We are Ray and Kelli, counselors at City. Dignity. Scholarships SD City College. 14 acts of kindness. Best jobs for 2018. Mark Cuban's money tips. Best cell phone plans. 28 things to stop buying. 50 best big companies to work for. 25 highest and lowest paying jobs. 15 odd jobs that pay great. 1st grader asks for food and blanket from Santa.

The veterans page: Veterans Day. A surprised 8-year-old. Honoring heroic dog. Honorably discharged veterans shop tax-free. Forever GI Bill. Father takes care of 4 children. Integrate Marine Training? Robotic legs. Costs of war. Saluting a fallen soldier. 300K Lotto winner. Vets and painkillers. Vet resources. Grandmother of veteran's family deported. Housing the homeless. Veteran finds healing through adopting a cat. Wounded Marines help others.

Empowering students to fulfill their dreams through education.

Monday, February 12, 2018


You never know where you're going to find inspiration. Reading about LA Laker's Luol Deng taught me a lot about how to handle adversity. The Player They Can't Trade Can Only Pretend to Play appeared in the Charlotte Observer.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

City College Scholarships! Deadline Feb. 25, 2018.


Counseling Department Scholarship for Undocumented Students. Deadline Feb. 25, 2018:


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mark Cuban's Money Tips

Mark Cuban knows a little bit about money. Here are his three money tips to help you get started on the right track for 2018. This article appeared on MSN Money

Best Cell Phone Plans

Paying too much for cellular? Here's a guide to the best cell phone plans for your needs. The Best Cell Phone Plans appeared on The Wirecutter.

Stop Buying These Things

Do you buy multivitamins, bottled water, medications, or insecticide? Read this article to find out why you're wasting your money.

28 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2018 appeared on MSN Money.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Big Companies to Work For

The 50 Best Big Companies to Work For of 2017, According to Employees appeared in MSN Money. My 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter would be interested in number 43 because they play League of Legends.

Highest and Lowest Paying Jobs

Want to make good money? Become a pharmacist, data scientist, or tax manager. The lowest paying jobs are in restaurants. The 25 Highest and Lowest Paying Jobs appeared on MSN Money

Jobs Nobody Thinks Of

Want to make some bucks? How about being a cruise ship performer, an ethical hacker, or embalmer? 15 Odd Jobs That Pay Insanely Well appeared on MSN Money

Sunday, December 17, 2017

1st Grader Asks for Food & Blanket for Christmas

What does a 7-year-old girl want for Christmas? 1st Grader Asks for Food, Blanket in Heartbreaking Letter to Santa appeared on Yahoo! News.

Homeless to Billionaire

John Paul DeJoria was homeless at one point in his life. Now he is heading one of the most successful haircare companies in the world. That in itself is amazing but his values for his company are even more impressive. John Paul DeJoria Went From Homeless to Billionaire by Following Three Simple Rules appeared in MSN News.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Which Debt to Pay Off 1st

When paying off debt, should you pay off the highest interest debt or the one you owe the least on? According to this video on MSN Money, the math says to pay off the highest interest debt first, but motivation says pay off the smallest debt so you have a sense of accomplishment. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Money in the Bank

We have talked a lot about getting out of debt. Now let’s turn our attention to what to do when you’re free from the chains of owing. We are talking about investing your money so that it grows. The safest thing to do with your money is to simply put it in the bank, a savings account that collects interest. On the pro side, money in the bank is protected by the federal government. That means your savings account at the bank is insured up to $250K even if the bank goes under. There’s no risk of losing your money no matter what happens to the economy. And your money is fluid, meaning that it isn’t tied up for long periods of time. You can deposit or take out money without penalties.

Remember we discussed socking away 3-6 months of expenses into an emergency fund? A savings account is a good place to park that money because it’s safe and accessible. A savings account isn’t paying a lot of interest, but that’s okay. You want your emergency fund to be safe, not to make you a ton of money when the stock market goes up.

There are different types of accounts you can open at the bank and most of them are insured by the federal government. Here are some of these accounts and what they do:

·         Savings Account

·         Checking Account

·         Money Market Account

·         Certificate of Deposit

What about savings accounts at online banks? If you go into a brick and mortar bank such as Bank of America or Chase, your savings account would pay you .01 percent interest at the time I’m writing this article. That’s not a lot. If you deposited $1000 (minimum to have in your emergency fund) into your savings account at the beginning of the year, at a .01 percent interest rate, you would have a whopping ten cents of interest at the end of the year!

However, if you put that same $1000 into a savings account at an online bank such as Goldman Sachs (also federally insured and the online bank I use), which pays 1.30 percent interest, you would have $13.08 cents of interest at the end of the year. You would not have a brick and mortar store to walk into but if you are comfortable doing all your banking online, your rate of return is a lot better. How do you make deposits and withdrawals when there’s no building to walk into? I connect my online savings accounts at Goldman Sachs with my brick and mortar checking account at a local credit union and move money back and forth that way. I still have the convenience of going to a physical building and I can move money back and forth online between these accounts. It takes a few business days of processing time between the credit union and the online accounts, but that’s not a problem for me.

Again, we’re not talking about making a killing at the stock market with these savings rates. The goal with an emergency fund savings is to keep the money fluid and accessible and earn a little interest at the same time. We will be discussing other investment vehicles that can bring greater returns in future posts.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


My family saw Wonder this weekend at the theater, and I urge you to see it. As an author, it's the kind of story I wish I had written. When given a choice between being right or being kind, how many of us choose kindness?

Funeral for a Neighbor

I went to a funeral for my neighbor, George T. Craig, last week. He was 77 and died from pancreatic cancer. We have lived next door to George and his wife, Sharyn, in Rancho San Diego since 2002. George wasn’t famous so people probably aren’t going to write books about him. He wasn’t an actor, although he did bear a resemblance to Bob Hope. George wasn’t an athlete or renowned musician. He wasn’t in politics and didn’t appear on television. He was a mechanical engineer who taught at San Diego State University before retiring in 2006. He was also a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather, an avid golfer, and a man of faith who attended the same church with his wife since 1969.   

I can’t say that George and I were close. We were neighbors. We greeted each other in the morning while he was getting the newspaper and I was heading off to work. We sometimes ran into each other on Saturday afternoons on the way to the community mailbox across the street. George, in a plain T-shirt and shorts, would ask about my job at the community college, if we were keeping our enrollment up. We would chat about the weather, the scorching hot spells in San Diego that made him yearn for overcast skies and even rain. I am an introvert so it isn’t easy to get me talking, but George made the effort to engage me in neighborly small talk on a regular basis.

George would let us know when he and Sharyn were going on vacations so we could keep an eye out on their house, and we would do the same. Maybe this is a holdover from the past, a bygone era when Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best were television staples because the Craigs are the only neighbors I can recall doing this with. But if this is something considered antiquated in this “Look out for Number One” society, I say let’s turn back the clock.

When my children were younger, I would take them to George’s house first for trick or treating at Halloween. George would be the one passing out candy and he would try, often unsuccessfully, to guess our kids’ costumes. 

My wife, Quyen, loves to decorate for Christmas, and she would string lights throughout the front yard, attach illuminated Santas and sparkling snowflakes to the windowsills, weave flashing swirls around tree trunks, and even our shrubs would twinkle with holiday lights. George would rave about Quyen’s creativity, and this recognition always brought a smile to my wife’s face. On Christmas Eve, I would leave a gift-wrapped bottle of Martinelli’s on George’s porch and he would bring over a jar of Sharyn’s homemade peanut brittle on Christmas day.  

One winter, I took my son, Kevin, with me to run some errands, and Quyen was outside watering her plants with our daughter, Kristie. I had inadvertently locked the door, and Quyen was unable to get into the house. She had no way to reach me. She also had a customer scheduled that morning at the hair salon she worked at. Quyen went to George’s house and tried to call me, but my cell phone was turned off. So Quyen told George and Sharyn about her predicament and they drove her and Kristie to the hair salon in Mira Mesa, a good 20 miles from home.  

Another time, I had already left for work when the power shut down in East County. Quyen went to George to ask for help because the garage door remote wasn’t functioning. He showed her how to manually open and close the garage so she could take the kids to school.

George was that kind of neighbor; he was always there when we needed him, and I can’t tell you how much that meant to us. Rest in peace, George T. Craig. Thank you from our family for being our good neighbor and friend. We’re going to miss you.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Black Friday Mistakes

You could be doing Black Friday all wrong. Reader's Digest gives you the scoop on mistakes you could be making when you shop on Black Friday. 10 Ways You're Doing Black Friday All Wrong appeared on MSN Lifestyle.

Black Friday Insider Knowledge

What do the employees who work on Black Friday say about this shopping day? Many items have been on sale at the same price previously. Some stores mark up the retail price to make you think you're getting a better deal. If you want Thanksgiving back as a holiday, don't shop on this day. 11 Insider Facts Most Black Friday Workers Know -- And You Probably Don't appeared on MSN News.