘In some cases, such as certain elective surgical procedures, a second opinion is mandatory,’ says John Ulatowski, vice president and executive medical director of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, in Baltimore.

Ask for referrals from people you trust—your primary care physician, the doctor who delivered your first opinion, your family and friends. Avoid seeing a colleague at the same practice or medical center as the doctor who gave you the first opinion—the approach to care can vary from place to place. For example, ‘some cancer centers are more aggressive about treatment; others are more concerned about side effects,’ says Jerome Groopman, Recanati Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

For cases that involve a specific procedure—for example, heart-valve replacement surgery—consult a doctor who frequently performs those surgeries.”   Read more

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