Category Archives: Financial Freedom Party for Women

Social Entrepreneur & Benefit Corporations

Social-Entrepreneurship

I am learning new words to describe new ways of doing things in our world.

First, I became acquainted with the term “social entrepreneur” when I connected with Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run and now the lead advocate Red Book Coalition. I think the concept of social entrepreneurship describes the work of my Financial Freedom Party for Women.

While reading about Kickstarter, I learned about Benefit Corporations. Kickstarter describes it as follows:

Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies that are obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders. Radically, positive impact on society becomes part of a Benefit Corporation’s legally defined goals.

As I work on getting my Financial Freedom Party for Women business entity established in Texas, I’m thinking these are the concepts we will be embracing. Things look better for what FFP offers for women and the business community than they did in 1998 when we started this whole FFP thing. We are focused more like Benefit Corporation than a non-profit. Why does teaching financial literacy for women, giving them information to take to the marketplace, and connecting them with the financial services industry  have to be considered a non-business activity? Apparently it doesn’t!

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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Click here to order

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women and Money, Gender Lens Investing V

lensfunnyThis is the fifth Women and Money post in a series about gender lens investing. All are available at www.financialfreedomparty.com.

The first post introduced the concept of investing through a screening process referred to as a lens. The second gives an overview of socially responsible investing as an established type of lens investing. The third answers the question “Why gender lens investing?” and promises to look at the role of board of directors (also referred to as the board) and high level business executives in publicly traded companies. The fourth post, gives a brief overview of each of these two leadership groups and shows why they are important in understanding how gender lens investing works. This fifth post describes some specific criteria being used by one investment company as its way to screen companies, or simply how they apply the gender lens.  Those companies who meet the gender lens criteria are then eligible to be considered as part of the investment.

Once again I remind you, this blog is educational in nature and does not give  investment advice. The intent is to give an overview of gender lens investing and how it works. If you find the investment mentioned here to be something that interests you, then please seek professional advice and go through the normal process of determining whether or not it is appropriate for you.

Much of the material on investing is technical and precise.  Rather than trying to re-state it correctly, most of this post will refer you to the source documents through a series of links for you to click on.  It is the best way to learn, even if it may seem just a little tedious at first.  If you choose not to follow the links, all the pieces of this puzzle- like study won’t fit very well.  Your choice of course.

Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund is an example of gender lens investing. If there are similar funds out there, I have yet to find them.  Since this one is leading  a new way of thinking, it is a good place to start learning the details.

The link which will guide you in understanding who is involved in the development of the fund referenced above, why it was created, and how it works can be seen by clicking here.

An overview of how companies are screened, or how the gender lens is applied, is briefly described below:

Each company gets the cumulative ranking based on five criteria of gender leadership. These include the number of women representatives on boards of directors or in executive management, as well as those who have a female CEO or CFO and have signed the Woman’s Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative by the UN Global Compact and UN Women that provides guidance for companies on how to empower women in the workplace.

Besides these criteria, companies must also meet key environmental, social and governance standards

Not familiar with The Woman’s Empowerment Principles?  I wasn’t either,  They are summarized below:

The entire document may be viewed by clicking here.

Finally, more details are available by clicking here to link to the

  • Fund Fact Sheet
  • Fund Profile
  • Prospectus

You will probably find the Fund Fact Sheet and Fund Profile to be the easiest to understand.  However, the Prospectus is also a very important document.   Not sure what it is?  Next time I’ll go into details about a prospectus and why it is a valuable document to you as a potential investor or investor.

To summarize, this series of five blogs has:

  • Given a quick  lesson on the concept of investing through a screening process referred to as a lens. 
  • Explained the characteristics of the board of directors and C-level executives in publicly held companies
  • Shown how one firm is applying a gender lens to companies based on their ratio of women to men in leadership positions and the acceptance of practices as stated in the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
  • Provided links to additional  and more detailed  information on a mutual fund, Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund, which is the example used in these posts.

It will be interesting to see how this concepts spreads and impacts the world of big business and the quality of the lives of both women and men.

Please share this information with those around you.

Until next time.

 

(This information is designed to educate you about basic financial management concepts. Questions relevant to personal finances specific to the individual should be address to an appropriate professional to ensure that the situation has been evaluated carefully and appropriately. The Authors and Publisher specifically disclaim any liability loss, or risk which is incurred as a consequence directly or indirectly from the use and application of any contents of this work.)

Copyright2014©by Debra Hadsall

Women and Money, Time for Women to Teach Each Other

Working on the laptop and doing some website changes.  Kind of listening to the TV in the other room.  Realized the morning show out of Austin (Texas) had a speaker explaining how the role of women in personal finance has changed.  Started actively listening to statistics about how women own homes, are Chief Financial Officers (CFO) of their lives and the lives of their families, and how we care for our families and often other generations of friends and family members.  Basically the conversation hit all the topics we as women already know because we live it.

Then I really paid attention and realized the speaker was– a man.   So I walked to the TV to see the male speaker telling the woman talk host all this information.  The visual reminded me that about 70% of the people in the financial advisory and investment communities in the U.S. are men, even though there are more women than men in the  overall population.

Oh HAPPY DAY when we see as many women financial advisors, brokers, insurance agents, and teachers of financial literacy in our neighborhoods as we see Starbucks or Walgreens.

Doesn’t it seem odd to you that men remain our biggest resource for financial “stuff”?  We can change that!

This isn’t about men versus women.  It is about choices.  Some women prefer to learn from men.  Others prefer to learn from women.  With such under-representation of women in the advisory and investment communities, we as women need to teach each other the basics to balance out the equation.  This gives us a choice in who is teaching us, and benefiting from it.

Thanks for reading my posts and being interested enough in your financial future to learn the fundamentals.  Please help by sharing  your knowledge so the next “experts” on the morning shows are women.  It could be you.  Start in your living room with a few friends.  Buy my book to start, or find other resources which speak to you.  It’s easier than you think.

 

 

 

 

 

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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