The Stellar Communicator - Dahna M. Chandler

Award-Winning Finance Journalist & Star Finance Industry Content Writer Portfolio

Personal Finance Journalism

This section contains mostly personal finance articles, but there are a few health pieces here, too.

How Digital Banking Is Driving Social Change

(Editor's Note: In this story, Dahna Chandler profiles OneUnited Bank and E. Napoletano profiles the Daylight financial platform; Mitch Strohm wrote the introduction and conclusion.) Someday soon, if not today, you may find a banking platform that’s designed specifically for you and those like you. A growing number of banks and fintechs are using digital banking platforms to meet the unique challenges and needs of individual communities. This article tells the story of two of them.

Get Your Financial House In Order With These 7 Black Women Financial Experts

Studies prove that, in most American homes, women still do most of the household management tasks. Increasingly, this includes handling finances. Research shows that, in nine in 10 American households, saving and spending decisions involve women, while 31% of partnered women are the primary managers of their household’s finances. Partnered or not, perhaps you’re a woman who’s decided it’s time to change your or your family’s financial picture. Let these seven women help you.

What Is Loss Assessment Coverage?

Your condo insurance policy covers only what happens within your walls. And “a master policy protects the building,” explains Scott Holeman, director of the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. “An individual policy covers your liability, personal property and structural elements that are not covered by the master policy.” That's why you may need loss assessment coverage. Here's what it is and how to get the coverage.

OneUnited: The Nation’s Largest Black-Owned Bank Is Unapologetically Black And Activist

Launched in 1968 as Unity Bank & Trust Company in response to calls for Black economic empowerment, OneUnited Bank’s mission remains being Black America’s first choice for banking. Here’s how OneUnited is working to achieve that goal. (Forbes Advisor added an editor's name under my byline for SEO purposes. However, I researched, interviewed subjects for, and authored this story entirely.)

Is your long commute to work driving you insane? 5 ways to cope

Census data show that in 2013, 3.5 million Americans made one-way mega-commutes from their homes to their jobs. As this piece shows, there are people who travel between countries to get to work in the US each day, not just within busy metro areas or between states. This article shows those of you who make frequent long commutes for work how to cope effectively with the stresses, including financial, of such constant work travel.

How to Start Saving for Retirement After 50

Many Americans over 50 haven’t saved for retirement. In fact, the Insured Retirement Institute found that only 54 percent of boomers (age 53 to 71) have retirement savings. Quite a few Gen X’ers over 50 have little or no retirement savings, too. The boomers and Gen X’ers are in this position for multiple reasons; the most common one is postponement. If you’re one of them, it isn’t too late to get started funding your retirement and avoid future missteps, though. Here's a smart plan to help you.

These Are the Best Ways to Lose Weight in Your Face

Sometimes, it's your face that's the trouble spot for weight gain on your body. Here are 7 tips to lose weight there before getting surgery. (My editor assigned this article to me as part of WomansDay.com's SEO strategy. She knows how well I understand content strategy and how to write interesting and informative articles that also meet the publication's strategic objectives for attracting readership. I got a title from her that included the keywords. From that, I researched, sourced, interviewed for and wrote the piece.)

6 Common UTI Symptoms Women Need To Know About

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are relatively common in women: They account for 8.1 million doctor's office visits annually. If not treated promptly or properly, though, this usually minor infection can be deadly, especially for elderly women. Here's how to know what symptoms to look for and when to call your doctor. (My editor assigned this article to me as part of WomansDay.com's SEO strategy. She knows how well I understand content strategy and how to write interesting and informative articles that also meet the publication's strategic objectives for attracting readership. I got a title from her that included the keywords. From that, I researched, sourced, interviewed for and wrote the piece.)

Personal Finance—Editorial Content

A guide to credit scores

Your credit score – three numbers that hold considerable sway over your financial life — is often the first thing a lender wants to see before considering giving you a loan. Your credit score can seem mysterious or even random, but you have more control over it than you may think. Understanding what a credit score tells lenders and how it’s different from a credit report is the first step to taking control. Here's what you should know.

4 types of identity fraud thieves bet you won't monitor against

Crooks also are finding more ways to perpetrate fraud using your identity data. There are committing four identity crimes that don’t rely on the direct theft of your banking or financial information, though they often start with that information. They also are four that thieves hope you don't both to monitor against to prevent. (I pitched, researched, developed and wrote this piece that went live with little editing.)

Tips for Safer Mobile Banking for You and Your Family

It's estimated that by 2021, 50% of adults globally will use digital banking, many on smartphones and other mobile platforms. But, identity thieves and others with ill intentions know this and work obsessively to get mobile access to other people's financial accounts. It’s vital you protect yourself and your family against harm while conducting mobile banking transactions. Here's more information and some helpful tips for users of all experience levels.

Residential Real Estate & Design Content

How To Inherit A Rent-Controlled Apartment From A Friend

Inheriting a rent-controlled apartment is like achieving rental nirvana: a state of housing bliss where your rent is always below market rate. But rent-controlled apartments rarely become available to the public, so it’s not an easy dream to realize. However, with a little grit, determination, and luck, depending on where you live, you might just be able to make it happen. For those interested in giving it a shot, here’s where to start.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer: An Introduction

You have multiple options when considering materials for your home’s exterior. Many are first-rate. If you’re looking for materials that are beautiful, durable and versatile in their use for a large variety of exterior applications, natural thin stone veneer might be a surprisingly affordable choice. This blog post gives you an overview of the costs and benefits of using thin stone veneer in place of full-thickness natural stone.

What You Need to Know About Earnest Money and How to Protect Yours

Finally finding your dream home and getting ready to make an offer can be very exciting. But there is also a lot at stake: the financial decisions you make while buying your home can affect your long-term net worth. After all, your home is likely to be one of your most valuable assets. Before you submit your bid, it’s important to understand what an Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is, how you can use one to strengthen your offer, and how to protect your money. Read this to know.

A guide to AVMs

Whether you are considering buying, refinancing, or taking a loan on your home, the first step is to determine its value. And the faster you and the lender agree on that value, the quicker you can move forward. This is where AVMs can help. An AVM or automated valuation model is an approach used by real estate agents, mortgage companies and well-known companies, like Zillow, to quickly appraise a home’s value. Here's how they work and how they benefit you in real estate transactions.

8 Home Repairs That Are Not a Landlord’s Job

While your landlord is expected to handle many fixes, there are others that are on you. Your lease will often define exactly when and how you should make any repairs. When in doubt, pull out the paperwork. The general rule of thumb is that renters are responsible for repairing any damage that they cause themselves. So if you want to remain on peaceful terms with your landlord, don’t be the renter who calls about changing a lightbulb. Here are eight more repairs that you'll make yourself.

Smart Tips for Decorating Your Apartment on a Budget

Decorating a new apartment can quickly go from exciting to overwhelming, especially if you’re on a tight budget. As a renter moving into a new apartment, you want to make your place feel like your own home, but without spending a ton of money every time you move. Herein lies the eternal rental decorating dilemma: Which items should be higher quality, and where can you get away with more frugal options? Follow this set of savvy furnishing guidelines to know.

How to Use Natural Stone in a Kids’ Bathroom

If your children have their own bathroom, make that space unique to them and as kid-friendly as possible. To survive their childhood, you want this bathroom to be durable. You can achieve this using natural stone if you know which stone to choose. You also can change the space as your kids outgrow some decorative elements without decreasing your home's value or making a significant investment. Here are 7 tips for creating a kids’ bathroom that will fit their personalities—and the rest of your home. (This is a post I pitched, developed, interviewed for and wrote.)

Out with the Old: When It's Time to Update to Safer Furniture

This post is on upgrading from furniture made under old environmental and chemical exposure regulations to safer furniture. Originally, the focus of the post was different, but I showed the client how to make a better impression on readers by removing some keywords and refocusing the post to make a stronger connection between the statistics it presents and the company's offerings. This kind of tweaking can mean better engagement and outcomes for an overall content marketing strategy. It's how I combine my journalism background with my marketing fluency to help clients achieve their content marketing objectives.

Surprising Facts About the Eco-Friendliness of Furniture Rental

This post brought out the data journalist in me. I had to analyze the story behind the numbers and find additional data to support the original study. I focused on making this a piece of strong, editorial content that inspires readers to make their lifestyles more eco-friendly by recycling rather than replacing things. That can increase greenhouse gases since people end up disposing of their old items improperly. Read the blog post for more.

How to Reclaim Secondhand Wood Furniture and Make It Your Own

Personalizing a reclaimed secondhand piece of wood furniture is a satisfying endeavor on several levels. First, you’ve done a good deed for the environment because you’re keeping used furniture out of the landfill. Second, it’s an opportunity to turn a mediocre piece into a masterpiece. This blog post, which I was assigned but sourced, developed and wrote, gives tips on how to reclaim old wood furniture and make it yours.
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Travel, Lifestyle, & Health Content

Historic Virginia Getaways That Are Ideal for Romance

If you and your partner are history buffs who love to indulge in getaways that are ripe with opportunities for romance, add Virginia to your list of states to visit. The “lover’s state” is where many of the country’s founding fathers and presidents lived and loved. Wine historians also appreciate that it’s home to one of America’s first wine countries. “Thomas Jefferson was the state’s first commercial winemaker,” says Charles McCool, Washington, DC travel expert.

Lavish Lodging: Luxurious Places to Stay on Michigan's Mackinac Island

This vacationer’s haven, created for wealthy travelers in the 19th century, is a summer resort island with no franchise hotels. It maintains its 19th-century ambiance and old-world hospitality while offering numerous modern amenities. That includes full digital capabilities to keep you connected so that you can stay on the grid — if you’d like — and relax effortlessly. Learn why you should visit "Mackinaw" Island. (Image: Pixabay)

Cruising the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

In Kentucky, bourbon isn’t just a drink. It’s part of the state’s culture and history. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999 to showcase bourbon’s heritage. As you hit the road to discover America’s only native spirit, you’ll get to know the major bourbon brands, sample classic Kentucky cuisine, learn a bit of history, and enjoy miles of scenic rolling hills and bluegrass fields along the drive. (Image Source: Pixabay)

Must-See Attractions for an Authentic Cape Cod Experience

Cape Cod is the 70-mile peninsula shaped like a flexing bicep, making a fist that juts from the southeast corner of Massachusetts. About 100 miles from Boston and Logan International Airport and affectionately called “The Cape” by locals, it’s best known for legendary seafood caught in lobster bays that are part of 556 miles of unspoiled beaches. The area is the origin of the classic Cape Cod-style home that is popular across America, and the architecture is a core part of its landscape. Learn more about the Cape and the best places to visit for an authentic Cape Cod experience.

The 4 Most Expensive Luxury Cars

In summer, 2017, I was a regular contributor to the new Hertz blog and wrote this first post is about four super luxury cars only the wealthiest make their regular vehicles. Hertz's editors gave me the title and chose the cars based on my love of supercars (my favorite two are at the top of this list!) and my general knowledge of fine driving machines. This short post shows my ability to write quick, fun posts that draw audiences in and keep them excited. (Image: Flickr User Decio "desmodex" https://is.gd/drVwoq)

Emergency Guide: Disaster Planning for College Students

Most of the time, college is safe and fun, but it's not always disaster-proof. What would you do if you faced a natural disaster, especially if your college locale isn’t your permanent residence? It’s good to know how to respond before it happens, so start your planning by gathering whatever information you can. As you would for any class, take advantage of readily available information already compiled, including information that your independent rental insurance agent provides.

6 Things You Can't Live Without Your Freshman Year

When you’re shopping for your freshman year of college, buy everything on the list your school provides, and invest in the best tech tools you can. But, as a college freshman, you also need creature comforts and conveniences to make you feel at home in your new living space. That can help your academic and social shift from high school to college go more smoothly. Here are 6 things a former college freshman says you shouldn't live without.

Women Are Driving Healthcare: How Recent Trends are Changing Healthcare Delivery for Women

With its 2019 Women's Care Specialty Excellence Awards release, Healthgrades explored current trends and developed a data-driven, comprehensive white paper to share our findings. Our research includes data from the women who come to our site and represents nearly 70% of the monthly traffic on Healthgrades.com and also includes what they search for when seeking OB-GYN services. This research confirmed that today, women are healthcare provider most influential patients.
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SMB Finance, Development, & Operations

A Balancing Act: Cash Flow Management | 100 for 100

A high volume of sales may make you feel profitable, but that’s not the same as having a strong cash flow. After all, you can appear profitable at certain times, but be in the red in others. It’s only by proactively balancing how you manage your cash flow—revenue, expenditures and profits—that you have cash to maintain business operations consistently. That allows you to take advantage of opportunities to invest in growth. Here's how to achieve that balance.

How to Build a Financial Network of Advisors | 100 for 100

No matter what your business does, it’s essential you build relationships with a dedicated network of financial advisors. They help you operate, develop, and grow your business so you can focus on serving your customers while avoiding financial missteps. But which do you need and when do you need them? Use the guidance in this blog post to learn the right way to build your financial advisor network.

A simple breakdown to the working capital formula

If you want to know how well you're really operating your business, you'll need to know your business's working capital, also known as net working capital. It's a moment of truth for your company's financial health – telling you the difference between what you owe and what your business owns at any given time. Plus, it's one of the most important numbers lenders often rely on to decide if your company is worth financing. We've broken it down to make it super simple to compute.

The Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Your Business

Crowdfunding combines crowdsourcing and microfinancing. It does that by allowing individuals to invest small amounts in businesses that interest them. Sometimes, funders may outright donate money to your business. In others, they expect something in return, like equity, loan repayment, products or services. It is a way a small business owner can finance a new or existing enterprise without going to the bank. Here's how to find the best crowdfunding sites for your enterprise.

How to Get a Small Business Grant | Small Business Startup Grants

Have you been thinking that you want to start a business? So much planning goes into following your dream, and we know it can be a struggle to finance its startup and daily operations. We also know that finding funding opportunities for your enterprise can be harder during a global pandemic. You may not be eligible for small business loans. You also may not be open to additional loan debt to manage or want to max out your credit cards to conserve cash. That's why you need grant money. Here's how to get yours.

How to Keep Your Business Entity Legitimate As a Freelancer

Debate rages around the liability freelancers accept when they agree to contracts that hold them liable for their words using indemnity clauses. Other contract terms related to confidentiality violations, libel or defamation committed while writing give freelancers pause. Wanting to protect their business or personal property in lawsuits related to business activities, writers can establish an entity with a state government agency. Here's how to register your entity and keep it legal.

How to Get Better Pay for Your Freelance Writing Business

If you’re like most freelance writers, you’re savvy enough to know before starting a writing project, it’s imperative you put in place a solid contract that sets clear client expectations. However, that’s not always easy, even when you recognize that as a freelance writer, you’re a small business owner in the sales business. Here's how to overcome future payment issues and still build bridges with clients.

Commercial Real Estate and Office Decor

The Importance of Quality Furniture for Your Small Business

The way you design your office reflects on your brand. Employees and clients alike determine the value of your business based on the feel of your office environment. Its design and organization determine whether you'll keep current employees and clients happy while attracting new talent and customers. So, to convey that you're a quality business worth the fees you charge, you'll want to go with quality furniture and an organized space. This blog post tells you how.

Easy Ways to Incorporate Small Business Trends into Your Office Design

Small business trends in office design come and go. But it's important to follow them to know which to implement and when to keep employee and client satisfaction high. You also have to do it in a cost-effective way that leads to high ROI. This blog post tells small business owners how to maintain critical long-term strategies in office design while still incorporating the latest ones with ease. That way, you can keep your employees, customers and bottom line happy.

Using Natural Stone in the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project

After a century of active use, almost any building will begin expressing the groans of advanced aging, with internal and external structures steadily failing. The Minnesota State Capitol building was no exception. In 2013, the centenarian structure, constructed in 1905 by Cass Gilbert, had reached a severe deterioration point. Its crumbling façade, with chunks of marble threatening to fall and injure visitors, became dangerous. To preserve the architectural integrity of this historic building, the 158,225 occupied square foot Capitol is undergoing a $309.674 million, three-plus-year extensive renovation, repair, and restoration. Read more about this award-winning project, that is expected to be completed in late 2017, here.

Institutional Finance & Enterprise Development

White Paper: Reaching Executive Women- An Overlooked — and Growing — Investor Segment

High net worth and ultra-high net worth executive women often get overlooked by wealth management advisors as viable clients. But, this multi-trillion dollar market is a growing—and lucrative—investor segment. From this white paper, advisors learn why this important investor segment has value to them and how to reach this market. [Co-authored with client.] (Inclusion of this writing sample in my portfolio does not represent an endorsement of me or my work by FlexShares or Northern Trust.)

eBook: Customize your clients' ESG experience

Increasingly, investors are interested in aligning their investment portfolios around their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values. Savvy financial professionals are taking essential steps to identify their clients' interests and values to help them meet their investing goals. This research-backed eBook shows financial professionals how to provide customized client experiences that meet their ESG investing requirements.

Understanding the CFP Board’s New Standard on Technology for Financial Planning Software

Recognizing it likely was overdue to provide robust technology standards for CFP® professionals, on October 1, 2019, the CFP Board unveiled its new Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The regulations are effective now, but the CFP Board begins enforcing them on June 30, 2020. Read this ghostwritten post to learn more about how you become compliant to the new technology standards. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

Case Study: ACH Data Means More Lending for a NY Credit Union

What happens when a small NY credit union uses its own ACH data and a small marketing budget to create an auto loan recapture promotion for its members? Phenomenal results happen, including $2.2 million in auto loan business in seven months, up to a 22:1 ROI for each marketing dollar and a jump in signature loan, HELOC, and new credit card account business. Read my case study and learn how, occasionally, marketing can produce magic (although planning took three years).

Why Client Communication Is Key to Building Better Relationships with Women Investors

When working with any investor, financial advisors must excel at client communication. Clients want to feel that their financial advisors hear, respect, and value them—especially women investors. Women now control more than half of personal wealth in the US, roughly $22 trillion. As wealth gets transferred to more women over the next four decades, that number is projected to rise to nearly $29 trillion. Financial advisors must shift their client communication strategies to meet women investors' needs. Here's how. [Bylined blog post.]

How to Create the Foundation of Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Today’s financial planner faces multiple challenges in business development, especially when just getting started with digital marketing techniques. There are numerous digital channels that financial professionals can leverage to connect with prospective clients like never before, and create growth for their firm. Oftentimes, the key to success in any digital marketing initiative is taking a unified approach. This ghostwritten blog post shows financial planners the basics of digital marketing planning. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

The Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Your Business

Crowdfunding combines crowdsourcing and microfinancing. It does that by allowing individuals to invest small amounts in businesses that interest them. Sometimes, funders may outright donate money to your business. In others, they expect something in return, like equity, loan repayment, products or services. It is a way a small business owner can finance a new or existing enterprise without going to the bank. Here's how to find the best crowdfunding sites for your enterprise.

Perfecting Your Client Service Model

The client’s experience is more important than ever. It’s vital during times of disruption to retain clients, and it’s imperative for the future of your business as technology gives firms fresh capacity to engage and delight clients. Research by eMoney isolated a group of firms that offered exceptional client experiences and found that they saw impressive results over the past five years. Learn more about how perfecting their client services model leads to this outcome. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

The Elements of Exceptional Client Service

Research from Cerulli shows client satisfaction is higher than ever—80 percent of investors are satisfied with their current advisor, while only one percent are dissatisfied. Yet, the exceptional client service bar is getting raised continually for financial professionals. Investors are pursing personalized advice more regularly since the pandemic began, and desire honesty and dependability from financial planners. Here's what clients expect from financial planners now. [This is a ghostwritten blog post.]

How a Crisis Accelerates the Need for Holistic Planning and Education for Clients

'A few months ago, I would have given a different answer to the question, “What do you see influencing the future of advice in the next 5 to 10 years?” But the coronavirus pandemic has permanently shifted priorities for most people, including investors and financial professionals.' Here's how a crisis makes more holistic planning and education for clients essential. [This is a *ghostwritten* blog post based on an interview transcript between Mr. Pirker and eMoney Advisor.]

The Importance of Data Aggregation Tools in a Virtual Work Environment

The pandemic has propelled us into a virtual-first world, accelerating the need for firms to move to fully digitized operations. Research by Celent shows that as your clients commit to staying at home, they expect your digital technology to be exceptional. Despite your staff staying home, too, clients expect seamless onboarding and remote communication to get prioritized. This ghostwritten blog post shows financial professionals how to enhance technology to suit client needs in a remote work environment. [Ghostwritten blog post.]

How to Manage Money in Marriage

Consider these statistics on marriage and money. In a 2013 survey by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, almost 36% of couples cited financial problems as the reason for their divorce, making money the fifth leading cause of divorce in the study. The same year, in an Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts study, 22% of advisors said financial difficulties were a root cause of divorce among their clients. Here's how to talk to clients—and get them talking about—money in marriage. (This project required turning a podcast transcript into a blog post.)

Resolving to Set Financial Goals

Every new year, 51% of Americans resolve to get their finances in order. But, like all New Year’s resolutions, making them is only the first step. It’s not enough for clients to say what they want to do financially—they have to know what steps to take to achieve those goals. In this episode, get insights into how to help clients reach their financial goals no matter what time of year it is. (This project required turning a podcast transcript into a blog post.)

Bridging the Gap Between Finance & Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it trying economic times for clients and their advisors. Like during the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009, clients are rethinking their money decisions, monitoring their investments, and rebalancing their portfolios to weather the current economic storm. Clients now depend widely on technology to reassess their financial positions and goals. Here's what opportunities that presents advisors. (This project required turning a podcast transcript into a blog post.)

The Head, Heart and Hand of Financial Advice

In recent years, advisors have learned that there’s a strong connection between the head, the heart, and the hand when providing financial guidance. eMoney’s Heart of Advice Study identified ways the most successful advisors are using these concepts to deliver a great client experience. Getting to the core of what matters to your clients requires the right knowledge, technology, and personal connection. Here's how. (This project required turning a podcast transcript into a blog post.)
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Employee Experience & Organizational Equity

Employee Stories: Leadership Training With a Dual Approach

It's well established that corporate America, including the financial services industry, lacks diversity in management. People of Color get hired less frequently, experience lower promotion rates and voluntarily leave at higher rates in most financial institutions. And, when organizations engage in diversity initiatives, they often focus on “fixing People of Color” as if they are the primary problem. The Hartford has long had a distinct culture that supports employees at all levels. Here's how their EMPOWER program helps. [Bylined blog post.]

A Diverse Workforce Demands An Inclusive Workplace Culture

This is a ghostwritten blog post I pitched, researched, developed and write for an agency client. While, as is their prerogative, they revised the introductory paragraph and some sources and statistics to suit their unique needs, they maintained the structure and keys to diversity success. Since equity-focused employee messaging is one of my core offerings, this was a pleasure to write. (The original version is available for review upon request.)

Is Your Diversity and Inclusion Program Age-Appropriate?

This ghostwritten piece is one I successfully pitched to an agency client based on my subject matter expertise and graduate educational background in corporate communications and cultural transformation. I then researched, developed and wrote the content to fit the client's brand and content strategy. Because equity-focused messaging is now a core offering, I am pleased to have written this. [Ghostwritten blog post.]