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Refund Mania! Here are six smarter ways to spend your tax refund
The April 17th tax deadline has come and gone, which leads us to the much happier half of the season – TAX REFUNDS! If you were an early-bird filer, you probably already have your tax refund in hand, while the procrastinators will have to wait a little while longer. Either way, you’ll need to come up with a solid plan for that chunk of change.
The average 2017 tax refund in Georgia is expected to be $2,793, slightly lower than the national average of $2,895. Regardless, that’s a hefty sum, especially when you receive it in one big fat check. You may think of it as new-found money, but you need to remember that you worked hard in 2017 and your refund is not just some random windfall. Will you spend it, save it, or invest it?
What’s the plan?
Consider your current financial situation and your priorities. What decisions can you make now that might positively impact your financial future? Here are six smart moves to think about.
1. Transfer it. One of the best recommendations we can offer is to immediately move your refund from your checking account to your savings account. This seemingly insignificant move could be the smartest step in the entire process. Why? Because it’s easy to spend $20 here and $50 there, and when it’s all whittled away, you’ll have nothing of real value to show for it. What to do next is up to you.
2. Catch up on your savings. B-O-R-I-N-G, we know, but excitement isn’t always the goal. Do you have an emergency fund that needs a little boost? Have you fallen a little behind on your child’s college fund? Need to replenish your personal savings? Paying bills and saving for the future is essentially a requirement when you’re adulting. Plus, having some cash stashed away for an unexpected expense would give you some financial peace of mind, and that’s incredibly valuable in today’s economy.
3. Invest in your future. With the help of a financial advisor, find an investment that will help you earn more money in the long-term. Consider an IRA, a 529 plan, or even a traditional brokerage account. Whichever option you choose, be sure to discuss your risk tolerance, time horizon, and ultimate goals before making a decision.
4. Pay off your high-interest debt. Revolving debt is one of the heaviest financial burdens you can carry. As interest compounds monthly and you rack up new charges, your existing balance climbs fast. Now is the time to knock down some debt and regain control over your finances.
5. Spend it on your home. After all, it is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. Shouldn’t you take care of it? Consider some maintenance or improvements that will increase your home’s value, or double up on your mortgage payments so you can pay it off sooner and reduce your accumulating interest.
6. Have a little fun. You need to make a smart decision and use your refund wisely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, too. Go out to dinner, take in a Braves game, opt for some wireless earbuds or a trendy new pair of kicks. Just make sure it’s not too extra.
Check out our list of the 35 best indoor activities in and around Atlanta
Spring in Atlanta is the perfect time to play outdoors, unless, of course, you’re one of the 25 million Americans who is allergic to trees, grass or ragweed pollen. Maybe we shouldn’t mention this season’s higher than normal rainfall or the sweltering summer temperatures that come with living in the southeast.
While we would never give up the SEC, Chick-fil-A, or sweet tea, sometimes you have to head indoors — at least for a little while. Here are 35 of the very best, fun, wacky, weird and unique things to do in the ATL:
1. The World of Coca-Cola – You’ll be amazed at the history behind the iconic drink, visit the Secret Formula vault, and have the chance to sample 100+ Coca-Cola beverages from around the world. Have a coke and a smile!
2. LEGOLAND Discovery Center – Visit the 4D Cinema, experience the thrill of the interactive rides, check out the race car Build & Test area, and join the Master Builder Academy to build with experts. It’s the ultimate indoor playground for both adults and kids.
3. College Football Hall of Fame – 95,000 square feet, a 45-yard indoor football field, and 50+ interactive exhibits dedicated to the greatest players and coaches in the history of college football.
4. Center For Civil and Human Rights – Explore the history of the civil rights movement and how it’s impacted civil rights around the globe.
5. Georgia Aquarium – Dive into the underwater world of tens of thousands of sea animals, including 500 species from around the world. Be sure to check out the Behind the Seas tour, too!
6. Andretti Indoor Karting & Games – Take adventure to a new level with Andretti-style action, speed, and excitement. From go-karting and ropes courses to zip lines and racing simulators, it’s fun at every hairpin turn.
7. Dad’s Garage Theatre – Enjoy the hilarious improv comedy–or jump into an 8-week class–at this award-winning non-profit theatre.
8. Delta Flight Museum – Tour vintage jets and explore rare artifacts, learn about aviation’s cutting-edge technology and fly the only Boeing 737 flight simulator open to the public.
9. Fox Theatre – The hour-long guided tour will take you back to the golden era of the Fox Theatre. Learn the secrets and the history of the largest movie palace in the southeast.
10. High Museum of Art – One of the nation’s leading art museums, the High houses 11,000 pieces comprised of classic and contemporary African, American, and European art, decorative and folk art, and photography.
11. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum – The only Presidential Library in the southeast, you’ll be able to visit a life-size replica of Jimmy Carter’s Oval Office and study the historical memorabilia that showcases the former president’s time in office.
12. Atlanta Movie Tours – For all you movie buffs…hop on a comfortable, climate-controlled bus and visit your favorite movie and television locations. Their insider tour guides are great at share fascinating behind-the-scenes stories you won’t hear anywhere else.
13. Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Catch an Atlanta Falcons game or an Atlanta United Soccer game at the best sports and entertainment complex in America, or sign up for a guided tour that will give you a behind-the-scenes look into through the state-of-the-art facility.
14. CNN Center – Take the behind-the-scenes tour of CNN’s world headquarters. See how a live broadcast works and how the world’s largest news organization operates.
15. TopGolf – Swing by this climate controlled, luxury, driving range complex to challenge your friends to fun, point-scoring golf games that appeal to every skill level. You don’t need to be a scratch golfer to have fun at this venue.
16. Michael C. Carlos Museum (Emory University) – Study the legacies of ancient civilizations when you visit the Southeast’s largest collection of antiquities and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, and the Americas.
17. The Painted Pin – It’s not only an upscale boutique bar and bowling alley, but you can also try your hand at indoor bocce ball, ping pong, shuffleboard, skeeball, giant Jenga, darts, southern skittles, and more!
18. Margaret Mitchell House – Whether you love literature or frankly, don’t give a darn, you’ll be intrigued by the history behind the most well-know and beloved southern soap opera—both the novel and the movie–of all time.
19. The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse – Eat, drink, and nourish your inner poet. Costumes, sword fights, live music, and an enchanting night of theatre awaits.
20. Atlanta History Center – This 33-acre experience explores historical homes, exhibitions, miles of garden trails, and interactive activities that lend themselves to Atlanta’s historic relevance.
21. Bodies the Exhibition: Atlanta – Amazing, weird, educational, and beautiful, the exhibition offers an intimate and respectful view into the extraordinary uniqueness of the human form.
22. Starlight Six Drive-in Theater – Watch a movie in the comfort of your own…car! Take a ride back into the 1950s at this multiple screen drive-in that offers double features every day of the week.
23. Pop The Cork Wine Tours – Wine connoisseur of not, you’ll learn how to swirl, sip, and savor during your public or private tour of the North Georgia Wine Country. Tours include chauffeured transportation, a gourmet picnic lunch, and a full day of wine tasting.
24. Fernbank Museum of Natural History – Explore cultural artifacts, marvel at the prehistoric world of dinosaurs, enjoy science interactives and experience the thrill of the IMAX® Theatre.
25. iFLY Atlanta Indoor Skydiving – Not the daredevil you’d like to be? You can still experience the thrill of skydiving as you free fall on a smooth cushion of air. No parachute, not tether, but super safe and super cool!
26. Cascade Skating Rink – An integral part of Atlanta’s music scene, you’ll discover a whole new world of roller skating dance. Family, teen, and adult nights feature both regulars—of which you’ll be in awe–and novices, so go get your groove on.
27. Decatur Glass Blowing – Nate Nardi, glass artist, owner, and operator has created a full showroom of stunning glass blown art. Stop by to marvel at his creations or sign up for a glass blowing class yourself—or make it a date night!
28. Bury The Hatchet – Learn about the competitive sport of axe throwing, practice wielding an axe at a wooden target, and participate in a tournament-style game with your friends! Take out your frustrations and have some fun. Don’t worry; most everyone is a first-timer.
29. Board & Brush – You don’t have to be an artist to create a masterpiece. Head over to this creative studio to build, distress, and paint custom, on-trend, classic farmhouse style décor. Come on your own or bring a group of DIY-ers. No experience necessary!
30. Paint the Town – Eat, drink, and paint your way to a beautiful piece of art. This BYOB paint and sip art studio, staffed with friendly and talented artists helps to create a fun and relaxing night with friends.
31. Salud! Cooking School – Whether you’re a seasoned chef or prefer to make reservations, these hands-on cooking classes teach culinary skills, techniques, and recipes, that are educational, practical, fun, and most importantly, delicious!
32. The Booth Western Art Museum– The only museum of its kind in the southeast, the main art galleries feature the Western artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Come see America’s story.
33. Medieval Times – Travel back to medieval Spain as you’re entertained by brave knights who compete in a 2-hour jousting tournament while you enjoy dining with the royal court. Who will be crowned champion?
34. Room Escape Atlanta – If you can follow the clues and solve the puzzle, you might just be able to escape. But can you do it in time? An exciting and thrilling test of teamwork, cooperation, and out-of-the-box thinking.
35. SkyView Atlanta – Sitting 20 stories above Centennial Park—in a climate-controlled gondola–you’ll enjoy the most spectacular panoramic view of downtown Atlanta. Upgrade to the VIP ride and your gondola will sport Ferrari style seats, a glass floor, and longer flight time.
Living the Dream: Q&A with Renee Montgomery
Fresh from a title-winning season—her second in her professional career—with the Minnesota Lynx, point guard Renee Montgomery is excited to bring her championship experience to the Atlanta Dream. Ne[x]t took a few minutes to chat with Montgomery and get to know her both on and off the court.
First of all, congratulations on signing with the Dream! After winning the 2017 WNBA Championship with Minnesota, what made you decide to sign with Atlanta?
I signed with Atlanta because I’m from West Virginia and I wanted to be closer to my family and friends. I also have a house in Atlanta. So, being able to go home every day was a selling point.
How did you know signing with the Dream was the right move for you?
After speaking with Coach Nicki [Collen], I knew signing with the Dream was right for me. We spoke on the phone for quite some time, and I loved the direction she wanted to take with the team.
What do you think you bring to the team?
One thing I will always bring to the team is high energy – that’s something everyone can control, and I have this thing I say, which is, “Control the controllable.” Another thing I plan to bring is leadership, and hopefully, I’ll make some shots along the way.
What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
There’s always something to do. You can go to a nice restaurant, watch a comedy show, go to a sporting event, etc., and never run out of things to do.
You’ve won two WNBA Championships with the Lynx. You play overseas during the offseason, and you’ve even been invited to Prince’s estate for a private performance. Sounds like you’ve had some exciting moments throughout your career. What has been your favorite moment? (It’s Prince, right?!)
One of my favorite sports-related moments has to be getting a private concert from Prince. Yes, you read that right – I still can’t believe it happened! My second favorite moment was taking my Snook (Mom) to meet President Obama. It’s one thing to be able to experience something amazing on your own, but it’s way more fulfilling when you get to bring your family with you.
Could you tell us how you got into basketball?
I started playing basketball around nine years old because my sisters were playing. I’m the youngest and everyone knows the youngest in the family wants to do everything their older siblings do. Later on, they started cheerleading and joined the majorettes. That’s when our interests parted ways.
When did you know you wanted to make a career out of playing ball?
I knew I wanted to make basketball a career during my senior year at the University of Connecticut (UConn). I know it’s a late start, but I come from an academic family, and when I was younger my whole goal was to go to school for free. My Snook is a college professor, so academic performance was pressed just as much as athletics. I have two sisters, and one is a doctor and the other is an accountant; I guess I’m the loser on the academic side.
What keeps you motivated day-to-day?
What keeps me motivated on a day-to-day basis are the sacrifices my family made to take me on all of those AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) trips and everything when I was younger. There was no such thing as a family vacation – family vacation meant going to AAU Nationals.
What is the biggest lesson being a professional athlete has taught you so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to be consistent in the workplace. Whether I’m sick, sad, or tired, I know that I still have to go to work and perform at a high level.
What is your best advice for young girls who are aspiring professional athletes?
My best advice is to control the controllable. Your attitude and energy are something you have control over every day. Shots might not go in, and you might make mistakes, but you can control how you respond.
What do you do in your free time off the court?
In my free time, I like to spend as much time as I can with family, but if I’m out of town, I enjoy watching movies.
If you weren’t a professional basketball player, what do you think you would be doing?
If I wasn’t a professional basketball player, I think I would be acting and/or providing commentary for games.
Georgia’s Own and Ne[x]t Magazine are all about helping our members make smart financial choices. Any tips or tricks you’d like to share with our readers about managing money?
One tip I have about managing money is that if you can’t afford to comfortably purchase two of them (excluding homes and cars), then don’t buy it – you’re not ready yet.
Just for fun – what’s something that many people might not know about you?
I’m a baby whisperer… the only problem is I don’t change diapers!
10 fun things to do this summer that won’t break the bank!
Ahhh, the lazy days of summer, it’s your kids’ favorite time of the year—no school and no homework! But the novelty only lasts so long. It’s only a matter of time before you hear the all too familiar question, ”What can we do? We’re bored!”
With two whole months of summer vacation left, you’ll have to find some activities for the family that will keep them entertained but won’t break the bank. We’ve rounded up some frugal fun that will earn you big points without spending big bucks.
1. Dollar Movie Days
Many of the larger movie theater chains offer a summer program of weekly $1 family-friendly movies. Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express 2017 includes Kung Fu Panda 3, The Boxtrolls, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing, to name a few. Stop at the Dollar Store or the grocery store for some movie-themed snacks, and you’ve got a fun and inexpensive morning out!
2. Let Target Pay
Target sponsors FREE admission to events and museums across the nation. Check out their site to see what’s happening near you. Maybe next time you won’t feel so bad when you can’t leave the store without spending $100.
3. Apple Camp
Have a child that’s interested in technology? Apple retail stores offer Apple Camp, where kids 8 to 12 can learn to make a movie or interactive book. It’s FREE so register here.
4. Kid Swap
Have a friend that’s a good baker, painter, or movie-taker? Make plans to swap days and kids. The kids will love it because they’ll have fun with their friends and maybe learn or experience something new. You’ll enjoy it because you’ll have some free time to run errands, get some work done, or get a manicure!
5. Go for a Hike
Not all hiking trails are designed for experienced adventurers. Download the All Trails app, and wherever you are, you’ll be able to find the perfect hike, bike ride, or trail run by length, rating, and difficulty level. Filter by dog or kid-friendly trails, or find trails with great views. Bring a bird watching book, pack a picnic, and make an afternoon of it.
6. Visit a Fire Station
Most local stations will be happy to arrange tours for kids. This is an exciting field trip for both preschooler and school-age children. They’ll love learning about the different fire trucks and meeting real live heroes.
7. Crafting Classes and Workshops
Check out some of your local big chain stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot for their FREE kids’ weekly wood project workshops. Michaels craft stores also sponsor inexpensive classes for kids that encourage imagination and allow their creativity to shine!
8. Camp out
It’s always fun to sleep where you normally don’t, so whether it’s in a national park, in the backyard or under your dining room table draped with sheets, you can still call it camping!
9. Family Bowling
Bowling is always a fun time for families. Register your kids at Kids Bowl Free, to participate in a nationwide program where kids get to bowl two games for free every day during the summer at their local bowling alley.
10. Host a Scavenger Hunt
This may sound like a lot of work, but you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you like and Wikihow is just one of the many sites with instructions and great ideas.
Whatever your summer plans are, go out and enjoy yourself. Just know that all fun doesn’t have to break the bank. There are tons of things you can do that will create lasting memories and still allow you to stay within budget. Be creative and resourceful, and you’ll have the best summer yet!
6 tips on how to travel cheap
Memorable vacations can come with a price tag you’d rather forget. But with proper planning, smart research and a flexible attitude, you can travel cheap and still have an experience worth remembering. Here’s how.
1. Cut transportation costs
Before planning your trip, have a rough budget in mind. A vacation calculator can help. If you know how much you’re willing to spend on airfare, this map can give you ideas for destinations that are within your budget.
Traveling cheaply isn’t just about cutting costs — it’s also about getting the most out of what you spend. You may discover, for example, that the $400 you thought could pay only for a flight within the U.S. can actually take you to Paris and back.
If your travel dates are flexible, you may find an even bigger selection of places you can afford to visit. If you’ve already picked a destination, changing the departure dates could lower your airfare.
Setting up alerts for when prices drop should also be a part of your strategy. Try apps such as Yapta or Hopper, which will send you price notifications on flights you’re tracking. (Booking fees may apply.) You can also follow Twitter handles like @theflightdeal or @FareDealAlert for limited-time deals. If you find a price you like, scrutinize the airline’s baggage policy before booking. Some offer cheaper ticket prices, but have strict carry-on requirements or tack on sizable fees for overweight and oversized luggage.
If your destination is within driving distance, consider hopping in a car instead of on a plane. Use a trip calculator, like this one, to make sure it’s worth the tradeoff. Add in the cost of renting a car, if necessary.
2. Compare lodging options
Finding a cheap hotel room can be tricky and takes a bit of effort. Start by shopping around on sites like Expedia, Priceline.com and Kayak to find hotels in the area, and then search for hotel promotion codes online. Contact hotels directly to negotiate a lower price. Also consider staying in a hotel outside the center of the city and looking for last-minute deals.
If you’re open to alternatives, skip the hotel and book a room through a site like Airbnb, Homeaway and OneFineStay. Not only could those be more affordable, but often you’ll stay with a local resident who can point you to cheap restaurants and activities that aren’t in travel guides. Hostels can also be a money-saver if you’re OK with bare-bones accommodations and potentially sharing a room. Keep in mind that they may have age restrictions.
3. Eat wisely (and not just healthy)
Many travelers underestimate the costs of meals, snacks and tips, says guidebook author James Kaiser. He advises bringing your own food or buying it at a store when you arrive at your destination to save money.
That doesn’t mean you have to skip restaurants altogether and haul groceries around. Dining out is one of the most enjoyable parts of travel. The trick is knowing when to indulge and when to save.
Start by looking at your itinerary. Break down your meals each day and identify the times you want to splurge. Then look for ways to save money on the other meals. For example, you can avoid inflated prices at the airport by bringing food and an empty water bottle that you can fill once you’re past security (passengers are prohibited from bringing more than 3.4 ounces of liquids, per container, in carry-on bags at U.S. airports). For breakfast, pack energy bars so you can save time and money in the mornings.
Your spending will likely fluctuate from day to day, so remember to adjust your budget to avoid overspending.
4. Research your currency options
If you’re traveling abroad, find out if the country you’re visiting is plastic-friendly. If so, a debit or credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees could be your best bet. Otherwise, research your currency exchange options to avoid the poor rates and numerous fees common at airport kiosks. Those will shrink your vacation fund before you’ve even had the chance to unpack.
Visiting your bank or credit union to exchange money before you leave may be the best option. Assuming it has that currency, you’ll likely get better exchange rates and lower fees. And, just in case you end up needing more cash once you’re abroad, ask if your financial institution has international branches or a partnership with a bank overseas. If so, you may be able to withdraw cash from those ATMs with low or no fees.
5. Get a prepaid phone or SIM card
A cell phone can be useful for navigating new cities, as well as staying connected to travel companions and life back home. But for international travelers, it may also come with data roaming fees. You’d save the most money by ditching the phone during your trip, but that may not be realistic. Your best option will likely be buying a prepaid phone once you arrive or having your carrier unlock your phone, if possible, so you can use a foreign SIM card when you land.
6. Keep souvenir spending in check
Like everything else, set a budget for souvenirs. Also consider doing some research on the best souvenirs and shops, so you’ll have a sense of what you might buy and the prices to expect.
If you find yourself on the verge of an impulse purchase, try an abbreviated version of the 72-hour shopping rule, in which you put off buying something for three days to see if you still want it. That amount of time is probably impractical when you’re on vacation, but if your schedule allows you to return to the store the next day or even later that same day, you may find that you can easily live without that $150 wool sweater from Iceland. You were only going to wear it once, anyway.
Behind the Mic with Brian Moote
A recent transplant from Los Angeles, Brian made the move across the country to join The Bert Show, alongside show veterans Bert and Kristin, a little over a year ago.
We chatted with Brian about how he’s adjusting to life in Atlanta, his work on radio and on stage, and his unique talents. Find out how this once-aspiring bulldozer operator became a radio and comedy star.
How did you get your start in radio?
I got into radio while living in Los Angeles as a comedian. I was on the road and an opportunity opened up to audition in Seattle. I sent in some demos from various radio shows that I had done around the country while touring in radio, and the station liked it a lot so they offered me a cohost position on their new morning show. It was called “Mornings with Jackie, Marco and Moote” on Click 98.9 FM.
Was being in radio a childhood dream? What would you be doing if you weren’t in radio?
My dream as a child was to play professional basketball or be a bulldozer operator. My mom was less keen on the idea of me driving tractors. If I wasn’t in radio, I would be touring the country as a comedian or using my master’s degree in social work to help at-risk youth.
You moved across the country to join The Bert Show – what about the show convinced you to make the move?
Making the decision to move across the country from Los Angeles to Atlanta was a pretty easy one. The Bert Show is nationally known as a unique and cutting-edge morning show in Top 40 formats. It is rare to find a morning show that has as much talk time and story development as The Bert Show does. Joining the show was the right choice for me because it is a place in where I can both entertain people in the mornings, as well as learn about radio and grow as a personality.
What’s the biggest challenge working in radio?
Balancing all the things that I do for the show and my life outside the show. It can get difficult to put the right amount of effort into all areas of your life and not let something suffer. Like for me, I perform stand-up comedy 3 or 4 nights a week, which can make early mornings tough on my creative process for both comedy and radio.
What’s your favorite thing about The Bert Show?
My favorite thing is how many great listeners we have and getting to meet a lot of them when I am out and about in the community or at my comedy shows.
What’s been the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do thanks to The Bert Show?
Hands down, the coolest thing that I have been able to do as a member of The Bert Show is attending the Super Bowl, even though the game didn’t go the way that we wanted. It was a crazy experience going to all of the fancy parties and goofing around at the NFL Experience. The coolest part of the whole trip was that my brother and I did not have game tickets — we were basically just out there to experience the parties and the vibe of the weekend. When we got to a tailgate party at the stadium in Houston, we met Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s security staff who he sent out to the game. We told them that we didn’t actually have tickets and they contacted Arthur and got two single tickets for us. They were all amazing people.
If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
Hmmm… That’s an interesting question. I am not a big fan of most interviews. They are difficult to do because our job is to get the person to say something interesting that nobody has heard and it’s their job to basically say nothing and promote something. I think if I had the option to interview anybody, I would go with Barack Obama right now. I feel like since he’s out of office now, you might actually get some good answers about what he actually thinks.
What’s a typical day in the life of Brian Moote like?
A typical day for me begins about 4:30am, and I head to the station at 5am. We have the show from 5:45am to 10am, and then I have to get into post-show stuff, like meetings, cutting commercial spots, preparing material for the next day, etc. I generally get out of the station around 12pm and I head home to take my dog Moxie (little Chihuahua mix) out for a walk, and then I get a nap in for an hour or so. Naps are huge for me because I generally do stand-up at night. At about 2pm or 3pm, I try to get some exercise in, sometimes a long run, or a workout class in the area. In the afternoon, I end up working on radio and comedy things for a couple hours and then about 7pm, I head to one of the comedy clubs in the city and work on some jokes.
How did you get into comedy? Is it hard to balance your comedy career with your radio career?
I got into comedy after I got out of college and moved back to Seattle to teach Special Ed. My mom had always told me to do comedy because I was a good storyteller. I was incredibly nervous to go on stage for the first time because I have always hated public speaking. After that, I kept getting on stage every night for the next few years and eventually started getting paid to do it. The balance between stand-up and radio is difficult. One reason is that the hours are opposite, so you’re basically living your life in a split shift with sleep in between. For me, it is really important to devote time to both individually, in terms of developing material. There is some crossover in both, but it’s important to approach them separately because the style of delivery is different. I try to devote an hour a day to stand-up writing and other stand-up projects completely outside of The Bert Show.
Which comedians influence you the most?
The comedian that inspires me the most is Bill Burr. His style and material, I relate to pretty well. He likes to take stories from his life and tough social topics and turn them into jokes, which I respect. He is actually the reason that I went to Boston instead of NYC for graduate school and comedy. He told me it was a city that would really help you find your comedic voice and he was correct.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your comedy?
It sounds cliché, but I get my material from my life and the world around me. Generally, all of the things that I talk about on stage come from an experience I had or thought about. Of course, the jokes get ridiculous because I embellish on them and add new aspects. The one thing for me is that I have to relate to the material or I find it boring. I am not a huge fan of just jokes for joke’s sake. I still write those types of jokes for social media, but they usually don’t make the cut for my onstage act.
You’ve previously worked in special education and with at-risk youth – is that something you’re still involved with?
I am still involved with a lot of organizations that not only work with special needs and at-risk youth, but a variety of causes in the greater Atlanta area. At this point in my career, I mainly work with helping organizations raise money and awareness for their cause. If people want to either get involved with non-profits, or have a non-profit that they want me to help out with, the best way to get in touch with me is through e-mail or on social media.
How are you adjusting to life in Atlanta? What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
I love Atlanta so far, it’s a city with a ton of fun neighborhoods. My favorite thing to do here is explore since I am new to the city. I really enjoy riding my bike or jogging around exploring.
It’s no secret Georgia’s Own and Ne[x]t are all about making smart financial choices. Why do you think it’s so important for the younger generation to learn about managing money?
I think that it’s huge for young folks to manage their money because I think a lot of the financial resources that older generations have are starting to dry up and I think that it is important to plan for your future independently so you don’t have to depend on other programs.
Do you have any tips or tricks to help keep your finances in check?
The only tip that I have is not to ignore things. It can get too easy to just ignore your finances when you get stressed out by life. I let a student loan go into default when I was 23, and it took me a few years to get back on track and organized.
Just for fun – what is one thing about you that many people might not know?
I can juggle and ride a unicycle. I learned how to do those things when I was a clown in 4-H in third grade. Yes, that is right, I was a clown in 4-H and I dressed up as a hobo clown and walked around the Island County Fair entertaining people.