Thursday, November 16, 2017

Everything you need to know about the Run to Feed the Hungry - Sacramento's Thanksgiving tradition

What is your Thanksgiving tradition? It probably involves getting together with family, eating enough to keep you stuffed until mid-December, and maybe watching a little bit of football from the couch. 

But for many Sacramentans, Thanksgiving Day is also synonymous with the Run to Feed the Hungry, one of the most spirited and celebrated fun races in America – and all for a great cause.

Here are some more facts about the Run, sometimes also referred to as “the Turkey Trot:” 

The Run to Feed the Hungry will commence its 24th annual event this Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving morning

This year, the 5k and 10k run (or walk) is expected to break its own record for attendance, with more than 30,000 runners registering to participate.

The current record for attendance at the Run to Feed the Hungry was 29,002 in 2016 and, before that, 28,544 in 2013 for the race’s 20th anniversary.

Not only do we have an impressive drove of runners, but tens of thousand supporters, bystanders, well-wishers and volunteers at the race every year.

That makes this “Turkey Trot” one of the largest Thanksgiving Day runs, charity fundraiser, and events in the entire country.

Of course, the whole point of getting out too early every Thanksgiving morning, often braving the cold and rain, is to raise money for a great cause, the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

The charity race was established in 1994 when a modest 796 runners and patrons showed up for the first Turkey Day road race through East Sacramento.

The event raises donations for the Sacramento Food Bank (the official name is Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, or SFBFS). While exact totals aren’t available, it’s expected to bring in more than $1,000,000 in donations in 2017.

The SFBFS provides food, clothing, education, and other support services to about 50,000 men, women and children every month in our greater Sacramento community.

They do this by implementing their 15 signature programs with 210 other local agencies, all focus on educating and empowering people so that they can achieve financial independence. The SFBFS focuses on education, not giving hand-outs, to foster self -sufficiency.

The Sacramento Food Bank operates with the help of 10,000 volunteers, putting in 85,000 work hours every year for free.

Free programs offered in the community include:
  • Emergency goods
  • Adult and parent education
  • Youth education
  • Immigration legal services
  • Refugee resettlement services
  • SMUD EnergyHELP services
  • Produce For All
  • Commodities for Communities
  • Nourishing our Neighbors
  • Partner Agency Network
  • No Student Left Hungry
  • Food for Seniors
  • CalFresh
  • Health & Nutrition

While it’s quite a production, the Run to Feed the Hungry is able to keep their operational costs low, thanks to corporate sponsors, generous individual donations, donated goods and services, hard-working volunteers, and the continued support of so many regular people in the community.

Some notable highlights from the Run to Feed the Hungry over the years:

The record for the coldest temperatures for a Run to Feed the Hungry was in 210 when it was a bone-chilling 28 degrees on Thanksgiving morning!

While this race is for charity and there is plenty of family fun to be had, it’s also a serious road race. In fact, some of the top times for the 5K include 14 minutes and 50 seconds for the male group, or 17 minutes, 10 seconds for the female group.

For the 10K, best times include an impressive 30 minutes, 13 seconds for the male group and 36 minutes, 4 seconds for the female group.

Celebrating diversity and access to the event for all Sacramentans, there is now a wheelchair race category at this Turkey Trot. Racers with lower body disabilities or other injuries can compete with hand-powered cycles.

Joining a team to raise money and run as a group is a big part of the race’s fun. In the past, it took a minimum of 20 registered runners to form a team, but now, it’s much more fun since only four people can sign up as their own team.

The record for the largest group at the Run to Feed the Hungry was by Christian Brothers High School, when 449 students, teachers, and parents ran in the same team, barely beating out rival St. Francis High School’s 446-person team.

Fun and funny hats, costumes, and other props have become an entertaining tradition at the Run, whether for racers, walkers, or even bystanders and volunteers. You’re likely to see everything from hats resembling turkeys, corn cobs, slices of pie, full turkey and bunny suits, plenty of men and women in tutus, painted faces and brightly colored socks and gear.

Along the race course, there are even bands set up intermittently, playing lively music to entertain and encourage the crowd. One of my favorites is the Elvis Impersonator that usually plays near the 65th Street junction!

The unsung heroes that make the Run to Feed the Hungry possible every year are the volunteers. In fact, about 650 caring citizens signed up to help out at this year’s race, showing up as early as 4 am to perform tasks like setting up, directing crowds, passing out water, working the registration tables, and cleaning up and picking up trash. If you’re at the race, thank one of these warm-hearted people in orange shirts!

If you’d like to run, attend, or even volunteer, here are some more details about this year’s Run to Feed the Hungry:

10K Run & 5K Run/Walk to support Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

Thanksgiving morning - Thursday, November 23, 2017 — Rain or Shine!
10K - 8:15 a.m. • 5K - 9 a.m.

The race starts on J Street just west of the entrance to the Sacramento State campus and runs through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento.

How much?
Regular Registration (Friday, November 16 - Wednesday, November 22) - $40
Race Day Registration (Thanksgiving Day, November 23) - $45 *Race day registrants will not be timed

For more information, visit

For more information:
For general information call (916) 456-1980.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Research shows that if you want to be wealthy, don’t do THIS…

There are plenty of factors that predict future wealth, from education levels to career choices, saving habits and, yes, home ownership. But one fact that's often overlooked when discussing the road to riches is that people who get married – and stay married – end up with significantly higher net worths.

Of course, it’s an unfortunate fact of life that “I do” sometimes becomes “I don’t,” and couples file for divorce. In fact, the divorce rates in the U.S. have grown significantly in the U.S over the last two decades and now sit between 40 and 50 percent.

We can listen to anecdotal marital advice from happily wed icons like Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffet, and other wealthy patrons, who attribute stable and sustained matrimonial partnerships as part of the teamwork philosophy that helps them succeed. But studies and hard data also show that personal wealth is significantly eroded with divorce – and that getting and staying married is one indicator of obtaining financial comfort.

A study published in the Journal of Sociology found that over time, divorce reduces a person's wealth by an average of 77 percent compared to that of a single person, while being married almost doubles comparative wealth, to 93 percent.

Furthermore, a report by the General Accountability Office determined that women's household income fell 41 percent on average post-divorce, while it was 20 percent for men.

Of course, the financial burden during the divorce process and when someone is newly single can be crushing, but it's more than just the burden of basically doubling household costs as they are now living single.

First off, the cost of divorce can be prohibitive. If the divorce is contentious, both parties get legal counsel, there are children in the picture, or considerable assets to divide, the price tag can mount quickly. According to, the average cost of a divorce in the U.S. is now about $20,000 to $30,000.

There is also the huge financial blow that comes from paying alimony and child support, which further stretches individual budgets for costs that don't exist for married couples.

Here are some other ways that a divorce will erode finances and inhibit wealth:

·      Credit cards and mortgage banks aren't bound by divorce decrees. That means that you can't just simply take your name off of a mortgage or credit card debt just because you are deciding to split it that way in the divorce.

·      The only way to get a mortgage out of your name is if the other person refinances (and they will have to qualify) or possible through a modification in some rare cases. The only way to get a credit card out of your name is to pay it off or transfer the balance to another card.

·      If one person files bankruptcy, but the other ex-spouse does not, then that person is still legally responsible for the debt obligation. For instance, California is a "Community Property State." That means that any debt you acquired during the marriage, even if it isn't in your name, is your obligation.

·      The taxation picture can change drastically. Couples need to check with the IRS and their tax preparer as to what changes need to be made, but in general, alimony is taxable income to the recipient and a deductible cost to the payer. Each year, almost 600,000 federal tax returns report paying an aggregate $10.7 billion in alimony!

·      Credit score is often impacted. When you obtained credit, you and your spouse engaged in a contract agreeing to pay your bills. Unfortunately, a divorce decree doesn't change that contract. When you divorce, each of you remains fully liable for your debts.

Being faithfully wed for the long term also offers the advantage of economies of scale. From health insurance to automobiles, mortgage payments to vacation spending, only paying once as a unit ostensibly doubles their spending power.

And over time, those saved funds grow exponentially when used for the right purposes, like paying off debt, investing, etc. That’s one key reason why married people end up having significantly higher net worths than their unmarried or divorced counterparts.

In fact, research into the topic by Jay Zagorsky, a scientist at The Ohio State University, found that each person that gets (and stays!) married ends up with about double the wealth of a single person, or those who never get married. But since there are two to a married couple, that means their combined wealth is actually four times that of a single person’s!

According to the Census Bureau, the median net worth for a married couple between the ages of 55 and 64 is $261,405, compared to only $71,428 for a man heading a household and $39,043 for a woman heading a household.

But is it that married people accumulate more wealth, or wealthier people are getting married? Both are probably true, according to studies. People with higher education and income levels tend to marry at higher rates and divorce less than their less educated and lower means counterparts.

According to a 2014 study, in households that made:

$125k income or more were 51% less likely to get divorced
$100k-$125k 42% less likely to get divorced
$50k - $100k 39% less likely
$25-$50k only 31% less likely to get a divorce.

Ironically, the most significant decreases in marriage rates and increases in divorce rates have come among the poor and lower class in recent years – the exact demographic who would benefit the most from joining and pooling their finances.

Furthermore, in most marriages, one spouse or the other takes a leading role in financial management. It's not that the other isn't capable, but it just makes sense that two people don't overlap their work, time, and energy handling the same task. So after a divorce, you usually end up with one person unaccustomed to managing their finances but thrust unwittingly into that role with little help or support.

From a real estate standpoint, the theory that divorce erodes wealth makes perfect sense. Consider that it often takes two people to qualify for a mortgage when it comes to compiling a down payment, fitting into the Debt-to-Income parameters, and especially making the monthly payment. But couples that stay married are also more likely to pay down and pay off their mortgage, invest in rental properties and other real estate, and prioritize saving for the future instead of frivolous personal spending.

There are plenty of other childcare, retirement, tax filing and household cost advantages for married people.

So, love aside, if you want to become wealthy, get married and stay married! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

20 Facts about the Sacramento Business Journal

1. For more than 33 years, the Sacramento Business Journal has served and connected the business communities in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.

2. In fact, the Journal printed their first Sacramento issue on December 17, 1984.

3. Far from just a printed weekly newspaper, the Sacramento Business Journal offers a myriad of forms to share information and interact with their audience. In fact, the ‘Journal includes a website, a great PDF digital edition, daily email updates and Morning Roundup Emails, fantastic events and an active social media presence. 

4. They’re also well known for their highly anticipated regular special editions. The Business Journal publishes a popular annual Top List series that highlights the best of the best in businesses, organizations, and individuals in the Sacramento business world, and other community and networking events.

5. They’re printed newspaper reaches 70,000 readers, business leaders, and community stalwarts every week.

6. Likewise, their social media accounts and online editions attract tens of thousands more followers.

7. The offices of the ‘Journal are located at Plaza 555 at 555 Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento.

8. While many of their articles are posted online at

9. It is a subscription site, but it's well worth it in my opinion because you’ll receive enhanced content, special interviews, expanded lists, and digital editions of the Book of Lists and other downloadable content.

10. However, a free account will still get you access to most weekly article content, and as well as an incredible series of tips and training that should be in any marketer’s toolbag. You’ll also be able to read about when our business leaders change companies or careers, and other important developments.

11. I suggest their daily email updates for busy business leaders on-the-go, with breaking headlines from 17 industries and complete market and economic listings. You can easily customize what kind of content and stories appear in your daily email.

12. Far from a local and independent start-up, the Sacramento Business Journal is a product of their national parent company, American City Business Journals (ACBJ). This media umbrella is actually the largest publisher of metropolitan business weekly news sources in the country.

13. Based out of Charlotte, NC, the ACBJ includes 43 business publications in cities around the nation similar to the Sac Biz Journal, with a total readership of about 3.6 million (more than 1% of the U.S. population) every week!

14. One of the best features from the Sacramento Business Journal is their highly anticipated awards, dished out each year to Sacramento's top movers and shakers in the form of their special lists.]

15. Some of Sactown’s favorite include:

You can see all of the Biz Journal lists here.

16. ou can order a Book of Lists, or, in an amazing feature, start your own list with the Business Journal online!

17. The Sacramento Business Journal benefits from some sage and serious leadership. That includes David Lichtman as Publisher (, Editor-in-Chief Adam Steinhauer (, and Managing editor Sam Boykin (

18. Would you like to notify the Journal of an award, employee milestone or offer recognition to someone – or yourself? You can find their submission form on their website: fill out the form (but you’ll need an account)

19. Do you have a good topic for an article you’d like to see or a story idea? Contact the Journal here: fill out the form (with an account).

20. To follow them on Facebook, go to:
and their Twitter handle is @SacBiz 
Or, you can give them a call at (916) 447-7661 or send an email to

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Want to buy a luxury home but the down payment is daunting? Here are 10 things that will help.

It used to be that buying a home meant coming up with at least 20% of the purchase price, a sizable amount. But purchasing a luxury or high-end home was even more cash cumbersome, with some lenders requiring a 30% down payment. If you were purchasing your dream home for $1,000,000, $750,000, or even $500,000, the down payment can easily add up to an intimidating sum.

Likewise, even an average home purchase can require a sizable down payment in high-cost areas (hello, California!), often preventing first time home buyers from getting their first keys. Studies show that renters in the nation’s 20 largest metro areas say that coming up with a down payment is the #1 obstacle to buying a home. And in areas like San Jose and Los Angeles with super high-cost real estate, a 20% down payment adds up to 180% of median income for one year! 

Thankfully, there are better options for home buyers these days when it comes to down payments. In fact, last year, the average down payment on a single-family home purchase was only 14.8%. And according to Freddie Mac, about 40% of all homebuyers put down less than 10% on the overall value of their homes. 

Of course, you’ll want to contact a great mortgage broker to discover all of your loan options, but here are 10 great ways luxury home buyers can make that down payment more affordable:

1. A jumbo loan may offer less than 20% down.
When purchasing a luxury home, you’ll likely want to explore a jumbo mortgage loan. A jumbo loan is just a non-conventional loan for a purchase price/loan amount higher than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s loan limits. Currently, those limits sit at $636,150 in high-price areas (much of California), or $424,100 for the other 93% of the U.S. While a jumbo loan will give you the funds necessary to close on your dream home, it does come with additional scrutiny and requirements from the lender. 

Some jumbo loans traditionally even required 30% down payment, but the good news is that these days, certain jumbo loans will allow you to put only 5 or 10% of the purchase price down, making a luxury home purchase imminently more realistic.

2. Ask the seller to finance a piece of the mortgage.
While this practice has become far less prevalent, having the seller offer some form of secondary-financing is a great option for luxury home buyers who don’t want to (or can’t) part with a sizable down payment. Quite simply, the seller will back up your mortgage financing with a small second personal loan, maybe for 5, 10 or even 20% of the purchase price, closing the gap on what you need to put down. 

Why would a seller do this? Luxury homes are often harder to sell, with fewer buyers to choose from and bigger price drops in a soft market. So seller-financing is a great win-win for the seller, too, if it means the difference between finalizing a sale at the price you want.

3. Borrow from retirement funds.
One legitimate option for luxury home buyers to come up with the necessary down payment is to borrow or withdraw from retirement funds. Of course, you'll want to consult your financial planner and tax adviser to work out a strategy that makes sense. But some 401(k) plans allowed you to take out 50% of their vested balance up to $50,000 as a tax-free loan, although the loan has to be repaid after a specific period (usually five years). 

You can also withdraw funds from a traditional IRA or up to $10,000 without getting hit the 10% penalty, although you might have to pay taxes on the amount.

Again, check with your financial planner well ahead of time and also ask your mortgage broker about doing this within loan guidelines, but many luxury home buyers find a little down payment help from their retirement accounts.

4. Borrow from family.
Today’s home buyers are having such a challenging time coming up with the necessary down payment that about 25% of them are turning to family and friends for gifted funds to help them buy. There’s no reason why you can’t formulate a similar arrangement to come up with the funds for a luxury home downpayment.

5. Consider an FHA loan.
FHA’s loan limits are based on a percentage of the national conforming loan limit. So in high-cost areas (like most of California!), the FHA loans may go all the way up to $636,150. AN FHA loan may also be attractive because it usually allows a much lower down payment, sometimes as low as 3.5% for qualified borrowers. While you may have to Private Mortgage Insurance and there are other restrictions with FHA loans, it's worth looking into for a higher-end house purchase.

6. Work with a mortgage broker who specializes in luxury real estate. 
You’ll have a lot of options when searching the right mortgage broker or lender to handle your purchase loan, but you may be well served interviewing a lender that commonly works with luxury real estate. Their experience, product and industry knowledge, and relationships with banks and lenders could prove helpful! 

7. Keep a great credit score.
One of the best ways to ensure that you get the best rates, terms, and loan options available – including a minimal down payment – is to keep a great credit score. Typically, lenders consider home buyers with super-prime credit scores (760 and above, but an 800+ score doesn't hurt!) as low-risk borrowers, so they'll offer the best possible pricing and conditions. Consult your mortgage broker, but you'll also want to check your credit well before your home purchase and make sure your score is tip-top.

8. Check with your bank.
You’ll have plenty of options when it comes to applying for a mortgage loan, but it may be worth your time to check with the bank that has your accounts, too. If you have significant funds, investments, or retirement accounts with one bank branch, they may have some leeway in offering great low down-payment options for your luxury home purchase.

9. Take out a second loan.
In years past, it was common for home buyers to take out an 80% first loan and then back that up with a 20% second loan, eliminating the need for any down payment at all – and also avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance. While those subordinate loans aren't as popular these days, you may still be able to find second position financing to ease the burden of coming up with a big down payment out of pocket. 

10. Find funds from other sources.
When necessity requires, homebuyers often become resourceful and find funds from other sources to soften the down payment blow. That may include tapping into an equity line or cash-out refinance from another property, personal loan, or business loan. 

Contact us if you have more questions about down payments or buying your dream home!