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Tips for home improvement on a limited budget

Luis Dominguez, Vice President and Branch Manager, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.  

Luis Dominguez, Vice President and Branch Manager, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Your home may be the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime.  Regular home improvement projects can help add value and make your home a more comfortable place to live. Your home is likely one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, and home improvement projects can add value to your investment.

If major home improvement isn’t in your budget this year, here are a few inexpensive tips that may help:

Paint

On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, making painting one of the simplest and most cost-effective improvements to add appeal to your home.  Review design magazines and Web sites or visit model homes in your area for ideas about how you might add a splash of color or freshen up a room with paint.  Identify areas inside and outside of your home that need attention. Then use sand paper to smooth out rough or peeling areas and use spackle to fill holes.  You might also reference DIY Web sites for tips to help you prep, paint and clean up.

Curb appeal

Simple and inexpensive landscaping projects can create a great first impression.  Planting flowers in pots by the front door, along a walkway, or in window boxes is a simple and inexpensive way to add charm to your home.  Shade trees planted strategically not only add appeal, but could help lower cooling costs.  Contact your utility company for tips on varieties that grow well in your area, as well as where they should be planted to maximize shade and avoid coming into contact with power lines.

Welcoming entrance

Invest in a new front door, or repaint,stain or refinish your existing door.  Install a brass kick plate and polish the hardware, or purchase a new door knob and deadbolt.  Make sure your visitors can find you by installing inexpensive, yet stylish address numbers available at home improvement stores.  Complete the look with a tasteful welcome mat.

Kitchen or bathroom facelift

Even if you can’t afford a full remodel, small changes that freshen up an outdated kitchen or bathroom can have a big impact.  For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the faucet, hang new racks or shelves, and add new cabinet pulls and handles.  Consider new paint, stain the cabinets, or visit manufactures’ Web sites to purchase new doors at a fraction of the cost of replacing the cabinets. If the countertop looks dingy, consider re-grouting and replacing chipped tiles, or shop for a remnant piece of granite or marble for a new countertop or backsplash.

Lighting

Interior and exterior lighting not only provide your home with functionality and security, but  updating old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones can create an appealing ambiance while lowering energy costs.  A simple track lighting kit can be purchased at home improvement stores and allows you to brighten just about any area.  Bring architectural details, plants and other objects to life with inexpensive freestanding or clip-on lights.  Or simply purchase a new lamp shade or use a little spray paint to give new life to an old chandelier.

Architectural interest

If you’re handy with a saw and other tools, adding a chair rail, picture molding, crown molding, or baseboards are inexpensive ways to bring value and beauty to your home.  Consider purchasing a few extra yards of molding or trim to make some practice cuts, and be sure to always wear appropriate hearing, eye and respiratory protection when operating power tools.

On a final note, look for construction surplus businesses like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores— nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. To find one in your community, visit www.habitat.org/restores.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about home improvement on a limited budget and is not considered financial or tax advice. Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

About MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Luis Dominguez is a vice president and branch manager of the MUFG Union Bank, N.A., Miracle Mile branch.  MUFG Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service bank with offices across the United States.  We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial, retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers.  The bank also offers an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for customers, including investment banking, personal trust, capital markets, global treasury management, transaction banking and other services.  With assets of $108.8 billion (USD), as of June 30, 2014, the bank has strong capital reserves, credit ratings and capital ratios relative to peer banks.  MUFG Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥259 trillion (JPY) or $2.5 trillion (USD)1, as of June 30, 2014.  MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, the financial holding company and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. have corporate headquarters in New York City.

1 Exchange rate of USD=¥101.36 (J-GAAP) as of June 30, 2014

 

“Shout-Out to all the Haters!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Thanks for the love!  We’ve all got some haters among us. We all have had enemies or so-called friends who have stabbed us in the back.  These are called “Haters.” I too am not immune to haters, drama seekers or the occasional bully! Every now and then I get hated on.  And what is most aggravating and annoying is the fact that you can mind your own business and still get hated on.  Even though you are not in their business and you don’t concern yourself with what they are doing, it seems like they are always in your business and always concerning themselves with what you are doing? And you ask yourself why are they hating on you? Instead of wondering why they are hating on you, as a wise friend once told me, “Let your haters be your motivators.”

What I have come to understand is that the difference is that it is just something about you that they just can’t quite put their finger on. 1 Peter Chapter 2 call it “Peculiar.”  Which also means “Set Apart,” or Different from the rest.” We have a special, unique calling from God to do good works. So I say, rejoice in the Lord when you are being hated on. Why? Because haters never hate on somebody that is not doing anything.  You’ve heard that saying before. Haters only hate on folks that are doing something.  If David would have never defeated the giant then the women would not have had anything to sing about and Saul would not have started hating.  But because David was doing something then David was attacked. It was in the text that David had slayed the giant Goliath and it was a time of celebration in which the nation of Israel had overcome the Philistines.  But just as everyone else was celebrating over the victory, the Bible declares that King Saul starts hating because he felt threatened because of the response from the women who sing, saying that Saul killed his thousands and David killed his ten thousands.  I bet they didn’t hate on you as long as you were working at McDonalds, but the minute they heard that you were enrolling in college they started hating.  They had no problem as long as you rode the bicycle, but when they found out you had a Benz, they started hating.  They were okay that you were their co-worker, but when they found out that you were their new supervisor, they started hating. Hater’s you got to love them!

If you are in a similar situation of haters, remember that people do not define who you are, you do! “Let your haters be your motivators.”  When you come across haters in your life, let that motivate you to press on and do what you’ve set out to do. The problem with haters is that they see your glory, but they don’t know your story.

Remember, the battle is not yours. You must understand that whenever the haters attack you they are not fighting against you, but they are really fighting against God.  And I know that there have been a lot of people that have tried to fight against God and lost.  Goliath tried to fight against Him and he lost his head.  Pharaoh tried to fight against Him and drowned in the Red Sea.  Herod tried to fight against Him and the worms got him.  It is not your job to take care of the haters. That’s God’s job.  Your job is to stick with the mission.  If He took care of Goliath and He took care of Pharaoh, then I just believe that He will take care of your haters. Stop fusing and fighting with that other brother that is hating on you.  Stop going toe to toe with them.  Save your energy for the work. Never argue, confront, or struggle with haters.  When you engage the hater, you give them the power to control and manipulate you.  Wisdom is too high for a fool. Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you yourself will be just like them. As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

No matter what the hater does or says remember and practice The Golden Rule, treat them the way you want to be treated, despite how they treat you or what they say about you.  It can be difficult, especially when what they are saying is not the entire truth.  But take the high road, and know that they will continue to drown in their own negativity and jealousy and people will begin to see them for who they actually are. What goes around comes around, you will reap what you sow; Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  {Matthew 5:10-12}

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”  What an amazing, astounding, and unexpected statement from the lips of Christ.  Haters, got to love them!

Editor’s Letter: Young People Protest Change across the Globe

Atlanta protests held Monday, August 18 in front of the CNN Center

Atlanta protests held Monday, August 18 in front of the CNN Center

By Naomi K. Bonman

L.A. Protest Photo Credit:  Joe Satran (The Huffington Post)

L.A. Protest Photo Credit: Joe Satran (The Huffington Post)

Throughout the previous years we have heard about history repeating itself, and 50 years later after the Civil Rights Movement to this present day, we see are seeing what we dreaded would happen. History has been repeating itself for the past few years now, but on Saturday, August 10, after 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, MO, outside of St. Louis, the issue of police brutality among African-Americans have sparked up the Nation causing multiple protests across the Country among both the young, seasoned and celebrity crowd.

In the immediate days after Brown was murdered the world seen yet another brutal shooting by the Los Angeles Police Department on Sunday, August 11, when 25-year-old Ezell Ford was shot and skilled by two officers while walking down the street near his home. According to the Huffington Post, by 2:30 p.m. several protesters had gathered in front of the LAPD headquarters. Protesters varied in age, race, ethnicity and creed. Some even came as far as San Bernardino, such as Sandra Nunez, who was there with her young daughter.

“I not only fear gang members killing my son, I fear the police killing my son. I feel helpless because I don’t know who will protect him from them”, she stated.

Another local L.A. resident, David Bryant, who is a former member of the Nation of Islam, stated that he has been arrested while protesting in exactly the same place in 1992, after the trial for officers who has beaten Rodney King.

“That was over 20 years ago, and here we go again. It’s déjà vu, but what else can you except when you have prostitutes and cowards as politicians”, he said.

Let us rewind back to July 17 in New York, before Brown was killed. Eric Garner, 43, who was an asthmatic father of six, was confronted by NYPD officers for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. When he resisted being cuffed, an officer appeared to put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by the department since 1993.Garner was unable to breathe and unfortunately succumbed. The

Actress, singer, and business owner Tiffany Evans, joined protests for change in Atlanta

Actress, singer, and business owner Tiffany Evans, joined protests for change in Atlanta

city medical examiner later ruled Garner’s death a homicide, stating that neck compression from the chokehold killed him; however, officers involved in the arrest may not face charges if the homicide is found to be justifiable. Staten Island district attorney Daniel Donovan is investing the case.

Then on August 5 in Beavercreek, Ohio, two police officers responded to a 911 call about a man waving a gun at customers inside a Walmart store. According to the Beavercreek police department, John Crawford, 22, disregarded officers’ orders to disarm before being fatally shot in the chest. It later was reported that Crawford’s gun was a .177 calibre BB rifle that he had picked up from the store shelf.

On August 12, Dante Parker. 36, of Victorville, California who was a pressman at the Daily Press was tased by police after a Victorville resident told police a robbery suspect had fled on a bicycle. The police detained Parker, who by the way had no criminal background (other than a DUI), after a scuffle ensued which led to him being tased. He later died at a local hospital. The police assumed he was the suspect because he was found on a bicycle.

Who knows how long these protests will go on before justice is served and change is done. In the midst of these occurrences I read a statement from a young lady on Facebook, I do not remember her name, but she stated that “People react certain ways to prior fears”. She used an analogy of her being beat by a blue belt and as she gets older she still fears that blue belt every time she sees it because she

Atlanta protest. August 18, 2014

Atlanta protest. August 18, 2014

connects it to that incident of when she was beaten by it. So, the same goes for the police. Some may have a fear that could have been passed by to them by their ancestors, so instead of talking things out to come to a solution they automatically assume and react. Other law enforcement who do not have this fear, could just be a “dirty cop” instilled with evil and hate.

Hopefully at the end when all is said and done, we not only get the change that we need, but that Blacks start coming together as a people, as a force, because that is the only way we will get the deserved change that Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm XRosa Parks, and a countless number of others fought for 50 years ago. Right now they would all be turning in their graves to see how we have separated as a people and how our race has fallen. We don’t support each other in our business efforts as we should, we do not own hardly any big corporations, and the list goes on.

While you are out there protesting, keep in mind that as African-Americans/Blacks we need to continue to come together in unity. I would love to see a multitude of Black owned businesses emerging within the next years to come, and I would like to see us keep those businesses in our communities and for them not to be sold off to “white companies and investors”.

The Black community has the highest buying power, so if we take that power and put it back into our own communities, just imagine how much we would thrive as a community and what the future would like for our youth that will soon be taking over. Let’s be an example and stand up for what’s ours. Let’s take back our communities in a positive way.

I would love to hear your feedback, please tweet me at @NaomiKBonman on Twitter, or email me atnaomibonman@gmail.com.