Category Archives: Financial Freedom Party for Women

3 Ways to Improve Your Financial Life

In my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women ®, A Little Book about Money for Women,  I teach the basics of financial management.  Most of us never learn basic concepts and then become frustrated when we aren’t reaching our goals, assuming we even set goals.

Life has become more complicated with each consumer expected to be an expert on all things financial.  In talking to women over the years, a common concern is about wanting to change and do better, but not knowing where to start.  Haven’t we all had (or still have) that conversation with ourselves?

It isn’t magic to create a new lifestyle, but it does take some introspection and then action.  A good place to start is with what I call 3 Ways to Improve Your Financial Life.  They are things we think about, but often haven’t written them down and then figured out which ones will benefit us the best.  So, you can start in the beginning by thinking about any or all which apply to you.

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 Do Better with What You Have

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Simply write these titles on a piece of paper and make notes over the next couple of weeks about how you can focus on the one which will have the most impact on your life.  Start small, but start.  Talk it over with your spouse, partner, friends or anyone else you feel can give you positive feedback or be a support system.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

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To order my book, please click here

LBJ, The Hill Country, Civil Rights, and My Full Circle Moment

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Having a full circle moment!

Local TV is pre-empted for President Obama and other dignitaries at the LBJ Presidential Library for the 50th year celebration of the passing of the Civil Rights Act. The Johnson ranch is just down the road from Fredericksburg where we live, although the library is in Austin.

As a child my family lived outside D.C. because my dad’s government job took us there. I am the oldest child and one day my dad took me to the Capitol to see how Congress worked. It was after JFK and LBJ had been elected.

The day we were there I noticed two things. First it seemed like a crazy disorganized place with people coming and going and not always paying attention. It certainly wasn’t like school, didn’t live up to my expectations, and I was wondering what my dad was thinking by taking me there.

The second was that my dad pointed out that Vice President Johnson was there that day, presiding as the President of the Senate. Now that was impressive and a memory I still treasure. I certainly didn’t know anything about LBJ or Texas.  On that day I  couldn’t even imagine that one day Vice President Johnson would become President Johnson, that there was even such a thing as civil rights, or that  I be  living in his beloved hill country and blogging and writing as part of a movement to share financial management basics to women to improve their lives.

Until next time!

 Debra Hadsall

www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

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To order my book, please click here.

Women Should Plan to Live to 100-Really??

100BirthdayCake_250I read any and all writings about women and money that come my way.  This one makes us think!  Just click here to learn more about the possibility of living to age 100 and how to plan for it.

Enjoy!

Debra Hadsall

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To order my book Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, please click here.

www.ffptalk.com

Women and Divorce, When Emotions Collide with Finances

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.  It is one of those marketing opportunities for businesses to encourage us to show our love and affection for the special person in our life by buying gifts, going out to dinner, or doing something celebratory.  It usually involves a couple.  I don’t think Valentine’s Day was designed for singles.  In fact, lots of folks find Valentine’s Day to be less than fun and charming.  Relationships evolve and change, marriage is not as popular as it once was, and for those who do marry,  the divorce rate remains high.

I wasn’t thinking much about Valentine’s Day when I read the article Divorcing Women, Five Signs You Might Need a New Attorney. Please click here.  The article reminds us about the importance of shifting from seeing a divorce purely from an emotional aspect to a practical one.  We need to be conscious and focused when working on the details of how things will work and be settled.

Thinking about how Valentine’s Day isn’t fun for many who are going through divorce and reading the article reminded me of a woman who called me asking for help.  I had a listing in the phone book under financial services and women.  This had an unexpected result.  I often received phone calls from women looking for social services (such as battered women’s shelters), wanting counseling about family matters, looking for help in starting businesses, and a variety of other topics.  This woman  was concerned about how her marriage was ending and she couldn’t understand why someone didn’t make her husband stay.  She and her husband had children.  He had business interests and had been quietly moving the assets with the intent of hiding them from her.  She didn’t work outside the home.  It seemed to her that there was someone else in his life, but she was only guessing.  When I explained to her that she needed to seek legal advice, she told me it wasn’t a problem, her husband had a lawyer and she could talk to him.  I explained that she needed a lawyer to represent her, someone whose interest was in protecting her, not in protecting her husband who seemed to be doing a good job of that already.  It was a heartbreaking conversation.  She wondered why nobody seemed to care about keeping families together and was there  someone who could help fix this.  I suggested seeking out counseling from clergy or a licensed therapist..  That option was rejected.  I took a deep breath and told her that she should talk to a lawyer because he or she would understand the situation without emotion and help her to negotiate as an equal in the situation.  Separating emotions from finances is always difficult, but really challenging when it involves the dissolution of a marriage, children, and denial.

It has been many years since that telephone conversation.  I am hoping  the caller found an attorney who could help her navigate the circumstances of the end of her marriage and move on to a happier time.  It would have been hard for her to see a better future on that day we talked, but I am hoping that tomorrow she will be having a wonderful Valentine’s Day celebration with someone special.

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Until next time

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

To order my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, please click here.

A Refresher about Taking Money from Your Roth IRA

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The Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) became available in 1998.  It was named after its legislative sponsor,  William V. Roth Jr., a Republican senator from Delaware.  The Roth IRA was part of the Tax Relief Act of 1997.  Sometimes we let the words for investment terms roll off our tongues without really knowing what they mean.  This one is easy, it was named after someone who saw a need for an investment which had the potential of remaining tax-free during both the accumulation (adding to it) or distribution (taking money from it) phases.  Of course there are rules to make that happen.  As the saying goes, there is no free ride.

First, the money contributed to a Roth IRA is called after tax money, meaning the investor already paid taxes on it.  Second the money needs to conform to a few rules to avoid paying taxes.    I like the simple way an investment firm, Invesco, has explained it.  Please just click here to learn more.

Whether we like it or not, investors often start with the long-range plan of investing money and leaving it there until age 59 1/2 and later and then life catches up with them.  A recession hits, a job is lost, a major medical expense is incurred, a business fails, or some other major financial need comes along.   Sometimes the investor is looking over all of her or his investment accounts to figure out how to best manage a short-term situation by accessing retirement accounts.  Yes it could and has happened to investors, maybe even to you.

The information in the link is very useful as you work with your financial professional to sort things out.  It is best to make an informed decision and be aware of the consequences so you can plan on them.

Until Next Time

Debra Hadsall

Please remember, this is a short overview and questions relevant to personal finances and specific to the individual should be addressed to an appropriate professional to ensure that the situation has been evaluated carefully and appropriately.

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To order my book, please click here.

myRA Accounts-Much Needed Baby Steps

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Not certain what baby steps have to do with the newly announced myRA plans?  In my opinion, lots!  We all have to start somewhere and grow from there!  So many people get so intimidated with the top, they don’t take the first small step.

As someone who was a financial advisor and registered representative working with both experienced and  first-time investors, I am excited about this interim step.   Very encouraging!  More next time about how I came to this conclusion.

Until then, I encourage you to click here to learn more!

Debra Hadsall

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www.ffptalk.com

To purchase my workbook, Financial Freedom Party for Women®, A Little Book about Money for Women, please click here.

My Monkey Mind-Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)

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My monkey mind postings relate to Buddha’s description of the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. These postings come from my monkey mind.

Something which happened about 10 years ago has been in my monkey mind.  I guess listening to my friends talk about elderly parents must have triggered it.  So here goes….

As part of my financial services business I had a listing in the Yellow Pages under resources for women.  It was the best I could do since there wasn’t a separate listing for women and finances.  The result was unexpected.  I received random calls from women in difficult life situations ranging from physical abuse, unwanted divorce, requests for money to start  businesses, and sometimes just a reality check on some financial decisions a spouse or significant other had made without checking with the woman.  After these calls continued , I became a connection between these women I never met to non-profits, social services providers, free legal advice, and government agencies who could help.  I learned a bunch of things which reached beyond financial advising.

One day I received one of those calls from an elderly woman who asked me what the difference was between term insurance (no cash value) and universal life insurance (which has a cash value).  The real reason for the call had to do with the fact that her late husband had established an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) with a cash value policy and she thought he had made a bad decision.  I was curious to hear all the details so I went to visit with her.

In my Financial Freedom Party for Women®, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, I cover the differences between term and cash value policies.  To put it in a couple of sentences, term insurance is a very cost-effective way of getting life insurance and is appropriate for most people.  The premium goes towards the insurance cost and the policy runs for a certain period of time, such as 10, 15, or 20 years.  A policy with a cash value, such as universal life or variable universal life is more complicated and more expensive.  Some of the premium goes to the cost of insurance and some goes into investments offered through the insurance product.  The policy is considered to be “permanent” life since it is not restricted to a certain length of time.  My experience is that these policies (UL and VUL) are often considered upon guidance from an estate planning attorney when creating ways to provide for beneficiaries and reduce estate taxes.  This is a very generalized overview and to learn more please ask your insurance agent or do your own research on-line.

The control of the ILIT rests with a trustee, not the beneficiary (in this case the lady who called me).  This is done because of the estate tax benefits.  You can learn more by clicking here.  As with most people, she did not like knowing she had “all this money”, yet couldn’t access it when she wished.  I came to learn that was part of the plan.

I shared this insight with the lady. Apparently I was the first person she met who sat down and explained to her how this ILIT all worked. I was also the only woman advisor/insurance agent she had ever met.  She found me through my Yellow Page listing.

I learned that she was unhappy because the ILIT controlled her spending.  She had to ask a young man( who was the trustee) for any money which was needed  in addition to the monthly payment which had been established.  The goal of the plan was to keep her from running out of money.   I learned that her ILIT  did contain a universal life policy, the trust was created by an attorney with involvement by the now-deceased husband, and seemed to be in good order and in her best interest.  The things the trustee had told her were true, if she did not control her spending, she ran the risk of outliving her money.  In this situation, the planning was really in her best interest and when we finished our discussion, she, for the first time, realized it.  We talked about other ways for her to finance the expenses she wanted to incur including having a roommate in her spacious home, moving to a smaller one, or cutting expenses elsewhere.

I never heard from her again, but I learned a lot.  I saw how the appropriate cash value life insurance policy can be an integral and useful part of estate planning and a way to take care of beneficiaries upon the death of the insured.  My passion for working with women to understand their finances was re-kindled.  I knew that if someone had taken time to speak to this lady in language she could understand, her life would have been much better.  Sometimes financial professionals forget that it is not all about the numbers,  it is about how the numbers improve the lives of clients and getting the  clients to understand that.  It also reinforced my belief that the best time to learn about finances is not when your spouse or family member has died and not there to explain things.  Learning the fundamentals as a young person will make things a lot easier throughout her or his lifetime.

This event has stayed with me.  My insurance career involved term life insurance and that worked well for my family and clients. The ILIT was a good example how a cash value policy can be beneficial in estate planning and for beneficiaries who may need some additional structure and measured control over assets.  Each situation is different and this posting is not intended to provide you with personal advice on your estate planning, financial planning, or insurance needs.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

New Year, New Chance to Increase Retirement Contribution$$$

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When I was a financial advisor, I learned that the time between Thanksgiving and January 1st was going to be a slow time for me in terms of working with new clients.  Yes, existing clients were often on vacation and using that time to catch up with me and to check in about their accounts and plans.  The rest of the world seemed to be waiting until the first of the new year to really think about their goals, dreams, and how their finances could be changed or improved to meet them.

Every year about this time I would print out a new list which showed the maximum contributions allowed in various types of retirement accounts.  In reality, most people don’t contribute the maximum and often they just look at the list and give up.  So, just  remember, these are the maximums.  You can contribute less and work towards your goals.

To see the list for  2014, please click here.  Good information to know and to discuss with your advisor or with the person who is knowledgeable about your company or organizational retirement plans.

Please share with others.  As I often say, don’t always assume everyone knows what you know or takes the time to access

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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Reposting of FFP Mini-Newsletter, Shopping

shopping2It seems like a good time to share my FFP Mini-Newsletter which was one of the early posts about a very common subject, shopping.

Please click here and enjoy.  Share with your women friends, your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, sisters, and anyone else who likes to shop!

Debra J. Hadsall

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Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition is now available on Amazon.com. Just click here.