Tag Archives: money

Breaking Bad, Walt and Income Protection,aka Insurance

I like watching Breaking Bad.  I was on to this program from the beginning, when  critics just promised something good and it hadn’t gained such widespread fame.

If you don’t know much about the TV show Breaking Bad, you can just google it.  At the core it is a complicated, gritty, sad, happy, and intense story of how one man, Walter White, decided to make a change in his life so he could provide financially for his family because he had been diagnosed with cancer.  His choices were drastic and the impact, both negative and positive, significant

Whey am I blogging about this?  Well, it has to do with money, goals, dreams, and choices.

I understand the value of insurance for a variety of purposes, including life insurance which creates an instant estate to provide for those left behind.  Of course buying life insurance requires some awareness of the value of purchasing it, and must be done while someone is healthy enough to qualify.  Life insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business if they took on someone like Walt after he had been diagnosed.

I have met with many clients over the year and helped them make life insurance purchase decisions and then placed them in an appropriate product.  It sounds pretty boring when explained this way, so I was simply inspired by an article I read in a professional website.  It draws a parallel between Walter White (a TV character of course, not a real person), his late life career choice, and how different things could have been with some insurance planning and purchase.

Please click here to learn more. A great way of tying things together and the Breaking Bad franchise presents the last episode this evening.

Enjoy!

Until Next Time

Debra Hadsall

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Link

I’m on a short break from blogging for FFP Talk.  After a lot of encouragement from friends and my business coach, I am writing a short booklet about creating a concierge service for seniors.  With the aging of our population and the contemporary lifestyle of parents and children often living many miles apart, the need for some help for seniors is growing.  So my husband and I had a senior services business.  We didn’t have much of a roadmap to follow  and it seemed like we were pioneering and creating a new process. A concierge service is not about medical services, there are lots of those types of businesses.  The booklet will help others to see how to do it and adapt our approach to their local area and needs.  It will soon be available for purchase at www.scribd.com

Since I am on the topic of seniors, there is an interesting article about what happens to debt upon the death of a parent.  Please click here to read it.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

The Power of Those Who Open Doors for Others

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I blog about women, money, and the Financial Freedom Party for Women.  Most of the time I write about basic financial information for topics such as life insurance, long-term care insurance, investing, wills, debt, goals, values,  and expense management.  There is an additional important topic which really is part of the foundation of our financial lives, income management.   Most of us need to make money to have money to manage and spend, right? Income management starts with income.

Making a living, or earning income, really means we trade our time and skills (or expertise) for money to buyers.  Explaining all the potential buyers would fill this page.  So, an example of a buyer is an employer in a business or organization.  As a business owner, a buyer could be an external customer who purchases goods or services.  The value of what we earn is directed mainly by the marketplace.  You know the term, supply and demand.  Sometimes earning income is also greatly affected by the attitudes and experiences of those who “buy” from us and the culture and norms of the business or organization.

It is estimated in the United States that women make 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.  This doesn’t mean the world of buyers owes us as women a better living, or that someone owes us more money.  It does mean that we have to be willing to advocate better for ourselves and to take some chances.  Once we gain a little success, we need to reach out and help others. When we open doors for others, we give them a chance to change their lives.

I recently learned that one of my “door openers” passed away.  His name was Roger and he had been an Air Force Officer and an Air Force Academy graduate.  These two experiences formed some of his attitudes, values, and his approach to life.

Our paths crossed when he selected me for a position as a civilian planner in a small command post.  I was not what the high-ranking officers had in mind when they created the position.  They were looking for a retired enlisted man.  I was a younger woman with no military service.  My credentials were great, but I was not the preferred type for the position.

Roger selected me based on my qualifications.  It was a challenge for him to select me.  After all, he had graduated from a class of all male Air Force Cadets.  It wasn’t until a few years later that women were allowed to attend the Air Force Academy.   As time went on he admitted that when he hired me he had some concerns for me and for our work unit.  We answered directly to the Commanding General.  The success or failure of our work was highly visible.  In the beginning I was told by one of my new bosses, also a high-ranking officer, that I was there in spite of his wishes. My normal welcome to the organization was not so welcoming.   I had gotten used to these things and just did my work.  We began passing inspections and getting high ratings on our headquarters reports for my area.  Over time the concerns about me as a woman in that position were no longer aired publicly. I became a respected part of the team.

When I left the position for a promotion, I was replaced by a very capable woman hired by Roger’s replacement.  She and I became close friends and remain so to this day.  I am talking about a 20+ year relationship.  Our careers progressed.  Some folks told the two of us that we were “fast burners”.   I was promoted three times into different positions . Of course promotions equate to more responsibility and more income. Eventually I left the federal government.  My friend stayed, earned promotions,  and went on to a prestigious position which involved her in many interesting assignments and projects throughout the city where we lived.

The legacy of Roger’s career is not about a stellar rise to the top in the military.  He found a better fit elsewhere for his interests, talents, abilities, and considerable brainpower. A new path and lifestyle resulted in a life with a different rhythm and purpose.  Among other things, he earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture and became involved in creative arts.   His legacy is, in part, about the door he opened for me, and then indirectly opened­­ for my friend.  He also led the way in showing those given the title of superiors and subordinates how to judge women and men on their qualifications and contributions, not on their sex.

I thank Roger for showing me that leadership isn’t about bossing people around.  It is about reaching out to others, helping them develop their talents, opening doors, and staying constant when it is easier to just give up and conform.  I think pay equity is more prevalent now for women in many career fields, but it took some men and women to help us along the way. I do not know if women will ever reach a time where we earn dollar for dollar for men.   I am confident it will continue to get better faster if more of us become “door openers”.

I strive to be a “door opener”.  It has become a natural part of my life.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t.  However, I have gotten pretty brave about giving it a try.

Please reflect on your life. Are you opening doors for others?  Are you constant in your efforts?  Will your legacy include fond memories from those who enjoyed better lives personally and financially because you took a chance and acted?   As the 78% statistic changes and moves upwards, will you count yourself as part of the process?

Until next time

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

Frittata and Finances for Women?

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I remember sitting in the teeny kitchen that belonged to one of my friends who lives in Colorado.  Cooking is one of her passions.  She is also an experienced investor, learning early when she received a few shares of stock as a child.  I admire how she was investing before mutual funds gained popularity and made investing more common.  Her investment experiences over the years gave her confidence in her ability to invest and handle finances.  Still, she was struggling to see how to transfer that expertise and solicit investment clients.  We were both in the financial services industry.

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As I sat in her kitchen, she decided at the last-minute to make a frittata for breakfast.  She is one-with-the- world when she cooks.  It is just easy for her. We talked while she pulled the ingredients out of the fridge and casually walked outside to her small patio garden to cut some fresh herbs while not missing a word of our conversation.  The result was a really delicious frittata.  It was like a  Food  Network moment. She was calm, confident, creative, efficient, and making the frittata was something she just enjoyed!

I mentioned to her that I admired how she pulled all those ingredients together and it appeared so effortless.  She looked at me and explained that she wanted to have that same feeling and experience when working with her clients.  I could envision her calmly, confidently, skillfully, and joyfully interacting with her clients just as she had done when making that frittata.

I like that visualization.  Is there something you do especially well?  Maybe it is cooking, perhaps it is organizing an event, or something more technical like showing folks how to use a smart phone or tablet.  Now compare how comfortable you feel about doing that one special thing compared to how you feel about navigating your financial life, especially investing. If the feeling about finances doesn’t match those for your special talent, you can change that!

My friend became a good cook and comfortable with making frittatas through preparation, passion, and practice.  You can do the same with your understanding of finances and management of your financial life.  Money is not all about numbers, it also about  practice, experience, commitment (passion) and feelings.

Until next time.

Debra J. Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

Wills and End of Life Documents

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When I used to meet with financial services clients and potential clients, the first thing I would ask is “Do you have a will or wills?”  Many couples assume they will have a joint will.  Not true, a will reflects the wishes of an individual.  Sometimes the answer was “yes”.  More often the answer was “no”.  Those saying “no” would add something like:

  • It is too expensive.
  • We have a software application for wills, just need to get find time to learn the system and get it done.
  • It’s on the list of things to do but first I need to get through Christmas, graduation, school, or wait until I have a vacation, or……
  • We can’t agree on who should be responsible for our children if we both are deceased and we don’t want to upset family members with our choice.
  • I don’t believe in wills.  No need for one, everything will work out.
  • I know I need one but I think if I get one then somehow it means I will die earlier.
  • Death is just too emotional to think about and preparing a will  just makes me nervous.
  • I think I need a trust and that costs a lot so I will wait until I save up some money and then get the trust, will and all the other documents at the same time

Clearly expense is the most often mentioned reason for the lack of a will.  However, there are now very affordable and reliable methods of having a professionally prepared will created and finalized.  With a little research you can learn more.

I have no brilliant  and happy way of encouraging people to get wills.  As I said in earlier posts, wills and life insurance (if needed) are two things we do for those we leave behind.  So rather than thinking about how having your will and other end of life documents prepared and executed impact you, think about the other folks in your life.  How will your actions reflect on you after you are gone?

In my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, I state that it is estimated that 55% of the people in the U.S. do not have wills.  Or, on a positive note, 45% do have them.  In which category do you find yourself?

I found this article from Huffington Post to be a great example of how things can go a little crazy if the proper documents aren’t in place when a family member dies.  Please take the time to read it.

I hope you will share this posting with those in your life.  Some people appear to be very literate about personal financial management, are highly successful professionally, or seem to have it all together.  That doesn’t mean they have all their legal documents in place.  You could end up sorting out things you thought would be in order.  Happens a lot and it is not a good big surprise. So be brave and check in with those around you and see if they are a 55% or 45% person.

Soon we will be moving beyond end of life documents such as wills, and on to more exciting topics like finance (aka investing).

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

Slave to the Grind

I picked up one of the local free papers and enjoyed reading the editor’s note called “Slave to the Grind”.  That got my attention, having been there a time or two.  Haven’t we all?

This is a great real life story of values, finances, work, family,and a Personal Legend (a concept mentioned in my last post).  We learn so much from the successes of others.

I also appreciate the re-publishing of the newspaper article about my Financial Freedom Party (FFP) for Women.

Please click here to read the “Slave to the Grind” article by Ray Quiroga.

The original article about FFP can be read here.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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Begin with the End in Mind-Life Insurance

I have listened to many people talk about their personal finances over the last 15 years. From that I learned a lot  about the emotions involved in financial management.

Emotions can often stand in the way of getting things accomplished.  They can also be a major reason a person takes responsiblity and action. I have seen how emotions can be useful or hurtful.

The emotions attached to discussions about life insurance and end-of-life documents  (such as wills, durable power of attorneys, living wills, etc.) are, for some people, very strong and paralyzing.  I always tell anyone who will listen that these are things we do for those we leave behind.  If we are gone and haven’t taken care of these things, we can’t reach from the grave and fix them.

If we don’t plan well for retirement, if we don’t manage our debt appropriately, if we don’t budget successfully, we  personally suffer.  That is our choice or decision and we will have to deal with it.  Putting our survivors in a financially difficult or legally unclear position  is unfair to them. They may suffer  and be forced into dealing with legal or financial matters over which they had no say or control.  Difficult things to deal with during a time of loss.

Life insurance is a product which is sold, not bought.  That is what I was taught when I first started selling life insurance.  I didn’t really “get it” until I started meeting with potential clients.  It became quite clear that hardly anyone calls up and asks to buy life insurance.  Once again, all those emotions tied to death, insurance and money.  Add to that, the confusion about how life insurance works and fears of some unsavory past practices of some in the industry.  Now,  not everyone needs life insurance, but I believe everyone needs to go through the analytical process of determining if she or he needs it.

In my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, I talk about life insurance and have included a quote which seems to give a valuable perspective on the value of life insurance.  This may be more meaningful to you than a long lecture about insurance.

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

Until next time

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Goals and Couples

Yes, I am writing the article about the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  It is an important concept to understand (since we hear about it every day, often in hyped-up sound-bite reporting by the media).  Since I have stored my favorite WallStreet book called The Great Game, The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power, 1653-2000, in the shed under tons of stuff, I ordered one from ABE Books.  Nice price and now I am becoming reacquainted with the history of country’s financial structure along with its ups and downs.  Boring to some, but not to me!!!
 
As a diversion from all that Wallstreet reading,  I am following a blog by Kimberley Borgens and wanted to share something from it with you.  She blogs at  www.marriageisacommitment.wordpress.com and reading it brought me back to goal setting and relationships.  Kimberley is a Facebook friend I met through my friend Gale.  Gale and Kimberley are both entrepreneurs and accountability coaches.  I love the way Kimberley has written about marriage and goal setting.  Below is the posting I made to her blog.   I hope you will find your way to read her postings.
 
I wrote:

The focus of my financial services life has been around women, their friends, and families, and their financial goals, dreams, and solutions.  Sometimes the woman was married or in a committed relationship.  Other women were single, having been divorced or widowed.  Some had never been married and always made independent decisions about money and money issues.  Honestly, the easiest clients to work with were women who were single, or those women who had an understanding within the relationship that they were the lead on financial matters, or had a husband who listened and freely collaborated unemotionally about goals and decisions.  I would give each a budget sheet and ask them to give their estimates of monthly expenditures.  Then we would compare them.  Couples with good communications and clear understanding of their money management agreements did this with ease.  Others often learned new things, or things they wished they hadn’t.  On occasion I could sense the relationship vaporizing right in front of me.  Having that goal conversation and then attaching the money part of reaching that goal for those requiring money (some goals are not money things at all).  Yes, communication and goal setting is so important.  I think we find the term goal to be a little clinical, so basically the question is, what do you want to accomplish, how do you want to accomplish it, and when!

 

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Spending Habits, My Book Story

I have a Kindle.

I love my Kindle.  However, on occasion I am conflicted by my commitment to not buy any books, and my desire to use my Kindle.  Yes, there are free offerings for Kindle and I appreciate the books I have downloaded for free.  However, about eight years ago I decided I was addicted to buying and reading books.  I preferred to read three or four at a time.  Some were novels, lots were about women  and our lives, and the majority were business books.  My husband would add to our growing collection with his paperback westerns, science fiction, and mystery books.  We had to build shelves to create places to put our books.  After moving them from one place to another it became apparent this habit was EXPENSIVE and it was time to change it. 

 Richard J. Foster writes, “Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.”  It was time to face reality. I was addicted. I made a conscious decision to purchase no..zero.zippo..books, at least until I was in control of this book thing, and it wasn’t in control of me.  With the help of my book club friends, I learned to rely on library books (we had an awesome library in Aurora, Colorado and now in Port Isabel, Texas), borrow books from friends (I am a very fast reader), and most importantly, to do without.  No more grabbing a book at Wal-Mart on the way to the checkout counter. There have been a couple of times when I had a book in my hand and I coached myself back to the book section to return it.  My trips to those wonderful  book stores which smell like coffee  had become my second home  Now they are places to visit books, not to buy them.  The few books I purchased were for business research.  I often share my books  with clients, hoping the book would return.  Not always true.  Every time I wanted to use my Robert Kiyosaki Cash Flow Quadrant book, I would find myself going to bargain book sellers because I had given my copies away. 

Only after being “clean” for a couple of years, did I allow myself to purchase a few selected books, usually used!   Our supply of books was carefully sorted and sent off to new homes through the church bazaar or the local ARC thrift shop.  The money I saved was significant, probably about $1500-$2000 a year.  My life still went on.  More to come next time.   Debra