Up & Coming Weekly

February 25, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 8 of 36

8 UCW FEBRUARY 26-MARCH 3, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MONEY Using mayoral position for per- sonal gain by RICK BRYANT Dear omas Batson, Jeremy Fiebig, Gordon Johnson, Tiffany Ketchum, George Turner, Henry Tyson and Liz Varnadoe, I recently read an article printed in the Feb. 5-11 issue of Up and Coming Weekly, "Six to one. Mayor wins. Fayetteville loses!" It describes how the current mayor of Fayetteville, Mr. Mitch Colvin, made signifi- cant changes to the exterior of his building, the old Kress building, located downtown. ese changes were made without adher- ing to the Certificate of Appropriateness guidelines. is has a serious consequence, as I see it, in that you, the Historic Resources Commission, would allow this to happen. e guidelines now become moot. What is the purpose of having those guidelines if you won't adhere to them? After all, a 6-to-1 vote by the Commission allow- ing Colvin's changes says that you would rather not even consider the guidelines put into place to protect downtown Fayette- ville's appearance that would apply to any business owner who operates in a building downtown, not just someone in a leadership position. Bruce Arnold, owner of Rude Awakening coffee shop, pointed out that the changes to the Kress build- ing violated the COA guidelines. He voted against approval as each of you could have and should have voted, yet he was made a victim by pointing out the violation. is is appalling and shows a true lack of leader- ship on your part. Why have this Commission? As for ac- tions of leadership for a personal benefit, is this another case of being handed the keys to the Ferrari just after obtaining one's driver's license? A similar situation with downtown property will come up again with business owners who may want to make changes to suit their personal tastes. Rick Bryant, Fayetteville citizen TO THE EDITOR e changes to the Kress building violated the COA guidelines. Women may need to take extra steps to reach financial security submitted by DEBBIE BEST International Women's Day 2020 is observed on March 8. is special day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Yet, women still face gender bar- riers as they seek to achieve their financial goals. How can you address these chal- lenges? To begin with, you need to be aware- of what you're up against. e wage gap between men and women has closed somewhat, but it hasn't disappeared. Full-time female employees earn about 82% of what men earn, according to the Census Bureau. Over a 40-year career, a woman who worked full time would lose, on average, more than $400,000 because of this wage gap, according to the National Women's Law Center. Furthermore, a woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.5; for a 65-year-old man, the comparable figure is 84. ose two- and-a-half years can amount to a lot more living expenses. Plus, by taking time off from the workplace to raise children and care for elderly family members, women often end up with lower balances in their 401(k)s and IRAs than men. So, what can you do to help eventhe playing field, in terms of building ad- equate resources for retirement? Here are a few suggestions: • Contribute as much as possible to your retirement plans. During your working years, put in as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. Most people don't come anywhere near the 401(k) contribution limit, which, in 2020, is $19,500, or $26,000 if you're 50 or older, and you might not be able to reach it, either, but strive to do the best you can. And every time your salary increases, bump up your annual contribution. If you are able to "max out" on your 401(k), you may still be able to contribute to an IRA. If your income exceeds certain limits, you can't contribute to a Roth IRA, which offers tax-free withdrawals of earnings if you meet certain conditions, but you may still be able to fund a tradi- tional IRA, although the tax deductibil- ity may be reduced or eliminated. • Use Social Security wisely. You can start taking Social Security as early as 62, but your checks can be larger if you wait until your full retirement age, which will likely be between 66 and 67. And if you're married, you may be able to choose between claiming your own benefits or receiving 50% of your spouse's benefits, which could help you if your spouse has considerably higher earnings. Your spouse does not lose any benefits if you choose this route. • Look for every opportunity to save and invest. As mentioned above, women often lose out on some retire- ment savings when they take time away from the workforce to raise families and eventually become caregivers for elderly parents. But even if you aren't working full time, it doesn't mean you have no chance to boost your retire- ment savings. If you can do any paid work, whether it's part time or as a consultant, you can contribute to an IRA — and you should. It's not easy to overcome the struc- tural disadvantages women face when seeking to reach financial security. Tak- ing advantage of the savings and invest- ment possibilities available can help Women still face gender barriers as they seek to achieve their financial goals. DEBBIE BEST, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones Investments. COM- MENTS? 910-488-7535 RICK BRYANT, Fayetteville citizen. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Product not available in all states. Includes the Participating Providers and Preventive Benefits Rider. 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