There have been talks since December 21st of last year regarding the government shutdown. Is it the fault of the President and his wall or Nancy and Chuck’s position on not giving anything to get something? Either way, no matter whose at fault, the shutdown is affecting over 800,000 federal employees. What it doesn’t take into account is the millions of others it is affecting as well.Continue reading “Steak and Shrimp and LOTS and LOTS of Lies”
We have a lot to talk about in this week’s newsletter. First off, as we mentioned last week, there was a case in Illinois in which an inmate at a halfway house had filed a 2241 motion trying to get his release from halfway house due to the good time fix. Unfortunately, the court denied him relief. In it, they stated that section 102(b)(2) of the First Step Act states that this subsection will not go into effect until after the Attorney General releases the risk assessment system. Continue reading “PREA, First Step and Other News”
We’ve had several people ask for a breakdown of the First Step Act and so I figured this week I would highlight the portions that would apply to most of us (sex offenders). Thanks to our friend Brandon Sample at www.sentencing.net, he has assisted us with some of these tasks. Below is a simple question and answer that hopefully will assist in answering some of those questions.
Well, as you know by now the First Step Act has passed and is now law. The most common question is when will the good time be recalculated? According to one staff member at my institution, he was told that it would begin January 9th. Nothing is for certain yet on how they will do this or even if that is when they will, but it’s the most I’ve got to go on so far. The rest of the implementations, will take up to seven months to develop, possibly up to six months to implement and then the BOP has up to two years to begin the program development. So this will not be a fast process by any means.
Last week, I had mentioned that if you only put aside $50 per month for 10 years (which obviously I didn’t include the good time), you could save $6,000 for your release. Granted, I know this is not possible for everybody and therefore I am writing this post more towards those who could probably do it. Now, if you worked in UNICOR, this would not be a problem either though.
This week, I am going to talk about some ways you could invest that money for your release. Before I go any farther, I want to make it clear that I am not a financial advisor and the information I am sharing is just general information that I have learned on my own over the years. Do not construe this as telling you what to do, but only making some recommendations.
One of the safest investments is government bonds. Why? Well, you are guaranteed the interest rate. It will not fluctuate. The simplest of these is savings bonds. Before I came to prison, once a month, my mom would go to her bank website and purchase a $100 EE savings bond. EE bonds are sold for half of their face value. Thus, she was only paying $50. The downside to this, is that there is a pretty long wait to redeem them. It is usually twenty years. But, if you either had a long sentence or could spare the money every month, you could invest that $50 and twenty years down the road, could have double the amount you invested.
I have contacted that same bank through the mail and they sent me the paperwork to purchase the bonds. So if you have a local bank branch you have dealt with in the past, contact them and ask if they can provide you paperwork to purchase savings bonds through the mail.
A second option is one I actually came across while reading an inmate publication. I believe the author was in a California State prison and as part of a class, was able to purchase several individual stocks and watched them grow (and shrink) over several years. The problem with this is normally, a company will not let you purchase a stock unless you already own at least one share, unless you use a broker. This is hard for many people in prison because of company regulations.
One company who does offer these services is called Temper of the Times/The Money Paper. According to the initial paperwork I received, they say “The transactions are handled by Temper of the Times Investor Services, Inc. (Temper) is a broker/dealer registered with the SEC and a member of FINRA. The sole purpose of this brokerage is provide the initial share(s) required by companies in order for an investor to join the plan.”
What Temper does is you pay them and they purchase the initial share and then transfer it to you. Therefore, you now have a stock listed under your name. However, purchasing just one share is really not recommended. It is your responsibility to continue to invest and purchase additional shares that will eventually add up over time.
The main advantage in this is that they offer what are called DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans). When a company makes a profit, they have the option (though not required) to pay a small amount called a dividend. Normally, this is not much at all. In fact, an entire year may only be $1.60 (or $0.40 per quarter). With a DRIP though, those dividends are automatically reinvested and more shares are purchased. Just because a share is listed at say $20.00 a share, you can actually purchase portions of a share normally. If you know anything about interest, specifically compounding interest, you will know that it can add up very quickly.
Just a few of the companies that offer DRIPs include 3M Company, Johnson and Johnson, Pepsi and Casey’s General Store. Three are hundreds of companies that offer these DRIPs and most are actually without any additional fees. Temper works by taking the fifty-two week high stock price and adding a “cushion” to it plus their fee. This can be anywhere between $30-$60 depending on if you become a member with their company. This fee is not the same as any fees from the actual company whose stock you purchase. What this is about is if the fifty-two week high is say $50.00 and they add a 20% cushion, you would pay $60.00 + $60.00 in fees (if you don’t become a member). When Temper goes to purchase the stock (which is usually done only once a month), any excess amount of the purchase price (minus the $60 fee) will be refunded back to you as long as its $25 or more.
This is a great way to get a foot in the door and begin investing. Stocks are usually the most risky investment you can have, but they also have the greatest rate of return. This past year, the stock market reached it’s highest level on record, but now, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is around 21,000 points, down from a high of around 26,000. The economy is on the downhill slide and many economists say we are what is called a correction. When the market begins to go up faster than it should, it automatically begins to correct itself and thus many stocks tumble. As you’ve probably heard, buy low, sell high. This is the perfect time to do this as I can almost guarantee that the economy will recoil and in the next year, you could see returns as high as 30-40% possibly according to some investors (though again we hold no personal claim to this).
Being in prison doesn’t always mean you have to sit and suffer. You can begin learning about all types of investment opportunities even while incarcerated. Read financial publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine or the Economist magazine. You will be surprised at how easy some of these things can be.
If you would like more information on Temper of the Times, contact them at the address below and tell them you would like to receive information on their DRIP program.
Temper of the Times
PO Box 451
Rye, NY 10580
#BackSoSoon is a blog dedicated to helping sex offenders successfully reintegrate back into society. Our Corrlinks address is email@example.com and our website is www.backsosoonblog.com
The FIRST STEP Act is all but a finality now. In fact, possibly by the time you read this message, President Trump will have signed it into law. On Tuesday, the Senate passed it with a vote of 86-12 and yesterday, the House passed it by a vote of 358-36. According to CNN, President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law Friday (today) in the Oval Office.
We are continuing to monitor any updates on the First Step Act. Some rumors have been going around saying that the Senate passed it on Thursday. To the best of my knowledge, nothing has been voted on yet. In the event anything does happen, we will let you know. The bill must be voted on in the Senate and then sent back to the House to be voted on again and then signed by President Trump before it becomes law. To keep from getting false hopes up, even if the bill passes the Senate, we will let you know in the regular newsletter. However, once it passes both houses and is signed by the President, we will send a special notice. If you would like to keep track of it more closely, feel free to add our friends at Legal Information Systems (LISA Legal) to your contact list. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
While many federal prisoners and their families await the outcome of the First Step Act, many senators are still not on board. According to the executive director of Justice Action Network, Holly Harris, “70 to 80 senators already support the proposal.” One of the holdouts is Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas). Continue reading “Cotton’s Lies Lead to Others Against First Step Act”
Author’s Note: Well, our hands and our brain have different ideas and this post to the wrong person. So, we apologize for the delay as we are now just getting it posted. Continue reading “A Look at the First Step/Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act”