Police-Community Relations, How South Korea’s New President Will Affect U.S. Foreign Policy, Managing Financial Stress

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Improving relations between communities and their police forces has been a key issue in the wake of incidents of unrest stemming from police-related violence, including in Milwaukee last year. We talk to a state senator about her new package of bills aiming to make police more accessible and accountable in the eyes of residents. We also discuss ways to dial down the stress that managing our personal finances can cause. Plus, we talk to an expert about how South Korea’s newly-elected president could affect U.S. foreign policy.

Featured in this Show

  • State Senator To Roll Out Bills Aimed At Improving Police-Community Relations

    State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) joins us to talk about her plans to roll out a package of bills this session that is aimed at improving police-community relations.

  • Community Policing, With Racine As A Model

    More than 20 years ago, the city of Racine was in conflict. Crime was rapidly increasing in the city’s neighborhoods.

    When put in the same situation, many cities flood “problem” neighborhoods with more police officers.

    The Racine Police Department here took a different approach: They moved in. The police department purchased and rehabbed old homes into Community Oriented Policing, or “COP,” houses, which serve as literal hubs in their communities.

    State Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said she believes Milwaukee could take a cue from Racine’s success. The houses are part of a set of bills Taylor plans to roll out during the current session.

    “Imagine a police office, a hub for city inspectors, a place for probation agents to meet with individuals, a place where neighborhood associations have their meetings, a place where the community gardens,” Taylor said. “It is really a collaborative effort … It could be anything that a community defines it to be for them.”

    Racine saw success with the model. Crime “has been reduced up to 70 percent” in some cases, according to the city.

    Taylor is enthusiastic about the idea. She said it brings together many of the pillars of community policing she said are so important, and often missed.

    “What I want to do is help us build that trust, and help communities learn to be partners in public safety,” Taylor said.

    Part of that, she said is building relationships. She said she believes it’s crucial for officers to live in the communities for which they serve.

    “It’s important that police not occupy a particular community, but that they are a part, a member of that community,” she said. “In order to understand what the pulse of that community is, to understand the people and the way that they communicate.”

    That idea is controversial. For example, the city of Milwaukee requires police and firefighters to live within 15 miles of city limits. The requirement is lenient compared to earlier, more strict residency requirements that required all city employees to live within city limits.

    But the more lenient law is still under scrutiny.

    Last year, two Milwaukee police officers sued the city in federal court over the rule. Just last week, a federal appeals court upheld the residency requirement.

    Taylor said the entire community power structure is benefited when officers are embedded in communities they serve. She doesn’t agree with arguments that contend that kind of requirement would limit applicants or the freedom of law enforcement.

    “It really is not about saying where you can’t live,” Taylor said. “It’s saying that if you want the job, then you need to do these things because it will help you to do the job more effectively. And candidly, keep a community safer and keep you safer.”

    Taylor doesn’t know if her ideas will garner bipartisan support.

    But talking about it is the first step.

    “I truly will be working on it,” she said. “I hope that we will at the very least have the dialogue.”

  • How South Korea's New President Will Affect U.S. Foreign Policy

    On Tuesday, Moon Jae-in won South Korea’s presidential election to become the nation’s next president. He’s from the liberal Democratic Party, and he’s said that he’s open to discussions with North Korea. We talk to an expert about how this new president will affect U.S. foreign policy on the Korean peninsula.

  • Dialing Down The Stress Of Personal Finance

    Dealing with money issues can be stressful. A finance writer shares advice on how to dial down the panic…and take simple steps to get more control over our personal finances.

  • How To Reduce Financial Stress

    Money is an integral part of our lives. We need money to pay the bills, buy food and clothes and occasionally treat ourselves. While money is essential, it isn’t always a benevolent force. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 70 percent of adults name money as one of their top stressors.

    Emily Guy Birken is a financial expert and the author of, “End Financial Stress Now: Immediate Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Financial Outlook.” She said the stress that money can cause at the individual level can have a ripple effect throughout our lives.

    “(Money) causes marital problems, it causes stress in families,” Birken said. “When there are families that experience money stress, it causes their kids to be more likely to take on credit card debt when they grow up.”

    While many people may assume it’s only those in low economic brackets who experience financial stress, Birken said people from every financial tier report experiencing anxiety about money. And she said financial stress can make our money situation worse as time moves on.

    “We can’t separate the way we feel about money from how we deal with money,” Birken said. “What happens (then) is if you don’t have that separation between your emotions and your money decisions, you end up making counter-productive money decisions that can just further entrench the stress that you feel.”

    Birken said there are some good steps people can take to address financial stress that could help them make better money decisions in the future.

    Figure Out Your Emotional Relationship To Money

    Beyond having too much or too little money, one of the biggest issues facing people financially is evaluating their emotional relationship with money. Birken said many people make the mistake of viewing money as a simple math equation without addressing their feelings towards it.

    “There’s a lot of underlying psychological and emotional meanings that we put to money — even moral meanings that we put to money,” she said. “So, people might think that money is a source of shame. And you very often will see people assign moral judgments to people having great wealth or people living in poverty.”

    On the flip side, Birken said some people will attach feelings of freedom or love to money. Without acknowledging emotional ties to money, she said, people can sometimes make irrational decisions.

    “Because you’ll be letting those underlying meanings drive the ship rather than actually making the choices that are the most rational, most intelligent choices for you,” Birken said.

    Small Goals Can Yield Significant Results, Financially and Mentally

    Feeling in (or out of) control of money can have a major influence on how people make financial decisions. But Birken said there are small steps people can take to feel more financially in control. One way is to change the way people approach goal-setting. Birken credits motivational author James Clear with the concept of shifting from big, external goals to smaller, more introspective goals — namely, how these goals can help us become the kind of people that we want to be.

    “You might say: ‘I want to be the type of person who sends money every week to my debt,’” Birken said.

    With this example, she said that even if it’s only a small amount that you use to pay down your debt (beyond the minimums you need to pay), you are able to prove to yourself that you can keep your financial promises. She said taking this approach means you’re more likely to achieve your goal or be less prone to defeat if something unexpected happens.

    She said this simple shift can have a significant impact on the mindset of people trying to make better choices.

    “It snowballs into this feeling of, ‘I am a person in control,’” Birken said.

    ‘Budget With Your Own Psychology In Mind’

    Budgeting tends to get a bad wrap but it can be helpful for people trying to right their finances. Birken said while budgeting is helpful, it’s best to approach the plan with your own psychology in mind.

    “It’s important you find a way that works with what you want to do,” she said. “Because making the budget is not the hard part, it’s adhering to the budget that’s the hard part.”

    She said there are a number of apps and websites that will analyze and aggregate your spending habits. This will allow you to see where you’re overspending and where you could afford to save money. She said that this technology can especially help people who are anxious about money or who find budgeting boring.

    Don’t Agonize Or Obsess Over Big Purchases

    Addressing financial stress doesn’t simply involve paying bills or paying down debt. There will be times that a person will need to make a big investment, such as replacing a roof or buying a new car. Birken said there are people who worry so much about making the wrong decision that they spend too much time and energy thinking about it. She advises that people who fall into this category do what they can to limit their time doing research to a couple of hours.

    “You just need to know enough to make a good decision,” Birken said. “If at the end of the (first) hour, you don’t feel comfortable making a good decision, give yourself another hour, but no more. And that allows you to limit the amount of time you spend obsessing over (your purchase).”

    She also advocates for people to limit the number of options they have to consider when making a purchase.

    Acknowledge That Money Problems Will Always Be Around

    Birken said there will always be money problems, regardless of which economic bracket you fall into. She said that even billionaire Warren Buffett would, “be wiped out by the zombie apocalypse.”

    “There is always something that could wipe out any fortune, no matter how big,” Birken said.

    But, Birken said, taking steps to alleviate stress around money is one of the best financial decisions a person can make.

    “Find a way to think rationally about your money and make the best decisions with the money you have,” she said. “And that is the most important thing to do with your money, because that will allow you to always roll with whatever punches are coming, because there will always be money problems no matter where you end up.”

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Rob Ferrett Producer
  • Lena Taylor Guest
  • Scott Snyder Guest
  • Emily Guy Birken Guest

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