Category Archives: Financial Education

The Middle Class is Disappearing…

 

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“The middle class is disappearing” has been a standard line during this election cycle.  As it turns out, it’s not wrong…”

These words caught my attention as I breezed through my morning reading on the NPR News application on my smartphone.

Middle class is a term which is rather abstract and undefined in the world we live in.  Some young people may have never experienced a world where the middle class was vibrant, growing, and empowered.

To learn more, please click here to read about a brief history of American’s middle class.  Quick and easy read and something to think about!

 

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myRA – Starting Small

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ffpcovermarch2016lulufinalAs a broker and financial advisor I used to dream that someday (the wishful someday we all know about) there would be a way for lower and middle class income people to start preparing for retirement with a small investment account.

I had seen how getting people started with a small investment of $25 a month increases their confidence and understanding of the value of the concept of accumulating funds.  Over time it has been less financially attractive for the investment community to offer services to small individual investors  who aren’t part of a larger level of overall contributions from a workplace retirement plan like a 401k and 403b.  This means that people who want to contribute to a Roth IRA often had few choices except to accumulate money just to get started.  That of course, usually didn’t happen and nothing changed.

A new program called myRA is an option to fill that gap between getting started and entering the investment community.  Is it all I dreamed of?  Yes, pretty close.  Is it worth learning more about if you aren’t accumulating money for retirement?  Yes!  Is it perfect?  No, but then neither are we and our best intentions to invest when we accumulate some funds are overcome with this option.

The information below is from the myRA.gov website.  As always, tell your friends and family.  It doesn’t take an investment professional to get you to this solution.

About myRA

The United States Department of the Treasury developed myRA® to help more people start saving for retirement.

Why was myRA developed?

myRA was developed to remove common barriers to saving and help people take the first step toward a more secure retirement.

Who is myRA for?

myRA is designed for people who don’t have access to a employer-sponsored retirement savings plans or lack other options to start saving for retirement.

How does myRA work?

People can contribute to their myRA account with as little as a few dollars a month generally up to $5,500 per year (or $6,500 per year for those age 50 and over).

Millions of Americans aren’t saving—or aren’t saving enough—for their retirement. myRA offers a simple, safe, and affordable way for people, especially those who don’t have access to a retirement savings plan at work, to get started.

myRA is a Roth IRA retirement savings account with no start-up cost and no fees. myRA has no minimum contribution requirement, so people can contribute the amount that best fits their budget.*

Contributions to myRA accounts are invested in a new United States Treasury security, which safely earns interest at the same variable rate as investments in the government securities fund for federal employees. This investment is backed by the United States Treasury and the account carries no risk of losing money.

People can fund their myRA account directly from their paycheck, or from a personal account, such as a checking or savings account, or by directing some or all of their federal tax refund to their account when they file their taxes.

myRA can be a first step

myRA can help people without access to a retirement savings plan get started saving, but it is not intended to be the only way they save for retirement. myRA is not a replacement for 401(k)s or other types of employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. People can have a maximum account balance of $15,000, or a lower balance for up to 30 years. When either of those limits is reached, savings will be transferred or rolled over into a private-sector Roth IRA where people can continue to grow their savings

From: myRA.gov. You can learn more there and enroll!

 

The Doubly High Cost of Being Female

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Some of my friends and business associates have been out and about talking to women about business development and financial management.  There are two quotes we bring up to gently gain the attention of the women we meet.

The statistic that really grabs the audience is that the average age of widowhood is 56.  Interestingly, most men and women guess numbers in the 70s or 80s.  Big surprise.   Of course many women are choosing to stay single, but this statistic makes everyone take inventory of their relationships.

Then we talk about how women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That’s in improvement over the 72 cents I used to talk about when I first started working with women and finances.  Still, something to think about.

Today as I breezed through my daily news reading on my cellphone, I found this really powerful article titled The Doubly High Cost of Being Female.  Here I found more things that I really hadn’t understood, or even thought about.  Can we fix all of it, probably not.  Can we learn and do better?  Absolutely.

To read the article, please just click here.

 

 

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Financial Freedom Party for Women, Workbook Edition for 2016 Now Available

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I often say that I agree with a well-known author who says she likes                          I wrote better than  I write.

Once something is written, published and out into the world it is a relief and an accomplishment.  For me, going back and updating is something that is really important and a luxury these days because of on-line publishing, but it takes focus and commitment.  This is true for all of us in so many important things we do in our lives.  Focus and finish.

So, I am very excited to tell you that a spiral bound version of Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition 2016  is now available.  This version has some updates,  is easier to use as a workbook,  has a new cover to make it more fun, and a tagline of Party with a Purpose!

Just click here to access the private link to purchase the book, or click on the area above on the side of the webpage at the small x.  It will pull up the Lulu tab.

Please consider having a Financial Freedom Party and also ordering a book for your personal use.  This book  makes a great high school and college graduation gift and is a good resource for those getting married or in relationships which involve joint money decisions.  After working with girls and young women and teaching life skills over the last six year, I have learned that it is never too early to teach financial fundamentals.  The audience is pretty limitless!

We women, our families and friends work hard to earn money and spend it.  As Mary Hunt says, The degree of a woman’s financial  confidence greatly determines her success.  Let’s be part of leading women to financial confidence and financial freedom, even in these challenging financial times!

Debra

 

Young Moms and Life Insurance

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Life insurance is a product which creates a lot of negative reactions until we really understand what it can do for those we leave behind.   It ranks right up there with other difficult subjects such as end- of -life documents (including wills) and the decision to purchase long term care insurance.

I know this happens because of my past experiences as an insurance agent,  broker, and financial advisor.  It wasn’t until I read the quote below did I find a way to show parents, spouses, and other family member what the real power of life insurance can be.  It’s not a technical conversation, it’s an emotional one.

The author  is unknown because this wonderful quote was one I wrote down when I saw it hanging in a frame on a wall in a bathroom.  It isn’t one I learned in the insurance licensing materials!  Over time it turned out to be the best education tool I have found to encourage people to consider their life insurance needs.  The quote is included in my book Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women.

I hope it will help you reflect on your responsibilities to others.  If you are a young single mom with an infant or young children, you are included in that category.  Sometimes we forget to teach you the value of preparing for the future when just getting by day- to- day can be a challenge.  Life insurance and end-of-life decisions for moms aren’t restricted to certain ages or based on marital status.  These decisions are based on the needs of others.

Life Insurance
Peace of Mind for Turbulent Times

A life insurance policy is just a time-yellowed piece of paper with columns of figures and legal phrases, until it is baptized with a loved one’s tears. Then it becomes a modern miracle – Aladdin’s Lamp. It is food, clothing, shelter, and undying affection. It is the sincerest love-letter ever written.

It quiets the crying of a hungry baby in the night. It eases the aching heart of the one who remains behind – a comforting whisper, in the dark and silent hours. It is a new hope, fresh courage and strength to pick up broken threads and carry on. It is a college education for the son or daughter – a chance for a career instead of a need of a job. It is a parent’s blessing to a daughter on her wedding day.

Author Unknown

Not everyone needs life insurance.  However, everyone needs to consider this product and evaluate whether or not it fits their needs.

Sometimes people get confused and think the goal is to buy life insurance on the child.  The conversation we are having today is about purchasing a term life insurance policy on the life of the mom or other person responsible for the child.

Ask a licensed professional for help and keep it simple.  Sometimes your auto insurance carrier sells term life insurance.  There are insurance agencies in most towns that offer term insurance.  Ask around, you can do it!

 

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Withdrawing from Education Savings Accounts

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Page 13 of my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, covers basic information for types of accounts to consider for funding education expenses.  I enjoyed the article from CBS News about the rules for withdrawing from one of these options, Education Savings Accounts (ESA).

Confused about exactly what can be used when taking distributions from an ESA,  just click here to read the article!

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday—and all is well.  Corrie ten Boom

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Military – Saving Lives Through Financial Literacy

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In May 2014, I blogged about military members finding help from some special financial advisors.  You can read that post by clicking here.

When a problem involving so many people is identified; usually studies are conducted, articles written, and things stay the same.  It is the nature of the highly regulated and tradition bound financial services industry and government agencies (including the military services and the Department of Defense) to move slowly.  However, something different is going on as a result of Financial Planning magazine’s storytelling about the how the lives of our military members and their families can be greatly enhanced through financial literacy and personal financial analysis.  Change is coming and it seems to be coming quickly!

You can learn more by clicking here to get an update titled House Approves New Planning Initiatives That Could Stem Military Suicides.  The article is on the Financial Planning site, so you may need to click on the advertisement and then look in the upper right corner on the screen to click on “Go to Site”.

My first career was as a civilian employee of three military services and the Department of Defense.  My second was as a  financial advisor, broker, and insurance agent.  I know how valuable it is for those in challenging financial situations to have access to trained professionals who have knowledge about a wide range of topics (not just investing) and who have only best intentions for the client.  Unfortunately, access to this type of service is usually limited to those who have money to pay for advice, or assets to invest. That is not always the case with many people, like military members and their families,  who need  information and services the most.

It is exciting to see leadership in the financial services industry coming from those in the financial services industry who deal with people on a day-to-day basis and from  top level leaders in both the military services and the legislative branch.  I look forward to hearing more.

 

 

 

 

Women and Money- Limiting Beliefs

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I used to think anything related to finances is all about the numbers.   After meeting with hundreds of people concerning their personal finances and investing, it became clear that it’s more about feelings and emotions than it is about the math.

There is a really wonderful article on the blog Frugal Confessions by Amanda Grossman titled Do You Have This Limiting Belief about Money?  If you are feeling a little (or a lot) inadequate when it comes to managing your finances, just click here to read what Amanda has to offer, get some confirmation that you are not alone, and learn that there are some simple ways to start doing better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gender Lens Investing

lensfunnyHave you heard about gender lens investing?  I must admit that it is something I am just learning about.  So, let’s learn together.

To me, the two words gender lens create a vision of looking through the lens and seeing  the world through  adjustments. The lens is a filter which symbolically contains all our personal prejudices and experiences along with those we have acquired as the result of the norms and rules of society.

I googled the term “gender lens “to see what the experts say.  Interestingly enough, there were not pages and pages of quick definitions, most were quite clinical.  So I am going with the one from Wikipedia which is simple and concisely states what the long detailed articles and papers take paragraphs to explain.  It says:

What is a Gender Lens?

Think of a gender lens as putting on spectacles. Out of one lens of the spectacles, you see the participation, needs and realities of women. Out of the other lens, you see the participation, needs and realities of men. Your sight or vision is the combination of what each eye sees.

Gender is about relationships between men and women. Gender equality is about equal valuing of women and men – of their similarities and their differences. We need equal, respectful partnerships between men and women to have happy, healthy families and communities in the same way that we need both eyes to see best.

You can read more by clicking here.

This gives us a foundation to beginning to understand the concept of a gender lens, now to see how that term applies in the investment world and what it means to women.  More next time.

Until then.

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

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Financial Freedom Party for Women

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Today’s daunting task, calling the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to figure out what the letter they sent me about the Financial Freedom Party logo actually means.  20 years as a government employee and 15 as a financial advisor, and even I can’t figure it out.  Much prefer meeting with women and sharing financial education than dealing with trademark issues, but being the owner of a “mark” is pretty awesome.  Now to fax off what they want….this time.  Changing how women learn about money is sometimes just a bunch of boring detail work, but so worth it!

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

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