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What to do if you are laid off

That moment when the boss says you are laid off actually can be good for you if you handle it right.

First, take a breath immediately and get control, according to Two things are true: The person telling you this doesn’t like to do it. You don’t like to hear it. Neither can be avoided. Reacting badly results in security being called. Reacting gracefully helps both of you and, in some ways, makes your boss your ally.

Second, listen for the plan. The decision has already been made so no negotiating will help you. But the company has already considered how they want you to leave: Immediately (look for the security guard) or a soft exit where you wrap up projects and maybe even train your replacement. If you can, get the terms in writing.

If you have private information on your computer, explain what it is that you wish to copy.

Third, if you are going to remain a few days or more, control the message. Send an email to friends and valued co-workers. Never talk poorly about your boss or the company. Never blame anyone. State the facts (job eliminated or laid off or ‘leaving the company’). Be upbeat about your plans. Tell people when you will be out of the office and invite them to visit you in the meantime. Invites eliminate some more awkward silences.

Phishing site tactic

Watch for scam sites by looking at the domain ( is a domain), not just the design. Design can be mimicked. Addresses can’t. It is not paypal, if the address is If you are at all suspicious, don’t put in your password. If you do put in a correct password, a phishing site will often repeatedly say it is wrong. That way they can get all your passwords.

Stealing from your future self

According to one investment expert, each $5 cup of coffee you buy at age 30 costs you $225 in retirement.

Phil Davis, author of the investment newsletter, writes that $10,000 invested at 10 percent can turn into a half million in 40 years.

And how do you get to the $10,000? Look at your lifestyle: A $10,000 cheaper car, fewer fancy vacations, and maybe a less expensive cup of coffee.

It’s a good lesson to remember that each $10,000 spent at age 30, costs about $450,000 at age 70.

Rentals gain popularity for investments

“Buy land. They’re not making it anymore.” – Mark Twain

Property is valuable and mostly becomes more valuable as time goes on.

This idea is not lost on today’s legion of real estate investors or the average person.

According to the Financial Security Index Survey released in July, 54 million Americans consider real estate to be the preferred cash investment for funds not needed for more than 10 years.

A survey in 2012 by the National Survey of Residential Real Estate Investors found there are about 28.1 million real estate investors in the country spending a total of $9.2 billion on real estate renovations.

It is a great time to invest in real estate with interest rates are historically low.

Owning rental property is one way to invest and immediately get return on your money.

The key before you start is to ask yourself what you need to make on a rental.

Enlist a real estate agent to help you analyze rental rates and apartment prices in the neighborhood.

Scour the classifieds to get an idea of what rents are in the area you would like to buy. Also, learn what properties are selling for.

Before you buy, know what your costs will be for taxes, maintenance, and profit. Can you be competitive at this location and still make a profit? One landlord writing in said she must make $500 profit on each rental per month.

Pick the right neighborhood. High crime areas will cost you money, according to Consumerism Commentary. High rent areas probably will resist rentals. Sturdy middle-class neighborhoods are often best.

One useful talent is a flair for DIY. If you like doing general repairs, you can usually save on expected expenses. If you don’t have such a flair, develop ties to handy-people who are skilled and available. You might be able to hire someone on demand for a low hourly rate.

Finally, once you have done the math and purchased your rental, find the right renter with a strict application. You must make your money back on a property so your three questions have to be: Can they afford the apartment? Will they pay the rent? Will they keep the property nice? To find out, check previous landlords. Verify income. After that, run a civil and criminal background check.

One landlord even calls the mother or father of younger people who want to rent.

Robots versus humans

Convenience will abound. Accuracy will increase. And, jobs will change.

As humanity hurtles into the future of Artificial Intelligence, the most frightening notion of robots doing our work is that we won’t be doing it. Or will we?

Futurists, businesspeople, scientists disagree and they are just guessing about how smart machines will change the world, but agree robots will make a tremendous change. We can even see this in the recent past.

For example, the invention of the ATM, a robot, put an automated bank teller on every corner, creating convenience for people. It also created jobs since humans had to create the ATM, tend it, and install it. Meanwhile, there were fewer human bank tellers needed to dispense cash. Even with the new convenience of ATMs, use of that robot declined. Why? The debit card has made cash nearly obsolete. The widespread use of debit cards changed the use of robots. There are fewer robot ATMs on the corner and more of them in tiny little boxes on the retail counter. Again, the technology created convenience and people’s demand for ATMs changed.

Technology and the convenience or usefulness that it creates changes needs in the labor market, but it also creates a need for labor. At the same time, robots could lower prices of goods, according to the Los Angeles Times, making it possible for humans to live comfortably on less money.

Many observers contend that robots won’t take jobs, but they will change them.

“Technology will dramatically change the nature of our jobs, but it won’t take them. Rather, it will free up individuals to focus on higher value challenges that can only be tackled by a human mind.” writes Information Age editorial director Ben Rossi.

The CEO of a robotic company, David Lang, says, “Robots aren’t taking the jobs. Technology is changing the spectrum of possibility. The real risk in the next economy is not being replaced, it’s missing the opportunity.”

Steven Rosenbaum, writing for Forbes, says one of the dangers of robots is that, without the human element, one loses the elements of surprise, engagement, and fun.

“The danger of allowing robots to do the work of humans is that they are getting close enough that people will start to accept almost ‘good enough’ content created by robots,” Rosenbaum writes.

Rosenbaum proposes that a new rule of robotics should be that robots should never impersonate people.

“For the foreseeable future – the question of where humans and robots share joint custody of the future remains unclear. But until then, having robots not impersonate people seems like a reasonable place to draw the line,” he writes.

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