How to set yourself up as a new freelance reporter

The JCR Weekly recently reached out to Michael Hensley, RDR, chair of NCRA’s New Professionals Committee about what makes a good freelancer and what you need to know in the first few years as a freelancer. If you’re new or considering transitioning from another area of the profession, consider his insights into his first few years as a freelance reporter.

JCR | Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Michael Hensley, RDR

MH | I am a freelance deposition reporter, and I’ve been doing that for a little over three-and-a-half years now. I’m currently located in Dublin, Calif., which is an eastern suburb of San Francisco. My home location is a great spot because I’m equidistant from most major areas for work in Northern California. I’ve covered assignments as far north as Sacramento, as far east as Stockton, and as far south as Monterey. I’ve even gone down to Southern California to cover assignments as well.

I still maintain a license for Illinois, and I recently obtained my CSR for Nevada. So I am able to accept assignments in those regions. I’m open to traveling for a lucrative opportunity. It’s part of what makes me a successful freelancer, in my opinion.

JCR | What was tough for you when you first started working?

MH | I found it difficult to keep up with the workload when I began. My intent was to take on as much work as possible to earn the income I wanted. What I failed to keep in mind was that I needed to still make time to produce transcripts as well as cover depositions. I had many nights where I slept very little to try to stay on time with production deadlines. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to allocate my time and resources to manage that more smoothly, even in such a way to be able to take vacations occasionally.

JCR | Did you have a mentor when you started?

MH | I have had mentors at every level of my education and career. To this day, I still have those I go to and seek advice. I was very fortunate to have some amazing individuals share their knowledge with me along my journey. I worked in a court reporting firm while finishing my education, and I feel that experience gave me a wealth of knowledge that would have taken me years of trial and error to figure out.

Even so, I’m the kind of person who likes to learn things by doing. I feel that making mistakes is the quickest and most valuable way to learn how you can perform a task with greater success. I learned by asking a lot of questions along the way. I then took that information and applied it to my own ideas and processes to develop a system that works for me. I’m continually evolving and growing to sharpen my skills and abilities so that I can be at the top of my game.

JCR | What do you think is the hardest part of starting out?

MH | I think the hardest part of starting out is learning how to interact with others in the profession. There is a certain way to communicate with attorneys; there’s another way you speak with reporting agencies; and there’s a way for you to connect with colleagues. Any of these encounters feels awkward at first. However, if you keep doing it over and over and pay attention to what things you do right and what things you can improve, then you eventually find the way that works best for you to get the job done.

JCR | You’re giving a session called Freelancer Starter’s Kit for NCRA on Tuesday, July 30. How did this session come about?

MH | As part of my efforts with NCRA’s New Professionals Advisory Committee, we are striving to produce content and educational resources to assist individuals who are new to the profession. I often hear many new reporters asking questions such as, “I got my license. Now what do I do?” Entering the freelance arena can be overwhelming at first, and I’m hoping to share what I’ve learned with others so that they can begin a career or a transition smoothly.

JCR | What do you hope people will take away from your session?

MH | I hope participants will gain the confidence they need to operate as an independent entity so that they can enjoy the experience and thrive. While it can be overwhelming, even fearful, working as a freelance reporter is ultimately a thrilling adventure. It is truly liberating to have a sense of control over your destiny, and it is so rewarding to see a direct payoff from your hard work.

You can earn 0.125 CEU by attending the Freelancer Starter Kit, which will be held July 30, 7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. (ET). This session is sponsored by NCRA’s New Professionals Committee, which Hensley chairs. Webinars do not need to be viewed live. They can be purchased now and viewed within a 30-day window of presentation date. They will also be available for purchase later as E-seminars.

TechLinks: Standing desks – Are they right for court reporters?

By Lynette Mueller

Court reporters are always looking for ways to be more productive on the job and at the desk when completing their transcripts. Recently, I shared a link of the best standing desks of 2019 on my Facebook business page and received some great feedback and sharing from it! As the chair of the Technology Committee, I thought our members would love to learn more about the benefits of using a standing desk, as well as some top picks to choose from. 

According to healthline.com: “A standing desk, also called a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. Many modern versions are adjustable, so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing.”

Several peer-reviewed studies suggest that sitting for prolonged periods of time may reduce life expectancy. There is much speculation and not much good data at this time to suggest that using a standing desk will combat the ill effects of sitting. While there is nothing to prove a good outcome from using a standing desk, there may be some benefits for court reporters.

Healthline.com also mentions these benefits when using a standing desk:

  • Lowers your risk of weight gain and obesity
  • May lower blood sugar levels
  • May lower your risk of heart disease
  • Appears to reduce back pain
  • Helps improve mood and energy levels
  • May even boost productivity
  • May help you live longer

If court reporters do decide to make the plunge and purchase a standing desk, they should keep in mind that standing desks may also have some “side effects.” Some of the reporters’ comments on my Facebook post had a few suggestions to help with the transition.

  • Purchase an anti-fatigue mat for your desk
  • Purchase a drafting chair so that you can move freely from standing to sitting

Wirecutter.com writes about these suggestions for the best anti-fatigue mats. The posters on my shared Facebook link specifically mentioned the FlexiSpot and Varidesk as their personal favorites. According to the Wirecutter article: “The Varidesk ProDesk 60 Electric is more stable in each direction than the Uplift or Jarvis, and a little bit quieter than those desks in raising and lowering (minus an occasional thudding sound when starting). It also comes with built-in cable management and was the easiest desk we’ve ever built. But it has no wood or bamboo desktop options, just five colors of laminate, which our testers disliked.”

Ready to consider getting a standing desk? Wirecutter.com also offered their picks for the best standing desks of 2019. Forbes.com also published an article with their best standing desk picks. Those are two great places to start your research.

Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at lynette@omegareporting.com.

Working from home while parenting

Holly Smith with her sons

The benefits of working from home for some people are priceless. For example, a work-at-home situation can offer flexibility, a more casual surrounding, and more time with the family. But for work-at-home professionals with small children, the situation often means creating a balanced environment where both work and family receive the needed attention.

In a recent JCR Weekly question of the week, readers who work from home and have small children were asked to share insights into how they manage to create a successful balance between the two. The answers ranged from hiring child care or sending a child to camp, to cutting back on work, relying on friends and family for help, and employing the game Fortnite or turning on YouTube.

Holly Smith, an online student at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., has two sons, ages 2 and 6 years old. To help manage her studies and parenting duties, Smith said she typically works on her assignments or other tasks involving school while the boys are preoccupied. “My 6-year-old loves video games, and my 2-year-old is usually playing with trains and cars or coloring,” she said.

“It’s important to me that my kids don’t feel ignored. They will only be little once. Typically, I will pull my machine out and practice in small 15- to 30-minute increments so that I don’t get overwhelmed. That’s usually the amount of time that my kids will stay preoccupied until they need or want something,” she said. “If they do happen to interrupt me during class time, I end up just putting my machine to the side and tending to them or playing with them until I can get back to my machine. It’s definitely a juggling act, and when my husband is home, he tries to help and distract as much as possible. But if you want it bad enough — and I do — you have to make it work. My boys, as well as my husband, are my reason to push through. So it makes it all worth it and keeps my motivation alive,” she added.

Rowan Knight working in the home office his mother made him out of a cardboard box complete with an open source steno machine, sound mixer, TV remote, and calculator.

Mirabai Knight, RDR, CRC, CRR, a captioner from New York, N.Y., often works from home and has a son Rowan, who will be 3 years old in August. While she said that sometimes he “works” alongside her when she has an at-home assignment or when she is practicing on her machine, she has the help of her wife when it comes to keeping the little one busy.

“My wife stays home and watches our son while I caption. I usually work in the living room, so he’s often in the room with me, but fortunately my wife is able to keep him from interfering with my equipment, though he’s actually getting much better about respecting that himself these days,” Knight said.

Smith said her 6-year-old also often helps her when she is practicing by working on his reading. “I have had him read me some Dr. Seuss books previously. It’s a challenge with all of the silly words that Dr. Seuss uses. My son is also getting so good at reading that it’s difficult to keep up with him, so it’s a challenge. A part of our homework assignment is reading steno notes to be able to understand them just as well as we understand English words. So I will treat those steno notes like little stories and practice reading them to my boys,” she added.

Machines fascinate kids

Mirabai Knight and her son, Rowan

“He loves playing with all my steno machines,” Knight said of her son. “He also knows how to get into ‘insert mode’ from ‘command mode’ in Vim, the text editor I use for much of my captioning, which makes me so proud! He always says, ‘I need to do some steno machine and computer work now! Let me work!’ And he knows where the R key is! I’m going to teach him steno as early as I possibly can.”

Likewise for Smith’s boys, said their mother, who noted that they are both also fascinated with her machine. “Sometimes I have to put my machine in a place in our apartment that they can’t get to just to keep them off of it, especially my 2-year-old. He knows how to turn it on and off. My 6-year-old has been interested in learning where the letters are and trying to write,” she said,

A flexible career that helps with parenting

Both Smith and Knight agree that a career in court reporting or captioning absolutely helps with parenting duties. For one, it allows parents the opportunity to spend more time at home with their children.

“That is one of the reasons I started looking into this career path,” Smith said. “I have been so indecisive with a career path that will allow me to be the mom I want to be to my boys, as well as allow the income potential that court reporting and captioning offers. I often feel like I won’t be good enough to make it. So the income and flexibility potential help push me to get back onto my machine when I’ve had a rough practice day and feel frustrated,” she said.

“It will open so many doors for my family that we wouldn’t be able to attain otherwise. My husband works so hard to provide for us, but while he makes good money, his job would never present the opportunities that court reporting can.”

Smith added that any money she can make once she enters the workforce will help with the family savings, as well as allow her husband to be home more often to spend time with the family. “We want to be able to take vacations together more often. We want to be able to retire at a reasonable age so that we can be the grandparents we want to be to our future grandchildren. I believe that this career choice is going to create a much better life for our family,” she said.

“Being able to work fewer hours with a fairly high hourly rate helps a lot. I’m the sole breadwinner for my family, so that let’s me be home with my son much more than if I’d had to work 40 hours a week,” Knight said. “Also I was able to take several months off and live on savings when he was born, which wouldn’t necessarily have been possible in a non-freelance job. And I can do some of my work from home. Being able to watch my kid eat breakfast while I remote caption international conferences has been such a joy,” she added.

Advice for other work-at-home parents

“It’s a battle in itself just choosing to open up your machine and spend time practicing, especially if you’re trying to be a full-time mom, keep your household chores up to date, spend time with your kids, and give your husband the attention he needs,” Smith said. “But you have to keep your eye on the prize. You have to focus on why you chose this field in the first place.

“Remember the possibilities that will open up to you. Those little people that are pulling on your arms and legs, interrupting your practicing and making you feel like you can’t do it, those are the same people that you have to do this for. Take your time. Close your machine and take a break when you’re feeling frustrated. Play with your kids for a little bit instead. Choose your battles, but don’t give up.”

And the best piece of advice Knight offers others: “Teach them steno!”

Catch the savings on registration for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit before it ends

Act now and save! Online registration savings for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit being held Feb. 1-3 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, Calif., ends Jan. 20, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21. In addition, the hotel room block is still available on a first-come, first-serve basis so be sure to book now!

The 2019 Business Summit, formerly the Firm Owners & Executives Conference, promises to engage attendees with content, insight, the latest in business trends, and networking opportunities that will all result in boosting business. This year’s informative and cutting-edge sessions have been chosen specifically to provide the freelancers, firm owners, and managers attending with the latest tools and techniques for growing their business.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening onsite at this event:

Community engagement and how it helps your business

A session titled “Civic Best Practice: Corporate Community Engagement” will explore why corporate community engagement is considered one of the best practices in today’s business environment and how to be successful at it. Find out more about the benefits businesses gain by integrating community engagement into their business plans, such as boosting employee commitment and recruitment. Gains also include raising awareness of the services and products the companies provide and securing reputations as leaders in the community. The session will culminate with a special Veterans History Project, as an example of just one of many wonderful ways to showcase the services and skills your business provides while giving back to those in the community who have served their country. The live oral history will capture the story of Rear Adm. Ronne Froman, USN (Ret.). In addition to serving 31 years in the U.S. Navy, Froman was the first woman to serve as commander of the U.S. Navy Region Southwest. In her last Navy job, she also served as the director of ashore readiness for the chief of naval operations, responsible for nearly 90 Navy stations and bases around the world with a $7 billion budget. As a change agent, Froman’s careers have spanned the military, public, private, and nonprofit businesses. Rear Adm. Froman will be interviewed by Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS, of Minneapolis, Minn.

How storytelling can boost your business

Ann marie Houghtailing, entrepreneur, storyteller, and business coach, will present her Storytelling & Business Development session. Houghtailing, who launched her practice as a business development expert in 2009 with only $5 in her pocket, a MacBook, and a truckload of tenacity in the worst economic climate of her life, developed the Corporate Alliance Partner for the Institute for Sales and Business Development at the University of San Diego, Calif., just one year later. Today, she holds the reputation as one of the most sought-after business development and storytelling experts in the country and speaks regularly on narrative leadership and how to use storytelling as a tool of influence in business with her trademarked Narrative Imprinting process.

Court reporting in the 21st century

Speaker and past NCRA Director Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas. As a follow-up to his Tough Love sessions, which have been held at national and state conferences throughout the United States, Miller will lead a seminar called “Tough Love Part 2,” which will challenge the most sacred beliefs about the business of court reporting with a focus on why being stuck in 1985 isn’t going to alleviate any of the issues faced by agencies and reporters in the 21st century.

Simple shifts can lead to extraordinary outcomes

Also on the schedule is Eunice Carpitella, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who will serve as keynote speaker. She will address the practical idea that simple shifts in our routine patterns of interaction and mindset make it possible for business leaders to include, engage, and unleash everyone in solving problems, driving innovation, and achieving extraordinary outcomes.

Don’t wait. Register now and save

Remember, online registration for the 2019 Business Summit closes Jan. 20, 2019, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21, 2019. And don’t forget, also making a comeback is the Super Bowl Party to close out the event – another great reason to stay overnight Sunday for an extra few days to really get to know this one-of-a-kind city. And finally, plan on staying later to enjoy what beautiful, sunny San Diego has to offer in February.








Caught in the eye of the storm

Bobbi Fisher

By Bobbi Fisher

On September 10, Hurricane Florence made her presence known on the weather radar with an alarming size. Forecasters predicted a strong Category 4 hurricane was headed toward the Wilmington, N.C., area – to include where I live and work as an official reporter in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Mandatory evacuations began for our area on Tue., Sept. 11. Mandatory evacuation means, if you choose to stay, you do so at your own risk; rescue attempts, if needed, may not be possible. Since we have only lived here for three years, we checked with our seasoned neighbors to see if they were going to evacuate or stay. Our angst grew when they told us they would leave for this projected monster of a storm.

Facebook Live is a wonderful tool to use to get live local weather updates without having to stay glued to a television. If you “like” your local news channel, they will send you notifications when live feeds are about to start so you can tune in. It also offers an opportunity to actually chat with your meteorologist to ask specific questions. I find it a wonderful tool for emergency planning.

With the generator fueled and ready to go and a few trips to the grocery store to stock up on cases of water and food supplies, we decided we would stay home and ride it out. We live about three miles from the oceanfront but far enough inland where storm surge wouldn’t really affect us.

Fisher Courthouse in Horry County, S.C. after Hurricane Florence

I am an official reporter for Family Court in Horry County (Conway/Myrtle Beach). My husband also works in the same courthouse building with me but for the Clerk of Court’s office. We had one hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning, so as I was heading in to court, my judge called me and told me to turn around and go home. By then, roads had already started to close and I wasn’t able to turn around where I was in the road because they literally had just put up barricades. I had to make a huge loop north and then turn back south to get back home. Roads were starting to shut down literally as the minutes were ticking away.

After returning home that morning, we started to watch The Weather Channel to track Hurricane Florence. They were now projecting it would come to Wilmington then turn a sharp southwest, heading straight over our house. It was then we decided we better evacuate to our family in Northern Virginia. This began the task of packing everything we could. We have two pit bulls, so we decided to take both of our cars – one dog in each car.

Along with the normal clothing items for the next seven days, I packed up my reporting equipment. I had just purchased a new Luminex writer the week prior, so that was the very last thing to go in the car. Along with my writer, I packed up a separate bag with my laptop and my external hard drives (now I’ve converted to Dropbox). I left my hard copy court dockets in the filing cabinet because I scan all of those anyway. I made sure that any other papers and equipment were high enough off the ground in case we did have water inside our home. As a reporter, even in time of crisis, you must consider securing your equipment and your files the best way you can.

As we started planning our evacuation, another fear was making sure we would have enough fuel to make the six-hour trek through the Carolinas to get back to Virginia, as thousands of people were fleeing for safety and we weren’t sure of the gas situation along our route. In fact, I ended up calling ahead just to make sure at least one station had enough fuel in their tanks for us to refuel. We left at 4 a.m., and even at that hour, our local police were monitoring every intersection. The lane reversal was in effect, which meant that all lanes were only running westbound. It was a pretty neat experience to be driving on the wrong side of the road!

There are two major ways in to the Myrtle Beach area: the 501 Bypass, which runs in front of Lake Busbee; and the 501 Business, which runs through the historic town of Conway. Traffic also has to pass over an old bridge in Conway that is scheduled to have major repairs done in the next few months, so a lot of people were very worried about whether the bridge would even hold up for this amount of traffic, which included tractor trailers and heavy equipment trucks.

The Waccamaw River, which runs through Conway, is the runoff water from the rivers that start in North Carolina, where the hurricane dumped several inches of rain. The National Guard quickly started dumping huge piles of sand and dirt and massive sandbags to create a dam on the 501 Bypass so we did not lose our main highway. Helicopters flew overhead delivering sandbag after sandbag to the nearby cold ash reserve to try to contain the pond waters from seeping into the Waccamaw River flood waters.

Even 10 days after the hurricane, we waited for our rivers to crest and recede. Hundreds of people were frantically packing their belongings to try to save what they could, and it would take many, many days before those homeowners would be able to return to assess their damage.

Reserved court reporter parking spaces at Fisher Courthouse after Hurricane Florence

It would take a few days before the flooding would crest locally for us, so at least we had time to prepare. Court ended up being closed from Tues., Sept. 1, through Mon., Sept. 18.

When the waters started rising at the courthouse, the court reporter parking spaces became filled with up to three (or more) feet of water, and then the waters started to encroach on the judge’s parking area as well. The reserved court reporter spaces where I normally park were now busted up to install huge drainage equipment.

Downtown Conway looked like a war zone. With the water rising, many streets were impassable and closed, leaving you to try to figure out how to maneuver around town. The Waze app is another tool that many people used to get around during the storm. Because the roads were closing by the minute, the Waze app had real-time information on which roads were open and would direct you that way.

Several hundred homes were flooded as a result of the overflowing rivers. Along I-40 in North Carolina, hundreds of dead fish littered the highway after the waters receded. Displaced animals could be seen trying to survive the waters: A crocodile was seen swimming at the local dog park. Eels and snakes were now inside people’s homes. Fire ants built “chain” bridges and floated on top of the water. One of our court clerks even captured video of a wild hog swimming through the flood waters in the back of the courthouse and walking out next to her window.

Once the mandatory evacuations had been lifted and we were allowed to return to our homes, we began the quest to figure out how to get home. With many, many miles of highway along I-95 in North Carolina and South Carolina under water, we decided to go west, then south, then circle back east; a trip that would take us 11 hours compared to our normal six-hour route.

For us in the Myrtle Beach area, it wasn’t so much the wind damage but the flooding as a result of the North Carolina rivers that flow downstream to us. Even almost a month later, things still have not returned to normal for us. Many are still displaced from their homes. We’re just getting our local roads back to normal. Schools were out three weeks because of the weather, and many of them were turned into shelters. And now the mosquitos have taken on a life of their own. (I hear they’re pretty big!  Almost quarter size!)

There is one thing to say about something this eventful: The community spirit really shines through. There are still so many food/supply drives and fundraising events going on to help those in need. “Carolina Strong” is the motto we live by here, and it really shows in our spirit to overcome and rebuild once again.

Bobbi Fisher, RPR, is an official court reporter from Myrtle Beach, S.C. She also serves as a member of NCRA’s Proofreading Advisory Council.

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) published an article, “NCSC helps courts prepare for disaster,” in their October 2 bulletin.








Pay It Forward: Saving for retirement (my personal experience)

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Throughout my entire 43-year career as a self-employed deposition reporter, I’ve prioritized funding my SEP IRA to the maximum amount each year. Not only does this benefit me now that I’m at “retirement age,” but it’s benefited my entire family and will continue to do so into the future. I’ve been paying it forward since I was 24 years old, and my plan is to continue to pay it forward by funding my SEP IRA as long as the law allows me to do such. I would challenge each of you to join me in saving for the future. It is never too late to start.

I’d like to share a few tips I have learned over the course of my career, which have made it possible for me to save for my retirement.

Start your plan today to save for retirement
Don’t wait! You can’t rely on social security, the government, or even an inheritance. When I started court reporting at the age of 19, I waited five years to start a SEP IRA. Had I not waited, I would be in an even better financial situation today, thanks to the wonders of compounding interest. It is always tempting to justify waiting another year to start your retirement account, but don’t fall into that trap. Look at the visual below, which is a chart from a wealth management company. I saw a similar one when I was young and it certainly got my attention. I made a plan and started my contributions.

Even if you are starting late, it is important for you to know that you are not alone. Every dollar of investment you put into your retirement account makes a difference. It is never too late.

Each month set aside your retirement contribution
As with my self-employed quarterly tax estimates, I set aside my retirement contribution each month. I’d suggest that you do the same — or, at a minimum, put something into your retirement account each quarter. You don’t have to fund your SEP IRA until April 15th of the subsequent tax year. You can fund your retirement every month or in one lump sum.

Note: Funding your retirement sooner rather than later allows you to earn more on your dollars, depending on how your SEP IRA funds are invested.

I always planned to contribute the maximum amount the law allows to my SEP IRA.

What is a SEP IRA?
A SEP IRA account is an IRA set up for people who own their own small business, and many freelance reporters fall into that grouping. I learned that, as a sole proprietor, I could make annual contributions between 0 to 20 percent of my net adjusted self-employment income (or net adjusted business profits) into my SEP IRA. Also, SEP IRA contributions are very flexible. The percentage of contribution can be changed at any time and may be skipped in a bad year. I didn’t skip any year — I kept up my routine contributions and made my retirement contributions a priority in my budget. SEP IRA contributions are generally 100 percent tax deductible from personal income.

Note: Contributing to your SEP IRA reduces the taxes owed to both the state and the federal government. You can consider this, as I have, as the government helping you to fund your retirement.

Automate your savings
Be disciplined. I set up automatic retirement contributions each month, as this allowed my retirement to grow without having to think about it. Many money management companies have an automated funding service available, and you can often make regular contributions to your SEP IRA from another account within their financial institute and even to self-direct your money to the investments of your choice.

Extra money? Don’t just spend it
My financial advisor used to tell me, “Dedicate at least half of the new money to your retirement plan. And while it may be tempting to take that tax refund or O&5 income and splurge on a new designer purse or a vacation, don’t treat those extra funds as found money. Treat yourself to something small and use the rest to help make big leaps toward your retirement goal.”

So every time I received a check from an O&5 depo, I didn’t spend it – at least not all of it. Instead, I increased my contribution percentage. Remember, the more income you make from your O&5 depositions, the more you can invest into your retirement account, so the more you need to put aside to make the funding.

Make a budget — rein in spending
Sometimes, over the years, my dedication to this goal meant I had to reconsider other things I wanted. I examined my budget and looked at ways to reduce my monthly expenditures, such as insurance costs. As I’ve bought homes, I always looked for one that I was way overqualified for. In other words, I didn’t stretch my budget by buying a higher-priced home. As my income rose, I “moved up” and have finally landed on five acres with a home my husband built and a second modest home in Tahoe. Patience was my friend in this journey.

In conclusion
Good luck on your journey to retirement. There will be many challenges along the way (I want that new car, a bigger house). Keep your retirement goal in mind, front and center. Enjoy the journey of life along the way. Don’t be so frugal you don’t enjoy life. Keep a balance, for sure. Just remember, for every dollar you invest in retirement, it is less you owe in taxes to the government. I was delighted to learn from my CPA this year that, on a side-by-side analysis with the new tax plan, I will be saving between 15-20 percent in taxes due in 2018. So, this money will go to retirement planning or investment planning — as much as I’d love to take a ski trip to Europe.

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, is a freelance reporter based in Lotus, Calif. She is also credentialed as a Realtime Systems Administrator. She can be reached at realtimecsr@calweb.com.

This article should not be relied on as financial advice specific to your situation. As always, NCRA encourages individuals to reach out to a trusted CPA or other financial advisor to review your personal situation.








Stenograph acquires Reporter Suite

In a press release issued June 19, Stenograph announced that it has acquired Reporter Suite, an invoicing, expense, and time-tracking application for the court reporting industry.

Read more.








At a glance: Taking depositions in Europe

On June 14, JD Supra posted a blog that offers tips for attorneys taking depositions in Europe.

Read more.








The myths, mysteries, and misunderstandings of legal video

Talk Daily News posted an article on May 24 that notes, for the best experience using a legal videographer, firms should chose professionals who hold the NCRA CLVS certification.

Read more.








Five tips to help attorneys, paralegals, and court reporters to build mental stamina

A blog posted May 24 by JD Supra by Kramm Court Reporting offers tips for attorneys, court reportersvideographers, and paralegals to help them perform in their jobs at the highest level.

Read more.