Professional Development: Financial Peace

FINANCIAL PEACE The average student loan balance is $29,400*.  Over 77% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.  Over 89% of Americans buy things they can’t afford.  These are just a few of the many statistics regarding debt in America.  The good news, however, is that you don’t have to be a statistic. Financial advice comes in all shapes and sizes.  While there isn’t necessarily a “one-size-fits-all” road map to financial success, there are basic principles that can be applied towards getting out of debt and managing your finances.  These include: Making a budget and sticking to it.  Use apps/websites such as Mint, or your own bank’s software, to automatically track and budget every expense. When your income increases, don’t raise your standard of living by the same dollar amount  Instead, save and invest a portion of your new income. Related to #2: Live within your means.  Keeping up with the Jones is almost always a guaranteed path to debt. Eliminate credit card interest (never carry a balance). If at all possible, always use cash rather than credit or financing to make a purchase. Dave Ramsey is one individual who speaks about debt and how to escape it, and much of his knowledge comes from his own experiences.  Dave had generated a million-dollar real estate business by age 26 but then lost it all due to debt and bad financial practices.  Since recovering, he has sought to teach others how to responsibly handle their own finances.  While his book Financial Peace goes into greater detail, he freely shares the basics of his road map plan for escaping debt: Get $1,000...

Meet the Alderman Candidate: Robert H. Williams, M.D.

Meet the Candidate – Robert H. Williams, M.D. What is your profession & background? I moved to Kingsport, TN in 1974 via Cookeville, TN, Memphis, TN and a 3 year stint in The U. S. Army Medical Corp, Europe. I was 32 years old. I practiced Internal Medicine and Cardiology here in Kingsport for 32 years, retiring in 2006.  I am married to Anne Compton Williams and have two daughters and four grandchildren. Why are you running for Alderman? Three months ago, I became more interested and concerned about the prescription opioid epidemic.  This was about the time that I became aware of the upcoming Alderman race.  One thing led to another, and here I am.  I am an independent thinking, conservative leaning pragmatist.  I have the time and interest to tackle the job of Alderman.  In addition, I plan to use this position to assist me in the growing drug problem that is infiltrating all levels of our lives. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? Kingsport has been around for a long time.  It has a strong foundation in business and industry. We are blessed with a strong and willing workforce, plus we live in a fantastically beautiful part of the country where we can enjoy outdoor activities and attractions literally in our own backyard. Who wouldn’t want to work and play where we do? Spread the word, and businesses and industries will come. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? First, I will reaffirm my support for the businesses and industries we already have.  I try to follow the basic rule...

Meet the Alderman Candidate: Mark Vicars Jr.

Meet the Candidate – Mark Vicars Jr. What is your profession & background? I started my own business at the age of 18, which I recently sold to pursue my dream of being an educator. Currently, I am a student at Northeast State Community College, pursuing a degree in History with a double minor in Economics and Secondary Education. I am currently engaged to a fellow dog lover. My little family means the world to me. I enjoy the outdoors, sports, and board games of all kinds. Why are you running for Alderman? As a lifelong resident of Kingsport, I am passionate about this city. I believe city government should exist to enrich the lives of its citizens, rather than tax them solely for the sake of revenue. Our city government needs to start living up to its word, and stop making empty promises. As someone preparing to enter the education field, the city should continue to make efforts to support education on all levels, while also striving to help all Kingsport citizens, in all their communities. I believe it is long overdue for a fresh voice and perspective to come to Kingsport government. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? I am positive about Kingsport’s future because I see more people trying to make a change in the community. I may not always agree, but if somebody is doing what they think it right to help the community I will try my best to understand their point of view. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? I would love to start a...

Meet the Alderman Candidate: Tom Parham

Meet the Candidate – Tom Parham What is your profession & background? I was educated in Kingsport and graduated from ETSU with a degree in finance.  I did graduate work at Emory University and UT.  I retired from Tennessee Eastman after nearly four decades of working in a variety of management positions.  In addition, I have spent more than 40 years in public service in my church, Boy Scouts, YMCA, Greenbelt Committee, NETWORKS, and many others.  I am currently president of PETWORKS, our regional animal shelter.  I have been on the BMA for eight years. Why are you running for Alderman? I enjoy being active in City Government, and feel I am making a positive difference.  I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved during my time on the board, and want to see some current projects, most notably the construction of the animal shelter, to completion.  I feel that my knowledge and experience are an asset to the board.  It is very important that we continue on a progressive path. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? I’m excited about Kingsport’s future!  We currently have the lowest cost, lowest debt city in the region, with the highest bond rating.  Our schools consistently have excellent ratings, we have wonderful opportunities for higher education and workforce development in a wide variety of fields that lead to high paying jobs, and, through NETWORKS, we have added 1500 new jobs this year.  We are seeking growth in housing, and this growth will provide more jobs. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? I believe that we should ensure that opportunities for involvement...

Meet the Alderman Candidate: Colette George

Meet the Candidate – Colette George What is your profession & background? I am the Broker/Owner of Blue Ridge Properties and have been a Realtor for 25 years. I have served as a Kingsport Alderman since 2013. My community service includes 10 years on the Planning Commission, Visitor and Convention Bureau, Junior League, Women’s Symphony Committee, Girls Inc, K-Play, Rotary of Kingsport, Junior Achievement, and Meals on Wheels, just to name a few. Why are you running for Alderman? Kingsport is my home and I chose to move back here to grow a family business and raise my children. Like other parents, I want my sons to raise their families in Kingsport. For that to be an option, we must use our resources wisely and efficiently to provide economic opportunities and improve quality of life for all our citizens. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? My vision for the next four years is to foster economic opportunity and growth as well as improvements in quality of life for our citizens. The Aerospace Park project should be a priority as it provides the greatest opportunity for thousands of good high-paying jobs and sets a precedent for cooperation between all the government entities in Northeast Tennessee. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? I built a new building on Broad Street. I believe we need to continue to invest in our downtown area. With new high-paying jobs, we will bring in more Young Professionals. Business and activities that cater to Young Professionals have a better success rate with greater number of that age group in our city....

Meet the Alderman Candidate: Darrell Duncan

Meet the Candidate – Darrell Duncan What is your profession & background? I am a realtor and also work for Solvay, Inc.  I am retired from Eastman and have lived in Kingsport with my wife Sharon for 37 years. Why are you running for Alderman? I want to continue to work together with organizations like PEAK, Move To Kingsport, The Chamber, and many others to grow Kingsport.  I have made a difference in our community since coming to the BMA,  and I have a vision for growth and the future of our city. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? The OneKingsport business plan is a road map to success for our city. We are just in the first year of the implementation of the plan and there are so many good things that have already come about. If we stick to our vision and activate young people like the members of PEAK to help us implement the plan, I think that we have a very bright future ahead of us in The Model City. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? At every opportunity I will support projects that bring higher paying jobs to our region.  I will continue to support the OneKingsport vision, and help make Kingsport not only a great place for a Young Professional to live with all the amenities they expect, but also make it a great place to raise a family, which is the next step in many of the lives of our Young Professionals. Learn more about Darrell by visiting the Duncan for Kingsport website or Facebook...

Meet the Alderman Candidate – Rack Cross

Meet the Candidate – Rack Cross What is your profession & background? I am retired from the City of Kingsport Administration.  My work experience has an emphasis in Public Safety, Housing, and Livability. Why are you running for Alderman? I am running for the position of Kingsport Alderman because I am passionate about cultivating progress in my community and as a mechanism to effectively promote Kingsport as the wonderful place that it is while continuing to recruit and retain entrepreneurs, businesses, residents and visitors with creative partnerships including development and implementation of livability features that yield economic growth from an outdoor recreation and entertainment platform. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? Kingsport is a great place. I am positive about the future of Kingsport because I am closely connected to our community with members that are engaged in the active pursuit of community progress. Our combined efforts are producing consistent wins and our unwavering desire to continue has brought focused and achievable goals that when met will exhibit significant net growth on several fronts.  Kingsport is responding with spirited resilience to an era of significant change. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? I will employ every resource available and seek potential resources to invest in Kingsport to make her even more attractive to young professionals who represent not only the future of our city but in a very tangible way, Kingsport now. Key points in my campaign platform include economic and population growth features fueled by outdoor recreation and entertainment venue developments. Learn more about Rack by visiting the official Elect Rack Cross...

Meet the Alderman Candidate – Betsy Cooper

Meet the Candidate – Betsy Cooper What is your profession & background? I am a retired Kingsport City School teacher and currently the Director of the First Broad Street Child Care Center. Why are you running for Alderman? I have a desire to serve the community that has given so much to me and my family. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? I appreciate the strong sense of community we have in Kingsport. I believe in the Kingsport spirit. I know when city leaders and the citizens work together, we can achieve great things. We have one of the best school systems in the state of Tennessee, extraordinary police and fire departments, a dedicated public works department, and unique amenities like our parks and Greenbelt. There is no better place to raise a family, work and enjoy the beauty of the mountains. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? I will work to make sure quality of life issues are a priority. I will support events and venues that bring the citizens of Kingsport together to celebrate and share the sense of community spirit that is deeply rooted in our city. As an alderman, I also realize that the private sector must step up to take the lead on events, programs and projects, followed by public funding in cases where our community benefits. Learn more about Betsy by visiting the Betsy Cooper for Kingsport Alderman Facebook...

Meet the Alderman Candidate: Joe Begley

Meet the Candidate – Joe Begley   What is your profession & background? Real estate broker and MBA from Wake Forest University Why are you running for Alderman? I want to push the City and Board to be better. Kingsport needs to be more than mediocre. We need to be innovative and ahead of the curve. Why are you positive about Kingsport’s future? We have great education, great community involvement, outstanding safety and beautiful natural resources. The young people we have currently are ambitious and want to contribute. We currently have a stable job market but we need to diversify the job market. We need to do everything in our power to bring small to medium sized businesses to the area. What will you do to make Kingsport even more attractive to a Young Professional? Unfortunately, we are a city with older demographics. It’s hard to bring young folks consistently to Kingsport without a mass of other young folks. We can continue to hold the concerts, festivals and events but at the end of the day our city sleeps at 9. Additionally, we get many of the young folks back when they start having a family and that’s not so bad.   Learn more about Joe by visiting the Joe Begley for Alderman Facebook...