8 things baristas want you to know about coffee shop etiquette

Coffee shop owners and baristas Kat Möller and Luka Sanchez. Melissa Petro
Coffee shop owners and baristas Kat Möller and Luka Sanchez.

  • Insider spoke with over 15 baristas to ask about proper coffee shop etiquette.
  • Be friendly to your barista but don’t expect them to engage extensively in idle chit-chat.
  • If you’re a remote worker, be neat and courteous and purchase more items if you stay for a few hours.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Being a barista can be a challenging job. They’re on their feet all day, maneuvering equipment that is messy, and potentially dangerous with exposure to loud noises, hot liquids, chemicals. On top of all that, they have to deal with customers, some of whom are finicky and downright rude.

Want to make your barista’s life easier? Below, here’s some barista-recommended etiquette to keep in mind when grabbing your morning brew.

1. Curiosity is welcome, but keep the line moving

If you’re new to the scene, the million and one options on the average espresso bar’s menu can be a little intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, said former Starbucks employee Laura LeMoon, 35.

Most baristas are happy to help you pick out a drink – just bear in mind they might not have time to explain every item if there’s a line out the door.

2. Don’t demand ‘service with a smile’

Baristas are known for their friendliness, but not every cafe requires their employees to force smiles and fake pleasantries. This may be a good thing, considering that at least one study on the coffee industry found that faking positive emotions is detrimental to a barista’s physical and mental health.

If a barista is busy or just not in the mood for idle chit chat, respect their need for space.

3. The customer isn’t always right

When it comes to coffee, it’s OK to be particular, says Abby Seitz, 24, a former barista at a local cafe in Jerusalem, but don’t be rude if the drink you receive is different than what you expected.

“Don’t act surprised when your cappuccino doesn’t have the same thick layer of foam if you order your drink vegan,” Seltz said. “Soy and almond milks don’t foam as well as their dairy counterparts.”

4. Be patient

“It truly sucks to be stared at and be told what to do while we’re making the drinks we’ve been trained to make,” former Starbucks employee Lisa Marie Basile told Insider.

Whether you’re waiting for the barista to perfect your drink or there’s a large group ahead of you, it’s rarely the barista’s fault if the line’s slow. If you’ve got somewhere to be in a hurry, it may be best to brew your coffee at home.

5. Make yourself comfortable – but not too comfortable

We’ve all seen the meme of the guy with his bare feet up on the coffee table and his newspaper spread a mile wide. Don’t be that guy, said Alyssa P., 39, a former barista in Pittsburgh, and avoid “taking up space, assuming women want to chat with them, and being otherwise loud and obnoxious.”

Remember, it’s not your home. Leave your shoes on, and keep your belongings close by. Also, don’t try to control the atmosphere. The barista can’t constantly change the station or turn the music up and down to satisfy everyone’s taste. Bring headphones if you have musical preferences, and wear layers if there’s a chance you’ll find the environment too hot or too cold.

6. Be a respectful remote worker

Luka Sanchez is the owner of Common Grounds Lounge Cafe in Jefferson Valley, New York.
Luka Sanchez is the owner of Common Grounds Lounge Cafe in Jefferson Valley, New York.

Coffee shops expect people lingering over laptops, but not all locations are equally accommodating. Choose a place with plenty of seating, and share your table or move on if the place starts to get crowded.

“Be mindful and make room for new customers,” said Luka Sanchez, 26, owner of Common Grounds lounge Cafe in Jefferson Valley, New York.

7. Be courteous if you come in as a group

Whether its an organized book club or casual get-together of friends, coffee shops are great locations for groups to gather. Just keep in mind, “there’s a certain crowd size that is appropriate,” said Clinton Owner, 41, a former barista at Dino’s Cappuccinos in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

At Dino’s, says Owner, a group of more than five would began to dominate the atmosphere in a way that made the space unwelcoming to other customers. Choose a space that’s large enough to allow for your whole group, plus others.

8. Spend money and don’t forget to tip

Kat Möller is the owner of Kat's Coffee in Thalpe, Southern Province, Sri Lanka.
Kat Möller is the owner of Kat’s Coffee in Thalpe, Southern Province, Sri Lanka.

Baristas are happy to accommodate you. That said, your purchases help pay their wages. And if you’ve been there awhile, buy something else. According to Kat Möller, owner of Kat’s Coffee in Thalpe, Southern Province, Sri Lanka, “one item per hour would be appreciated.”

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Inside the star-studded beach club turned luxury waterfront villa on the French Riviera that’s currently on sale for $12.5 million

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe
Villa La Garoupe in Cape d’Antibes on the French Riviera.

  • La Garoupe is a luxury waterfront villa located in Cape d’Antibes on the French Riviera.
  • In its heyday, the beach-front residence was a resort popular among the likes of Edith Piaf and JFK.
  • Now, the remodeled villa features four bedrooms, a heated splash pool, and spacious sundecks for entertaining.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
During its mid-20th century heyday, La Garoupe was a star-studded French Riviera beach club, frequented by the likes of JFK, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Sean Connery.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

In 2007, its current owners converted it into a unique private residence. Now, it’s been listed on the market by Cap Villas Agency at USD $12.5 million.

Emilia Jedamska/Cap Villas, Villa La Garoupe

“Located directly on the beach of Cap d’Antibes, this property offers guests a remarkable slice of history and panoramic views of the Mediterranean,” said listing agent Emilia Jedamska of Cap Villas.

Emilia Jedamska/Cap Villas La Garoupe

Built into a rocky outcrop, La Garoupe still retains much of its original beach club layout; there are even still beach cabins that date from its celebrity heyday.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The whitewashed residence has a breezy, open feel.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The design scheme throughout the villa is light and bright, with billowing white curtains, light furnishings, natural stone tiles, and polished wood highlights.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The open-plan kitchen and dining area have floor to ceiling doors and ample space for entertaining.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The dining room opens out onto a wide terrace area for lounging and sweeping water views.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The calm waters of the Côte d’Azur are steps away, with a sun deck just 15 feet from the sandy beach and a walkway that leads out onto shallow rocks.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

There are four bedrooms in total, including one with a private entrance that can be accessed independently of the rest of the house.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The villa’s outdoor areas are sunny and expansive, with space to host cocktail parties or more formal sit-down dinners.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

The property maintains a sense of privacy thanks to a ring of lush, manicured hedges, while palm trees and bougainvillea also add a touch of color to the whitewashed scheme.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

A heated splash pool is set into the wooden platforms at the back of the property, behind which is a daybed framed by a large reflective mirror that evokes its beach club past.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

Robert Levitt, a local house historian at Via Nissa, told Insider the property once belonged to a wealthy Italian family called Giotti, who decided to open up the beach to the public after WW1.

La Garoupe archive Courtesy Alain Bottaro/Mairie d'Antibes.

The site became the spot of choice for the A-List crowd in the French Riviera, including legendary French singer Edith Piaf.

Courtesy of Alain Bottaro/Mairie d'Antibes
Edith Piaf pictured with her second husband Theo Sarapo.

Other guests included JFK, pictured here relaxing with friends at La Garoupe during a Riviera sojourn in 1939.

Courtesy of Alain Bottaro/Mairie d'Antibes JFK La Garoupe
JFK (center) with friends at La Garoupe in 1939.

“The property can be used as a house or it can easily be converted back into the beach club or restaurant that made it famous. It still holds a restaurant license,” said listing agent Emilia Jedamska.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe

Until a new owner is found, the villa is also available to rent through Cap Villas for EUR 24,000 (USD $28,000) per week.

Courtesy of Cap Villas La Garoupe
Read the original article on Business Insider

2 people who face eviction on the expiring ban: ‘The nightmare is not over’

A woman walks past a wall in Los Angeles that has graffiti reading "Forgive Our Rent"
The national eviction ban ends on July 31.

  • The national eviction ban ends Saturday, putting many renters at risk.
  • Wendy Fink, a preschool teacher in Phoenix, owes $1,700 in unpaid rent.
  • Mehran Mossaddad, a father in Atlanta, isn’t sure if his landlord will renew his lease.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The national eviction moratorium is set to expire July 31. But as the economy struggles to regain pre-pandemic momentum, many renters are grappling with months of unpaid rent.

The Biden administration on Thursday said renewing the eviction ban is left up to Congress. Experts estimate 6 million Americans face eviction once housing protections end Saturday. Some states have extended the moratorium for a while longer, but most are set to end protections.

In December, Congress approved $25 billion in rental assistance and another $21 billion in March, but the funds have been slow to disperse to landlords and tenants due to software issues, hesitancy among states to sign off on payments, and other complications.

Insider spoke with two people who are uncertain about the future of their housing arrangements and could face eviction when the moratorium ends.

Mehran Mossaddad, 59, is a father living in Atlanta, Georgia, who owed over $23,000 in unpaid rent

A man with glasses in a shirt and tie
Mehran Mossaddad.

When we first entered lockdown last March, I stopped driving for Uber full time to take care of my 10-year-old daughter and help with online learning.

Because there was no daycare, no school, and I couldn’t afford a babysitter, I fell behind in rent and used the $800 I had in savings to pay for food.

I received $125 a week in unemployment (plus an additional $600 a week in federal aid until it ended last year, then $300 a week until it ended two months ago) but it was slow to arrive, and I didn’t receive my first stimulus check until earlier this year due to an error with my social security.

Last August, I received my first eviction notice. My rent is $1,600 a month, and at the time of my first eviction notice I was four months behind. The property management company opened a court case against me, and once that happened I had a record, which made it impossible for me to rent or buy another place. I tried and shopped around at 10 different apartments, but no one would have me.

During this time, I had a lot of anxiety. One day when I came home from the grocery store, I saw police cars outside of my neighbor’s house because they were getting evicted. My knees started shaking so badly I had to sit down. My limbs would go numb in the middle of the night just thinking about whether or not we would have a home the next day.

I don’t think I’ll ever be mended. I have no other family here in Georgia and no Plan B if my daughter and I were to be evicted.

DeKalb County, where I live, puts a cap on how much federal assistance renters can have. Last month, after multiple conversations with the county and the property management, we agreed I would pay $10,000 of the $23,000 I owed in back rent for the eviction notice to be resolved. The county offered $5,000, so I had to scrape together the rest from friends and started driving for Uber again.

Once the agreement was signed and I paid my half of the $10,000, the property management agreed to give me two months of rent for free and forgave the rest. But the eviction notice still remains on my record, and the landlord hasn’t indicated whether or not it will agree to renew my lease at the end of this month.

I hope the government will extend the moratorium, but I still have anxiety attacks because the nightmare is not over. I stay up at night thinking, is this a new era for us? Or is this the beginning of the dark ages?

Wendy Fink, 52, is a preschool teacher living in Phoenix, Arizona, and has $1,700 in unpaid rent

A woman outside looking at the camera
Wendy Fink.

The preschool I work at closed for two weeks in March 2020 and I was furloughed, then opened and closed several more times.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I was able to keep up with our $1,300-a-month rent because I had some money saved and my mother, who was on social security, helped. There were several times where I tried to get on unemployment, but I gave up because it was impossible to get anyone on the phone to help or receive an email back.

Everything changed earlier this year. We started receiving late notices in the mail from our property management because we had over $4,000 in back rent. The apartment complex I live in charges $15 per day for late rent, and it quickly started getting out of hand. I paid what I could, which was not much because I wasn’t working full time, and even with the stimulus checks and living slim, we kept falling short.

In March, we received $3,400 in rental aid from a nonprofit in Phoenix. It was a lengthy process, and I was thrilled to finally be able to start to catch up, but then my mother became very sick and was hospitalized. We found out earlier this summer she had stage four pancreatic cancer.

I didn’t want her to live out her final days in a hospice facility, so we set up a hospital bed in our living room and I stopped working to focus on her health. The doctors said we would have months, but it actually turned out to only be weeks. She passed away in June at the age of 75.

By the time my mother died, I owed $3,900 in back rent. My son paid off $2,200 of it, but as the eviction moratorium is coming to an end I don’t have any hope Maricopa County, where I live, will extend it. I’ve started to prepare for the worst, and in the darkest corners of my mind I think I might have to end up in a residential hotel, which is a dismal place to live.

Last month, I started a GoFundMe to help make up the $1,700 I still owe, but haven’t been able to hit $1,000. It was embarrassing for me to even start a fundraiser because in this country there’s so much stigma around being poor. I’m relying a lot on the generosity of my friends and family right now, but I’m sure I’ll be served with an eviction notice on the first of August. I have no doubt.

The past few months have been stressful and I’m white-knuckling it. The pandemic has made me realize anyone can end up in this situation, especially with wages as low as they are and rent as high as it is. We’re told to save our money, but when you have nothing to save, you can’t prepare for an emergency.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Black business owners are leading a revolution in a Virginia market haunted by its ties to the slave trade

A group of people in masks wearing headphones outside at night
UnlockingRVA’s silent party.

  • Richmond was the second-largest slave-trading hub in the United States.
  • Black business owners are reclaiming the city’s 17th Street Market with events and commerce.
  • “Our whole role is to restore the energy” while “honoring the past,” a yoga therapist and CEO said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

“Richmond is the root of oppression.” That’s one of the ways Ashley J. Williams described the city she’s called home for 10 years.

She said she was speaking of the Virginia capital as a whole, as well as specifically the neighborhood of Shockoe Bottom and the 17th Street Market.

The 17th Street Market has been a site of commerce since the 1700s. Depending on whom you ask, that commerce included enslaved Africans, with the 17th Street Market being the site of an auction block. (Others say it was close to an auction block.) A few minutes away at Lumpkin’s Jail, or Devil’s Half Acre, enslaved people were jailed and tortured before being sold.

Richmond, with a prime location on the James River, was the second-largest slave-trading hub in the United States and the largest on the East Coast.

Today, less than a five-minute walk from the open-air 17th Street Market, you’ll see a few markers for the Slave Trail, but these are easy to miss if you’re not keen on the history.

But for Williams, a yoga therapist and the CEO of BareSOUL, who’s been with the studio since 2015, “there’s energy that’s very present.”

Ashley J. Williams
Ashley J. Williams, the CEO of BareSOUL.

“Our whole role is to restore the energy there and reenvision what it looks like to bring more life and vibrant energy while acknowledging and honoring the past,” she said.

The wellness space, especially yoga, can feel extremely white, she added. BareSOUL employs a dozen Black instructors, and each 17th Street practice begins with a brief history of the space that was once a source of pain.

“The 17th Street Market was a place where Black families were split up. It’s where the Black life was devalued. So the practice of yoga is a practice of connection. And it’s a practice of liberation of our minds,” Williams said.

A group of people on yoga mats in the street
BareSOUL yoga on 17th Street.

Williams isn’t the only small-business owner bringing new life to the space. After being approached by Richmond Parks and Recreation to host an outdoor, COVID-19-friendly event in August, Faith Wilkerson, UnlockingRVA‘s owner and founder, who’s run the event-planning company for five years, lined the concrete and cobblestone walkways with partyers donning neon-lit headphones playing old-school and current tunes.

“Every single moment I step foot on that market, it’s done with authority and purpose because it’s what the ancestors would want us to do. Black Americans have this special gift of turning tragedy and pain into triumph and longevity. You see so much joy in our guests’ faces as they dance the night away, and it makes the moment even more special,” Wilkerson said.

Faith Wilkerson
Faith Wilkerson, the founder of UnlockingRVA.

Participants in yoga or the silent disco usually work up an appetite, so Williams and Wilkerson do their parts to support and promote food vendors, especially Black-owned ones, in the area.

But the women acknowledged initial hiccups in businesses not exactly embracing their audiences, which tend to be predominantly Black.

Williams even recalled one business owner calling the police on a homeless yoga participant. Both women chalked it up to establishments adapting to new faces, new spaces, and a COVID-19 world.

Adrienne Cole Johnson and Melody Short, the cofounders of the Richmond Night Market, also experienced the same blowback from some owners in the area when they brought their nighttime affair to 17th Street two years ago. They said that quickly blew over once they introduced themselves.

The Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market.

Johnson and Short described the work they and the Night Market do as reprogramming and reclaiming the space. The market operates on the second Saturday of each month in the summer to early fall.

Though they’re open to all vendors, Short acknowledged that the market naturally attracts a majority of Black businesses.

“I think people feel safe. It’s different when you’ve got Black women leading the charge because we welcome everybody – versus sometimes when it’s led by other groups. Black people, sometimes, we don’t feel welcome,” Short said. Being heavily invested in the businesses and the people behind the businesses is what she said keeps vendors returning year after year.

A kid selling food outside
A chef at the Richmond Night Market.

For their first in-person event since the pandemic, the market hosted about 20 vendors selling everything from art to handmade goods and food.

“We’re often, as Black people, putting our money in other communities,” Short said. The market allows them to flip the script, she added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A $299-a-month app gave me access to a therapist and psychiatrist to fight pandemic burnout. Here’s what it was like to get help through my phone.

mental health millennial
  • Freelancer Julie Peck felt herself slipping into pandemic-induced burnout, so she sought help.
  • She chose Brightside, an app by a former 23andMe executive that combines psychiatry with therapy.
  • Although she was able to easily get medication that worked, the service had its downsides.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Back in May, I started noticing I was having some issues. I have highly managed bipolar disorder, so I’m no stranger to “issues” – but this was clearly different.

At first, I had trouble completing assignments for work. Then, I lost interest in my favorite Netflix binges and found myself rereading the same paragraphs over and over again in books.

I wanted to see people. I was exhausted all the time and often stared out the window, longing for a change of scenery.

It was easy enough to diagnose: The pandemic-related burnout that had affected 75% of employed people had landed on my doorstep.

The effects of this situation were different from the average depressive episode: My near-constant consumption of COVID-19-related news was clearly bogging me down, as was my irritation related to how my community was handling its response to the pandemic.

These were new and unusual factors and far beyond my control. Now they were affecting my work, my personal well-being, and my relationships with my loved ones.

Read more: I paid $150 to try the popular weight-loss app backed by investors like Tony Xu and Scooter Braun. It taught me better eating habits, but keeping the weight off was harder than expected.

I needed help, and with my busy schedule, I decided to take advantage of one of the many online services available to work at shaking my dark feelings.

If there’s one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it’s the proliferation of options available for mental healthcare online, although access to care for marginalized communities and those who can’t afford to pay for it still lags behind.

After evaluating the surplus of offerings available, I elected to go with Brightside

Brad Kittredge, a former 23andMe executive, told the San Francisco Business Times that he founded Brightside Health in 2017 after witnessing his father’s battle with depression and wondering why the US healthcare system wasn’t more helpful.

screenshot of the Brightside app
The Brightside options to message your provider.

Kittredge got together with Mimi Winsberg, a former in-house psychiatrist at Facebook and now Brightside’s chief marketing officer, who created the basic tool that later became one of the backbones of the Brightside experience.

The company’s stated commitment is to deliver the kind of care it’d want its family members to have, and as of May, the company has secured more than $31 million in funding toward this goal, including a $24 million Series A round from ACME Capital.

For me, the main selling point was its offer to combine psychiatry with therapy

I’ve been in treatment for mental-health issues since the 1990s, so I’ve seen quite a few of these apps. It never really seems like they have a good, coherent grasp on the need to integrate psychiatry with therapy (but then again, neither does the outside world). It appeared that Brightside might be working toward a truly integrated approach, which is why I decided to give it a try.

The app matches you with a medical doctor, who will assess the need for prescription medication, as well as a therapist to develop a “personalized treatment plan.” You can choose a medication-only subscription plan, a therapy-only plan, or a plan that includes both, and charges are as low as $45 per month.

screenshot of the Brightside app
The Brightside interface.

I chose a subscription plan that blended both medication and therapy for $299 per month, with the first month discounted to $199. I’m now in my third month with the service.

One terrific value of this service that’s embedded within it and very well hidden is that all medications prescribed by its providers are $15 – and believe me, for some mental-health-related medications, that could represent a significant savings. Just one of the medications I take is $300 a month without using the GoodRx card.

Also, while I sought treatment for pandemic burnout, Brightside boasts that it treats anxiety and depression in a “full spectrum of related conditions” ranging from panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder to postpartum depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Some online services won’t accept those with diagnoses of bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, for reasons of which I am unsure.

After signing up, I went through a lengthy intake questionnaire that assessed my personal health and my mental-health background, and what I was looking to achieve

The questionnaire asked for general information such as my height and weight, as well as for mental-health-specific information such as what medications I was taking and what treatment modalities I’d tried before. It concluded by asking for specific outcomes I’d like to get from my treatment.

The algorithm then gave me a score on both my depression and anxiety, and those scores were displayed on my homepage, along with my medication and therapy assignment. The score doesn’t appear to be standardized to the DSM-5, just the company’s own particular scoring system that gives it the ability to track your progress. From the user’s side, having everything on one dashboard is convenient.

Based on the questionnaire, I was matched with a psychiatrist and a licensed clinical social worker, both of whom were licensed to practice in my state.

My appointment to see the doctor was within 36 hours of the time that I signed up for the service

My appointment with the therapist was within 48 hours. I was pleased with this response time and hopeful about getting some relief.

screenshot of the Brightside app
Julie Peck’s path on Brightside.

When I met with the doctor, he was understanding about my situation and demonstrated a knowledge of the extensive information I’d already entered into my chart through Brightside’s intake questionnaire.

He went through the medications I’d entered into my questionnaire to ensure that he fully understood what I was already taking and asked my opinion about how each was working. He was warm and personable, and he empathized with me about the feelings I was experiencing.

He asked me how I would feel about him prescribing a medication that I had taken once before, to add to my medication routine. I told him I’d be happy to try it.

I decided to have the prescription filled at the CVS down the street from me, as opposed to having it filled via Brightside’s mail-delivery pharmacy, and that was the end of our interaction.

Since we spoke in the evening, I was able to pick up my prescription the next morning. For some reason, I was a little suspicious about whether the prescription would actually be at the pharmacy, but I picked it up without any hitches.

I talked with the therapist via Zoom

She listened to me discuss my symptoms and what I wanted to get out of therapy. She also let me know that Brightside’s methods are based on cognitive behavioral therapy, and she outlined the therapeutic program, which is structured around 10 interactive lessons, a self-guided, computer-based program that you progress through at your own pace.

At the end of our session, she told me that our next meetup would be in a month, which was a surprise to me. I’d previously read “unlimited access to caring providers” on Brightside’s homepage, and I envisioned that I’d more or less have an always-on Zoom connection with my therapist – not so, I was learning.

To be fair, the text messaging with my therapist was, in fact, pretty much always on. And it doesn’t say anywhere on the Brightside site that you’ll be able to contact your Brightside providers via video chat whenever you feel like it.

But be forewarned that the service is self-directed – which is, incidentally, in line with the price – so if you’re looking for something to deliver more of an up-close-and-personal experience, this isn’t it.

I think technology is the way of the future when it comes to delivering mental healthcare. It cuts through barriers of cost and accessibility. But in a lot of ways, we’re just not there yet.

As a case in point, I got a note from my therapist shortly before billing was to go out for the second month of my subscription to Brightside that she would no longer be with the service. It was a lovely note, but this is a red flag for me: As with choosing a hairdresser, you don’t want to chair-hop from therapist to therapist, even if it’s online.

Subscribing to Brightside was definitely worth it to snap me out of my burnout for the psychiatrist appointment alone

The appointment was quick and easy, and it produced a prescription that has been successful in providing relief.

Whether I’ll continue with the subscription for the medication management alone or discontinue it and leave that function to my primary-care provider remains to be seen.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 people on how ending the COVID-19 student-loan forbearance will impact their lives and finances

Camryn Hicks, Glenda Johnson, and Dylan Cawley.
Camryn Hicks, Glenda Johnson, and Dylan Cawley.

  • The CARES Act student-loan forbearance period comes to a close at the end of September.
  • Insider spoke to three people with between $14,000 and $185,000 in debt about how this impacts them.
  • “With the forbearance ending, student-loan forgiveness is my best bet,” Glenda Johnson said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Millions of Americans are still recovering from the financial turmoil of the pandemic.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, some student loan borrowers were granted forbearance – a pause on monthly payments.

The relief, however, is coming to an end soon: Borrowers must restart making payments after September 30.

Insider spoke with three people about how the end of COVID-19 student-loan forbearance will affect their lives and finances.

Camryn Hicks, 25, has $14,250 in student-loan debt and lives in rural Maine

Camryn Hicks.
Camryn Hicks.

I graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a degree in business and marketing. I’m part of the first generation of women in my family to go to college, and had some financial assistance in the form of loans and grants.

But I didn’t know what my student-loan payments would look like later when I was signing up for them.

When I graduated, I got a job working on a re-election campaign for Elizabeth Warren. I was able to start paying my loans off right away, and have never missed a payment. Warren dissolved her presidential campaign right around the time COVID-19 started to spread, so I ended up moving back in with my parents and starting a new job remotely.

During the forbearance, I’ve been able to make large lump-sum, principal-only payments on my student loans using my stimulus checks. Because of the forbearance, I’ve been able to start playing catch-up with my finances. When my car was stolen, I was able to replace it, and I also opened a retirement account.

For me, the forbearance period was a taste of what cancellation would feel like. The conversation around student loans, I think, focuses too much on the individual, and if that one person is going to be able to pay the debt they signed up for. But it’s an economic problem, not a personal one.

My parents took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in Parent PLUS loans to send both my sister and myself to school. Student-loan debt isn’t a personal burden, it’s a family burden.

In many ways, student loans perpetuate wealth inequality – where the people who don’t have to take them out get a head start. I think we need to stop splitting hairs over who’s worthy of relief.

Glenda Johnson, 32, has $36,693 in student-loan debt and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina

Glenda Johnson
Glenda Johnson.

When I graduated from college in 2011, my student-loan balance was over $50,000, and I’m still paying back most of it.

I’m fortunate because throughout the pandemic, I’ve had a job. I make about $49,000 a year working in the sales department of a big tech company and also freelance on the side.

Most of my loans were in an income-based repayment plan before the forbearance. The forbearance has been able to keep me afloat, because for over a year I haven’t had to worry about being able to make my payments or not.

A few of my loans didn’t qualify for forbearance, so I’ve still been making payments on those.

With the forbearance ending, student-loan forgiveness is my best bet. The job market I graduated into isn’t what they told us it would be when I was in school, and it’s a lot of money to repay when I’m not seeing a rise in income.

Having to make payments again will weigh heavy on me, but I’m staying positive that there will be a solution somewhere – whether it’s me getting a promotion, or getting more money from my side gig.

I remain hopeful because the conversation around student loans is changing, but for whatever reason, we can’t push the needle, and people like me with student loans will have to keep waiting for change.

Dylan Cawley, 32, has $185,682 in student-loan debt and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania

Dylan Cawley
Dylan Cawley.

I graduated with a master’s in public health from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. For my undergraduate degree, I went to a state school, but for my master’s program I had to take out extra loans to pay for my rent and living expenses, which totaled in over $50,000 a year.

With the exception of the six-month grace period after graduation, I’ve been making monthly payments on my loans for over eight years. My federal loans are on income-driven payment, and I’ve been making regular payments on my private loans.

In about four years, I will qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which should forgive about $126,000 of my loans.

The forbearance has given me room to breathe. I’ve always wanted an emergency fund, and thanks to the CARES Act I’ve been able to start one. Once it ends, I’ll have to readjust my budget to include an additional $260 payment.

I think a lot of people who don’t have student loans don’t realize just how stressful it is. We aren’t complaining for no reason.

I’m not holding my breath for student-debt forgiveness. You can’t just forgive all existing student loans. If we forgive all student loans now, we’re going to be in the same situation 15 years from now. We have to start looking at student loans as a whole problem within itself.

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I got as close as possible to the launch site where Jeff Bezos blasted into space – here’s what it was like

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

Early in the morning, before dawn, I pulled into the small West Texas town of Van Horn where the townspeople were about to be awoken by a boom. Two booms, actually.

Andy Luten
Andy Luten.

In 2004, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased a 165,000-ace ranch north of Van Horn and turned it into the launch site for Blue Origin, his pet aerospace company designed to take the first commercial passengers into orbit.

Today Blue Origin launched its first customers into space on their New Shepard rocket, the crown jewel of the company’s space flight arsenal.

In a show of confidence in his product, Bezos volunteered to join its maiden voyage. He brought along three passengers: Mark Bezos, Jeff’s younger brother, Oliver Daemen, a Dutch 18-year-old son of a hedge fund millionaire, and famed female aviator Wally Funk, who would become the oldest person to fly into space.

I drove overnight from Dallas to watch it live this morning, 16 miles north in Van Horn in a restricted area sectioned off by the Texas Department of Transportation for the launch – the closest spectators could be to the rocket. I came because I wanted to witness cutting-edge science and see how it inspires future generations to become interested in accomplishing incredible things.

Andy Luten. Blue Origin Launch

At about 6:30 a.m. local time, I began staking out my place among the assembled media and general public, dodging the reporters touching-up their makeup before their live spots.

I set my camera up around 10 miles from the launch pad and took a quick test shot to ensure I could see the rocket. It was hazy, but I saw the New Shepard in the distance, 90 minutes from lift-off.

Satisfied with my composition, I wandered the crowd meeting people from all walks of life who shared one thing in common that morning: a love of space.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

James Newton and his three sons drove seven hours throughout the night from a town just north of Austin, Texas arriving on site by 4 a.m. They were inspired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight to space just nine days before and decided to make the long trip out west.

I spoke to a husband and wife who made the long drive from Houston. It was their first rocket launch. The wife had loyally drawn a Blue Origin sign that she affixed to the side of their SUV. She posed with another sign inscribed with her sentiments for Richard Branson, who beat Bezos into space by nine days.

As the minutes ticked down, the excitement built. I took one last look back at the small village that suddenly appeared around the official road closure. Nine minutes until lift-off.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

I pulled up the Blue Origin livestream on my phone – “three minutes till launch!” – I yelled out. Everyone excitedly took their positions, binoculars, cameras, and telescopes at the ready.

A rocket takes off differently from what you would expect. You see it before you hear it.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

A bright plume appeared under the booster with exhaust escaping to the side. Gradually, it began to escape Earth’s gravity.

Andy Luten Blue Origin

Gracefully it continued its ascent. And that’s when the first sounds started to ripple. It wasn’t a roar as much as it was waves of sound that you could feel as much as you could hear.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

Cheers erupted from those around me. I faithfully tracked the rocket as it continued into the grey sky.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

On the other side of the clouds, the ship escaped Earth’s atmosphere, eclipsing the Kármán line, the international boundary for space, leaving abstract plumes of exhaust in its wake.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

I pulled up the livestream and heard the glee-filled laughs from inside the crew capsule. Bezos and his fellow passengers floated weightlessly as they reached the edges of the earth.

Back on earth, everyone was as intensely focused as I was.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

The New Shepard is a reusable rocket, which means the main booster separates from the crew capsule and returns to the landing pad.

We could not see the booster descending, but all of a sudden we heard a sonic boom as the rocket broke the speed of sound, and another – boom! – as it approached the ground.

This was, of course, followed by appropriate cheers – “whoa” and “awesome” – from the crowd.

The crew capsule soon followed, descending playfully under blue parachutes.

Andy Luten Blue Origin Launch

As the capsule landed, the parachutes lost their form. I asked some of my newfound space friends what they thought of the launch. Some enjoyed the sounds, others the spectacle of watching something so deceivingly small rocket into space. My favorite response was from one of the kids: “I can’t wait to learn more about space now!”

This is what it’s all about. Many will focus on the billionaire race to space, but there are so many reasons to celebrate Blue Origin today. Wally Funk, who began training for space flight in the 1970s, finally flew into space, long overdue. Humans left the planet and returned safely, and in reusable fashion.

Most importantly, the next generation of space enthusiasts began their journey today. What began with, “whoa” and “awesome,” will one day lead to the world’s next great innovations – all from a little patch of dirt near Van Horn, Texas.

Andy Luten is a travel blogger, professional photographer, and full-time account manager at a major data firm.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 costly mistakes I learned the hard way being the landlord of a 12-unit apartment complex

Author Ryan Lais.
Ryan Lais.

  • Ryan Lais is a career counselor for high school students with disabilities and real estate entrepreneur.
  • After several years as landlord of an apartment complex, Lais says he learned to communicate more with tenants.
  • Ask your tenants to share any issues up front, and be on top of garbage and parking lot maintenance.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In October of 2018, my in-laws, wife, and I purchased a 12-unit apartment complex in Madelia, Minnesota. I had a tremendous amount of anxiety about the $100,000 down payment and the $300,000 we borrowed to invest in the purchase.

Besides the money, I also worried about getting phone calls at all hours of the night with tenant issues and maintenance requests.

But over the first year, the phone didn’t ring. Texts trickled in, but in an underwhelming fashion. In all of our brilliance had we purchased a maintenance free building? Not so much. Here are three costly mistakes I learned the hard way.

1. Invite your renters to “complain” from the very beginning – it’ll save you money

As leases ended and people moved out we did walk-thrus and suddenly heard about leaky pipes, broken bathroom vents, and mold. We’d ask, “Why didn’t you tell us?” and heard, “Didn’t want to be a bother” or “I thought you’d charge me.” I am forever grateful to those that complain – especially about “small” leaks that turn into big moldy nightmares.

2. Secure your garbage – it’s worth a lot

Dumpsters are for garbage and we threw away a lot of money each month that first year. I learned that dumpsters are like big metal magnets that attract everyone in the neighborhood to dump their oversized mattresses, old TVs, and microwaves. Each month there was another big ticket item by our apartment dumpster that we had to deal with, often paying for it to be removed. A $15 a month wireless data plan and a $200 security camera ended the War on Garbage for us at a fraction of the cost.

3. Be on top of parking lot maintenance

Don’t overlook that huge slab of concrete or blacktop you parked on when looking at the building you’re considering buying. I could’ve tripped on the pothole in the parking lot on the way in and still would’ve overlooked it. Turns out little potholes become big potholes. Big potholes become a big liability for someone to trip on, fall, and sue you. We found ourselves needing to borrow another $35,000 to replace the crumbling parking lot. Check the condition of the parking lot or driveway before you purchase a rental property.

Despite these challenges, after three years in the rental property business we’ve reached $150,000 in equity, so I’m grateful for having quality tenants and the opportunity to use real estate to build long-term wealth.

Ryan Lais is a career counselor for high school students with disabilities, real estate entrepreneur, freelance writer, and father currently based in a small prairie town in Minnesota.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The chief talent officer of enterprise tech company HPE shares her 3 best pieces of career advice for breaking into in-demand industries

Black young businesswoman listening to discussion of lawyers during meeting at office
  • Alessandra Ginante Yockelson is chief talent officer at fintech company Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
  • She said any aspiring professional can achieve their career goals with the right approach.
  • Build your professional and personal confidence and champion diversity at every stage, she said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Each year, more than half of a million professionals apply to job vacancies at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a fintech company based in Houston, Texas. Only 12,000 of these applicants were hired globally in 2019.

Alessandra Ginante Yockelson
Alessandra Ginante Yockelson.

Despite the seemingly low odds of landing a position with this enterprise tech leader, HPE’s chief talent officer Alessandra Ginante Yockelson said that nearly 40% of hires in 2019 were gender diverse.

As a woman and immigrant, Yockelson understands that each professional faces unique intersectionalities. She believes that any aspiring professional has the ability to achieve their career goals even if they’re confronted with societal barriers.

“I come from a very humble family in São Paulo, Brazil,” Yockelson told Insider. “I had to overcome a lot of adversities in the beginning.”

She advises job seekers in every industry to follow these three pieces of advice.

1. Build your confidence professionally and personally

“Believe that no matter where you start from – no matter how limited your resources are or how victimized you are by institutionalized racism – there’s a way forward and a strength in you that will show,” Yockelson said.

Experts suggest that low levels of confidence negatively impact your career, especially if you’re a recent graduate.

To build confidence as a person and professional, consider first embracing your past accomplishments, identifying your weaknesses, and strengthening your resume. Other suggestions include:

  • Learning how to align the skill set, achievements, and knowledge you’ve already developed with the requirements of the role you seek
  • Highlighting the skills or certifications that you lack and identifying ways to formally improve them
  • Continuing to enhance your resume through freelance projects and volunteering
  • Seeking out support from peers to help you remain on-track to achieving your goals
  • When feeling lost, consider taking aptitude tests to help you refocus on your unique motivational drivers, expositional traits, and learning style

2. Utilize free resources

Yockelson recently earned her doctorate in business administration. “Education, I truly believe in my case, has opened doors,” she said.

The pandemic has expanded online opportunities and free resources. Princeton, Harvard, and Yale are among the many universities that offer online courses through edX and Coursera, which also features courses led by companies like Google Cloud.

Yockelson insists that job seekers keep in mind that academia isn’t the sole provider of education. She encourages everyone to seek out diverse experiences outside of their comfort zones, even if that means simply grabbing lunch with people you don’t know at work.

3. Proactively champion diversity at every stage

Regardless of industry, all professionals have the power to champion diversity at every stage of their careers.

Leaders can immediately increase diversity on their teams by expanding the scope of job requirements, standardizing the interview process, and intentionally sponsoring employees belonging to minority groups.

By purposefully and publicly making an effort to counter the “invisibility effect,” leaders can elevate their existing employees while encouraging other diverse candidates in the workforce to pursue these roles.

Achieving certain career goals may seem impossible for those affected by intersectionality in the workplace, but Yockelson is determined to give these diverse professionals hope.

“If they knew my story, they would believe that they could do it as well,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The exact series of scripts to use when making new LinkedIn connections

Woman sits in front of laptop.
Job seekers are looking for remote opportunities that provide flexibility.

As a solopreneur, I spend a lot of quality time on Linkedin. I enjoy making connections with people in my industry as well as other professionals doing interesting things with their career or businesses.

Whenever I make a new connection, I always send them a message so that the request to become their friend on the platform is more personal and doesn’t seem random.

The art of meeting people on social media has become the number one way I’ve made new friends during the pandemic, as well as business connections that have led to new mentors, partnerships, and even an increase in sales.

So after you connect with someone on Linkedin, what do you say to them and how do you say it? These are the scripts I use to build a genuine online relationship with someone.

Keep the first message concise

The first message you send to a person should be just a few sentences. The goal? For them to know you’re a real person (not spam) and that you’re glad to have virtually met them on the platform.

Begin the message with a quick hello:

Hi _____,

It’s nice to meet you! I look forward to learning more about you and hope we can continue to connect.

You can add on a sentence about anything you have in common (location, industry, mutual friends).

A quick intro: I’m _____(name) and I _____ (job, business, etc.). I connected with you because ____________.

Looking forward to following your adventure here.

Be sure to reach out with value

Over the next few weeks, find a reason to message the person again. This time, provide value. Compliment them on something they’ve done (a job promotion, a post they wrote on the platform, news about them or their company, etc.).

Here’s an example:

Hi ____,

It was great to see _____(news, promotion, post they wrote). I enjoyed learning about _______ and find it useful as I _____(add in a personal detail about you). I look forward to continuing to follow your adventure.

You can also share something with them that you think they would like (an article, podcast, book, conference, etc.).

Here’s an example:

Hi ______,

It’s been a pleasure following you on this platform. I was recently listening to this podcast episode about ____ and thought it might be something you enjoy because you often discuss ______ topic. Give it a listen if you’re interested! I look forward to continuing to stay up to date on your adventure.

Only make an ‘ask’ once there’s a relationship

If the person you’ve connected with has responded to previous messages and you’ve built a genuine relationship with them, it’s OK to take things to the next level with a specific ask from them, such as connecting in person or over the phone.

You can send a message like this:

Hi ___,

It’s been a pleasure chatting with you here over the past few months. If you’re interested, ______ (ex: let’s meet for coffee/jump on a 20-minute call).

I’d be interested in hearing more about ______ (your career journey, business,etc.) and sharing more about ______ (your career journey, business,etc.).

Even though connecting with someone on the internet might feel a little less personal than meeting in-person, you still want to treat the relationship with authenticity and not be in a rush to use it as personal gain or for personal value.

Ease into getting to know the person before asking for anything. That’s the true secret to LinkedIn connections and online networking.

Read the original article on Business Insider