We are a country with an identity crisis.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

The United States has certainly seen its share of periods of moral injustice over its history. As a matter of history, these periods usually hit around every 60 years or so. In the last decade or so we have begun to see another shift, social distrust, and a decay in traditional values we experienced in the 50s and 60s-family, religion, intellectualism, and freedom. These values have been uprooted and now what we are experiencing is a country with an identity crisis, looming toward a diminishing American moral value system.

Most broadly associate this decay with the rise of the digital age. However, I argue there was no cataclysmic moment, but a series of them that have allowed Hell to spill across our land. Let me provide you with some examples. The death of George Floyd and the chaos, protests, and violence that ensued, the increased rate of domestic terrorism, and a drastic rise in mass shootings. Our people are living in fear. This is just an example of the violence that has resulted from a population living in fear and disillusionment. …


You can achieve great things in this life.

Image for post
Image for post

With 2020 wrapping up, it’s time to start thinking about your goals for 2021 — another year, another chance to transform your life into the one you have always dreamed of.

The key to any goal is to keep it simple and attainable — don’t overcomplicate it. Adopt habits and build from there. Below I write about five daily habits that will transform your life.

Exercise

According to a 2016 study by the WHO, 39% of adults over 18 are overweight. That figure is astounding and disturbing. Being overweight or obese increases your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, and many other ailments. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

Money laundering fuels crime and terrorism and remains a dangerous security threat.

The US national security danger posed by corruption and terrorist financing is as paramount as it was 20 years ago. As a matter of fact, we are falling behind on our ability to adequately combat this danger — The United States is currently ranked among the easiest places in the world to set up shell companies and launder dirty money. The terrorist landscape has changed, and so should our framework if we stand a chance in getting a hold of this national security danger.

AML Regulations

Anti-money laundering (AML) refers to the laws, regulations, and procedures intended to prevent criminals from disguising illegally obtained funds as legitimate income.” Currently, these regulations apply to banks and other financial institutions. While we do have a framework in place, the real question is, does it work? At the institution level, policies and procedures are created to prove they are adhering to the regulations in place. In practice, those activities related to KYC (Know Your Customer) are works in progress and require further review in order to properly enforce these regulations. Further, normal AML procedures simply do not help identify most terror financing as the amounts are small and are removed from the banking system., but they do discourage those actors from utilizing banking systems. However, inevitably, criminals will create more sophisticated approaches to counter our AML techniques. It is imperative our banks and other financial institutions create a culture of risk awareness. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Katie Harp on Unsplash

The pandemic has forced folks to reevaluate the way they manage their money.

It’s nearly the end of another year — a life-changing, stressful, faith-testing hell of a year. For so many, a lot of that stress has manifested because of money, like having to decide whether or not you should pay the water bill or put a hot meal on the table for your kids. Maybe you lost your job. Perhaps you had to cut hours to spend more time with your children as they start virtual learning. Maybe the economic downturn split your investment account in half. …


Image for post
Image for post

Contributing to your child’s future has many financial benefits.

Whether your child is 9 months or 5 years, I implore you to consider opening a 529 Plan and start contributing consistently. Looking for the best possible way to fund your child’s education should be at the top of your to-do list for many reasons — The cost of college increased by more than 25% in the last 10 years. The price of college is increasing 8x faster than wages. Further, due to COVID impacts like teacher shortages, remote learning, and funding shortages, parents are moving their kids to private schools at an exponential rate. Also, you may be surprised to learn there are many financial benefits to opening a 529 Plan for your child. …


But, you have the power to change your mindset. This is how.

Image for post
Image for post

It’s that little voice in your head. Other terms used to describe your stream of consciousness are inner monologue or inner dialogue. Some days it is the angel — it might remind you to water the plants, drink more water, or motivate you with affirmations or compliments. But, that inner critic may also present itself as the little horned son of a bitch, ripping your soul to shreds with reminders of past failures, telling you that you aren’t good enough, or encouraging you to dwell on negative what-if scenarios. Just like the news, we are drawn to focus on the negative self-talk over the good stuff. And that..that can be devastating to your self-esteem and health. What can I say? …


Just like that, a dream was gone. Just like that, my baby was gone.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

It was a Thursday morning a little over a month ago — the doctor came in and immediately said, “I’m so sorry. There is no longer a heartbeat.” But, I just heard the heartbeat the week before. It was strong and healthy. What happened? What did I do wrong in the last few days? Just like that, it was gone. The dream was gone. The light was gone. Just like that, my baby was gone.

She called it a missed miscarriage.

Those next few days were a bit of a blur. It was just sadness, but I held it together. Something deep down held out hope that they were wrong. Part of me really thought I would go in on Tuesday and they would hear a heartbeat. So, I contained those raw emotions and held them close…just in case. …


In January 2019, I self-published my first book, Sons of God, Daughters of Men, and I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

Image for post
Image for post

When I completed my first book, I experienced an almost instant depression. It was over. The story was told and no one else was going to experience the world I created. It felt unfair to my characters. It felt unfair to me for the years of hard work I put into it. It felt unfair to those close to me that stood by me and offered support for so long during this process. So, I decided to publish it. After a few unsuccessful queries to literary agents I decided to go the self-publishing route, and I am so glad I did. The truth is, self-publishing allows you to skip all the bullshit and waiting that comes with traditional publishing. …


The world is temporarily closed, and our mental health is struggling. This guide will help.

Image for post
Image for post

To be entirely honest, I’ve been struggling to maintain my sanity during the pandemic, and I work from home on an average, non-pandemic day. I thrive working behind the scenes in the quiet of my empty at home office, but I am really struggling lately.

It could be the fact that I don’t have my morning workout at the gym anymore, or that I can’t slowly sip my latte inside my local Starbucks. These luxuries bring me tranquility! And, they are now gone.

I don’t have a tennis or basketball court in my backyard or a fancy mirror covered, floor padded, Peloton filled, and glitter-filled home gym. …


I have been having to give myself daily check-ins to reset.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Pandemics can be stressful. Prolonged isolation, fear of a new disease, dealing with the stressors of working from home with kids running around, or the financial stress of job loss is enough to give anyone anxiety. It certainly doesn’t help that the news gives us contradicting information and focuses primarily on negative news.

As someone with a history of anxiety, I have been having to think about how I manage my anxiety on a daily basis. I’m indoors too often, I’m working a full-time demanding job while at the same time trying to home school a four-year-old. Well, that’s not entirely true. Mostly I’m just making sure he doesn’t break everything or accidentally kill the dog while playing ninjas. He also likes to join in on my Zoom work meetings, which is entertaining, but absurdly anxiety-inducing, especially when the Zoom meeting is with my boss. What it boils down to is I’m out of my routine, which always throws me off on all levels. I’m not getting enough exercise, I’m snacking too much, and I get no alone time. …

About

Laura E Baize

On Life and Money

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store