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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.

 

 

 

 

Money, Values and Choices

 Home Sweet Home?vanTo some people making and having a lot of money is about buying things and having stuff.  To others, purchasing or non-purchasing decisions are based on other value systems.  I found this article about a major league baseball player who lives in a van behind a Florida Walmart to be very insightful.

Hoping you read and enjoy it!  Just click here to learn his story.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women and Money, The Prospectus

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Have you been in this situation?  You pick up the prospectus for an investment and wonder, what is this?  It looks so boring, why should I even bother reading it?   How can it help me?

This post is to help you find some value in those printed pages and keep from being be overwhelmed by the information provided there.  Yes, it is more fun to look at magazines and catalogs which are colorful and clearly designed to attract our attention to buy, buy, buy.  Just think of the prospectus as part of the process for purchasing a specific investment and try to overlook the lack of pizzazz in the presentation.  Once again, this is an educational blog and not a recommendation to make a buying decision of any particular investment or product.  You may use a prospectus from any fund you wish as a tool to learn more about the investment.

Since my earlier posts were about a mutual fund which offers an investment option called gender lens investing, I’m going to refer to mutual funds as the type of investment—or security—for this discussion. There are, of course, other investments, such as individual securities like stocks or bonds, but mutual funds have evolved into a popular investment choice.   The prospectus for the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund  is as good as any to use as an example and was mentioned in my  series about gender lens investing.

First, it is important to remember that the securities industry is highly regulated. The government organization with the main responsibility for setting rules and regulations is the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The organization which is responsible for setting a framework for firms (such as broker/dealers) and registered representatives (licensed individuals who work in the industry and serve clients), is called the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA). Previously it was called the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). FINRA is not a government agency, but is referred to as a Self- Regulating Organization.  The SEC makes the rules and FINRA members (firms and individuals) implement them through more rules and regulations.  This is a simple explanation.  To learn more, please click here for the SEC website   and  click here for the FINRA website.

When you, as the client, make an investment in a mutual fund, you are given a prospectus. This is a regulatory requirement. The prospectus is supposed to be presented at the time of the investment, but there are some other guidelines which allow a slight delay. For your purposes, you should expect to receive the prospectus when you meet with your representative. It is pretty easy these days as the prospectus is usually readily available on-line.

So what is a prospectus? It is the story of the investment, in this case a mutual fund.  Some companies issue a separate prospectus for each fund.  Others, offer a booklet listing information about more than one fund.  The Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund  is one of seven funds listed in the prospectus we will be reviewing.  So when you look at the prospectus, please go to the index and you will see that  information about the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund starts on page 49.

The prospectus contains a lot of information, but a good way to start is to locate the following information:

  1. The name of the company that manages the fund.
  2. The goal of the fund.
  3. The minimum investment for a lump sum and/or a periodic automatic investment.
  4. When the fund originated.  Information showing the long-term performance of the fund.
  5. Fees. What is the initial front load (cost to the investor) or a back-end load (cost to the investor)? What is are the annual operating expenses paid each year as a percentage of the value of the investment? Are there other fees and restrictions?

The best way to learn is to explore a prospectus and identify the items described above. Please link to the prospectus at   Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund and review pages 49-58 and page 89.  You probably commit a lot of time to making money and spending money.  So, please make a small commitment of time to understanding how to gain some value from a prospectus when considering an investment.

Next time–a review of the details provided by the  prospectus for the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund.

 

 

(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, Gender Lens Investing

The series of five posts on Women and Money, Gender Lens Investing, has been combined into one article.  For those who didn’t read the series, it is probably easier to read a consolidated version.  So, please go to scribd.com (a publishing website) by clicking on the link below.  Scribd.com not only provides a way to read on-line, but allows you to download the article and even print it.  I am mentioning scribd.com  because it is a great resource for those who like to read and learn.

Just click on:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/245944714/Women-and-Money-Gender-Lens-Investing .  This will take you to my article.

To me, this is an exciting time for women to be learning about how to understand gender lens investing, and see if it fits into their investment needs.

Please pass on what you learn and share this exciting concept with other women!

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(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, 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

A Pioneering Woman

 

The fifth post on Women and Money- Gender Lens investing is almost finished, but I am having a hard time ignoring this voice in my head about a pioneering woman I will call Gracey.  She died last week, after living 90+ years.  I chose to refer to her as Gracey to respect her privacy.  This name fits because she had a generous spirit yet was also a little bit sassy.

I like the terms pioneering woman and pioneering women.

A couple of months ago I was visiting with a young woman who was starting college and having lots of different experiences. She is the first in her family to graduate from high school and then the first to attend college. I told her that pioneering can be tough, but it is worth it. I know a lot of pioneering women and am grateful for those, like Gracey, who went before me.

According to dictionary.com, pioneering is described as:

A person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.

One who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress

Pioneering can be done by those around us and not just famous people. Gracey wasn’t on the national scene like Sally Krawcheck or Senator Elizabeth Warren, both who are looking to improve the business practice of the financial services industry. She wasn’t a Beyoncé performing on a stage with millions of people watching her.  If you had known Gracey, she would have just seemed like an ordinary person living in the mountains.  Well, the fact that she lived up in the hills with beautiful scenery accompanied by snow,  icy roads, and the threat of wildfires, is probably a hint that she was a little different.

As a young woman I clearly saw Gracey as a woman ahead of her time.  This means she meets that definition quoted above as one who is first or among the earliest… in progress.  I suspect she influenced a bunch of women over the years that never saw their names in headlines or found themselves on a national stage.  Gracey just showed women another way to live and did it without apologizing. Oh yes, she was also was a woman with a striking physical appearance  and her own special sense of style.

As with anyone who lives through many generations, the world had changed a lot from the early 1900s to the time of her passing.  She seemed to have thrived and evolved through it all .  I think she must have seemed out of step with the world she lived in as a younger adult.  First, she rode motorcycles.  This was back in the day when motorcycle riding was not so prominent and “good women” certainly didn’t do that.  I am guessing her riding started in the 1950s.  It was something she and her husband  continued enjoying for many years. They loved it and went to rallies all over the country.

I remember someone mentioned that Gracey was a woman who had been divorced.  Whether I remember that correctly or not, I do remember she was Protestant and her husband was Catholic.  Things like that just weren’t  considered OK in the Midwest.  I can imagine the conversations that went on in her husband’s hometown in the Midwest.  None-the-less, she and her husband just  ignored the talk and she loved those visits to connect with relatives-in-law.  The in-laws  loved her too, because she was — different in a wonderful way.  She and her husband did not have children, also uncommon for the times.  Gracey worked outside the home.  Once again, not the norm.

Women were expected to share the political beliefs of their husband.  Somebody apparently forgot to tell Gracey.  She had strong opinions and they weren’t always ones her husband shared.  That seemed to me to be a really brave thing to do for a woman who came from a generation that was taught men were in charge and women were to follow along.

Gracey and her husband were kind and generous hosts to those of us who had the chance to  travel up the hill to their home. They celebrated our son’s birthdays with us when he was a child. Dinner was served under the trees on their land. Our son had his own outdoor venue of trees, mountains, and picnic tables set up for the celebration.  Ice cream and cake in the great outdoors.  Pretty big stuff even for grownups, very memorable for a child.

Once I was having a glass of wine in the kitchen at the mountain home (yup, wine was involved in these visits), and I looked outside through the window. It was only then that I realized there was no screen on the window and I was literally cleaning up the dishes while feeling like I was standing in the forest. It was stunningly beautiful and peaceful. She loved it when people were excited about the mountain home she and her husband built. It was just a special place.

So, I thank you Gracey for being a pioneering woman and for hanging tough, being yourself, showing women how to be comfortable in their skin, and for celebrating life with zest and passion!  You also showed others how to be independent yet gracious, fun loving, and passionate about life, family and friends.  Women like you were the inspiration for my financial freedom woman below.  If only I was a talented graphic artist who could show this woman on a motorcycle riding through the mountains.  That would have been so very “you”.

Hooray for pioneering women and thanks to all those pioneering women who are simply a daily part of our lives and don’t even know they are doing something special and meaningful.

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Until next time.

 

 

Copyright2014©by Debra Hadsall

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