A computer will help Somerset mother and son attain educational goals

Somerset resident Matilda Archer, 39, has spent the last 12 years taking care of her son, Dijon Archer, who brings her unimaginable joy.

Many who know her at the Somerville-based Jewish Family Services of Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset Counties say that she is thoughtful and always has a positive outlook on life. Archer and her son are part of the organization’s family mentor program, which provides tutoring once a week for her son, Dijon, who is in seventh grade, has a little trouble focusing, and the program is helping him keep his education on track.

She said her son has a variety of interests typical of a young man his age, including playing sports and hanging out with friends.

Archer said that while his grades have improved since participating in the mentoring program, having a computer would really help him because almost everything they do in school now is online.

This would also help her with her dream of finishing her college degree, as everything is also done mostly online in higher education as well.

Before deciding to go back to school, Archer worked at Player One Amusement Group doing accounting until Aug. 15 of this year.

“We nominated Matilda (for the Courier News Wish Book program) because she was recently laid off by her company, which was very hard for her because she is a single mother working to support her family,” said Young-ln Shin, family mentor coordinator at Jewish Family Services. “She is using this difficult time to better herself and improve the quality life of her whole family.”

“She is looking to go back to community college to finish her associate degree,” Shin said. “This has been a long-term dream of hers to get a degree.”

Archer said that because of her financial situation, she has not been able to complete her accounting degree even though she already has 49 credits. Her current situation has given her a golden opportunity to realize her dream.

“Raritan Valley Community College has a program that helps you go back to school if you’re unemployed,” explained Archer.

“A computer would help my whole family,” Archer added.

Jewish Family Services is a non-profit, non-sectarian, community organization which provides counseling, family mentor programs, senior mentor programs, and programs to help clients prepare for and find better job opportunities.


Family Finance: High savings to help salaried Dalals meet goals


While aggressive investment in equity will help, it needs to be aligned to goals for a smoother journey.

Nishit and Dipti Dalal are both employed and bring in a combined monthly salary of Rs 1.68 lakh. They stay in their own house in Ahmedabad and have bought another house worth Rs 60 lakh as an investment. They have taken a home loan of Rs 12 lakh and a car loan of Rs 5 lakh, and are paying EMIs of Rs 26,900 for both. The couple’s portfolio includes Rs 1 lakh of cash, Rs 1 lakh of gold, equity in the form of mutual funds (Rs 15.9 lakh) and stocks (Rs 1.4 lakh), as well as debt in the form of PPF (Rs 5 lakh), EPF (Rs 2.5 lakh) and debt funds (Rs 1.5 lakh). The couple’s goals include saving for emergencies, buying a bigger house, future child’s education and wedding, and their retirement.



Cash flow


Financial Planner Pankaaj Maalde suggests they build the emergency corpus of Rs 3 lakh by assigning their cash, debt funds and surrender value of insurance policies. This should be invested in an ultra short term fund. The couple also wants to buy a bigger house worth Rs 1.75 crore in five years and they can allocate their two properties for the goal, which will help fund Rs 1.4 crore. Since they want to make a down payment of Rs 1.52 crore, the remaining Rs 12 lakh can be amassed by investing Rs 15,000 a month in balanced funds. For the shortfall of Rs 22.7 lakh, they can take a loan and the EMI of Rs 22,400 can be furnished from the surplus and increase in salary.

For the future child’s goal of education in 18 years, the couple wants to save Rs 1 crore. For this, they can assign a portion of mutual funds and continue the SIP of Rs 10,000 in an equity fund. For the wedding, they want to save Rs 1.1 crore in 25 years and again a portion of their mutual fund corpus can be assigned to the goal. In addition they can start an SIP of Rs 2,500 in an equity fund and Rs 500 in the gold bond scheme. For retirement, the couple will need Rs 4.25 crore in 18 years, and should allocate their stocks, mutual funds, PPF and EPF corpuses. They should also continue with an SIP of Rs 38,000 in a diversified equity fund.

How to invest for goals


As for life insurance, they have six traditional plans worth Rs 21.5 lakh and Maalde suggests they surrender all the plans. Nishit should buy an offline term plan worth Rs 1 crore at Rs 3,750 a month. As for health insurance, the couple has a Rs 5 lakh family floater plan, and Maalde advises them to buy a top-up plan of Rs 15 lakh at Rs 833 a month. Nishit should also buy an accident disability plan of Rs 50 lakh at a monthly premium of Rs 667.

Insurance portfolio


Financial plan by Pankaaj Maalde (certified financial planner)

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Chipmaker Aims to Help Free Amazon’s Alexa From the Power Cord

Chipmaker Aims to Help Free Amazon's Alexa From the Power Cord

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant started out in Amazon’s own Echo speakers but is spreading fast, embedded directly inside products from other companies such as light fixtures, thermostats and dashboard cameras for cars.

But one place Alexa often cannot be found is too far from a power outlet. The “always on” microphones that listen for the assistant’s name, plus an Internet connection, require so much electricity that Alexa-enabled devices usually need to be plugged in.

Milpitas, California-based chipmaker DSP Group on Thursday said it has partnered up with Amazon to try to change that. The company is offering a standardised chip that is a little smaller than a US 10-cent coin that gadget makers can use to embed Alexa into their own device.

DSP is not the only entrant in the race. Though its Alexa Voice Services division, Amazon has been working with a broad range of chipmakers to offer gadget makers an easy way to embed Alexa in their hardware – Intel Corp, Qualcomm and Cirrus Logic, among others, all offer chips that will put Alexa inside a gadget.

But DSP is hoping to compete on low power consumption, said Chief Executive Ofer Elyakim. It has designed its chip for use in smart watches, smart glasses and other tiny devices where space and batteries are at a premium.

“If you want to add voice as a user interface to such a device, you have to have a very, very low power consumption,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Such devices are key to DSP’s future. The company’s legacy business supplying chips to cordless phones still made up half of its $28.1 million (roughly Rs. 193 crores) in revenue in its most recent quarter, but that market is shrinking as landline telephones disappear.

While DSP’s chips for embedding voice features in gadgets make up only 6 percent of its revenue, DSP has won some notable customers, with chips in smart watches and phones from Samsung Electronics Co, one of GoPro’s recent cameras and a wireless speaker from Logitech International SA.

Those are all large companies with many engineers, but by working with Amazon to make its chip easier to use in a device, DSP is hoping to spur more products from gadget makers of all sizes to include Alexa, Elyakim said.

“We are at a fairly early level in this market, but I think over the next 12 months we’ll see a lot of announcements,” he said.