A PLACE TO LEARN THE BASICS OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – BY WOMEN FOR WOMEN

Archive for May, 2013

I Am Celebrating!

Recently I read about a study which tells the story of under-representation of women as financial advisors, and describes the lower level of earnings of women advisors as opposed to that of men.

Clearly I am not celebrating those statistics.  I am, however, so very excited and grateful to see that someone has actually studied the situation and brought it out for all to see.  As part of the development of The Financial Freedom Party for Women, I searched high and low for any type of information about the brokerage and financial advisory industries and the level of representation by women.  Not a successful search at the time.

So, to learn more, please click here to read my article titled “I AM CELEBRATING!”

It is always nice to understand the industries we rely upon to either to provide us with services, or as employers and business partners. I hope you will learn a little about the financial services industry from my article.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

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My Monkey Mind

I once attended a weekend retreat for woman.  It was held in a wonderful and rustic meeting place in the Rocky Mountains, outside Colorado Springs. The goal was to spend some time in an environment which would force us out of the big city and free our minds. Easier said than done.

Our group leader was not only an ordained minister, but also a wife, mother, church leader, and highly extroverted woman, who was in demand throughout the country (and later overseas) as a speaker.  Just like us, her thoughts were often still back at home, or work, or with family, or somewhere else which stood in our way of truly retreating and growing spiritually. She taught us about the concept of “monkey mind”.  We all laughed when she described this unfocused and sometimes compulsive mental process.   Monkey mind seemed like a perfect description!

monkeysI don’t remember her exact words, but they were similar to those in a HuffingtonPost article which credits Buddha as describing the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly.

We all have monkey minds  Personally I find my monkey mind to be powerful when writing and creating concepts.  That jumping around allows me to link different parts of my life, education, and experiences and create a useful chain.  However, my monkey mind is a negative influence when it fills up too much space in my mind and steals away my spirit while spinning me into circular cycle of tasks, tasks, tasks, and more tasks.

We live in a sound bite world.  Blogging is often most effective when it features sound bite pieces of useful information.   So, I am going to periodically make postings under the title of “My Monkey Mind” to share some of the short and random thoughts from my monkey mind about financial management, women and money, and the topics in the Financial Freedom Party for Women.

Until next time.

Debra J. Hadsall

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http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

Even TV Characters Value Financial Management

singer

The TV show is Nashville. The character is  the young, ambitious, super competitive and talented country music star Juliette Barnes.  Juliette is scrambling to figure out how to come up with  big bucks to pay a cheating, lying, and thieving former manager/boyfriend who is going to splash a sex tape of them all over the internet if she doesn’t pay up.  First he wanted only $2 million which she must have had in her emergency fund and that wasn’t a big problem.  Then he wanted an additional $8 million, bringing the price for keeping that tape private to $10 million.  I told you he was a lying and thieving kind of guy.    On top of that, voting for Country Music Awards is underway and for the first time Juliette has been nominated.  So, she does what everyone else does when looking for ways to pay.  She asks for advice.

Juliette’s personal assistant to Juliette. “ Your accountant said to come up with the $10 million in cash you would have to liquidate some of your securities;  several  stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.”

I just get excited with TV shows  which bring up anything which remotely encourages viewers to learn and understand financial management.  I am especially pleased at the mention of those words “securities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds”.  I have visions of thousands of young viewers googling these words to learn what Juliette has that they need to learn about and “buy”.  Awesome.

I am assuming that the accountant in this situation first talked to Juliette’s financial advisor(s) and collaborated with them on how to best offer Juliette a solution to her $8 million problem.  Accountants understand where the money came from, how to keep track of it, and all the tax implications.   They understand cash flow and lots of other important accounting things. Financial folks understand how to help clients create that pot of money, like the one Juliette is contemplating spending.

In the end Juliette became more attached to her integrity and her money than she was to her image.  The money story ends there, but it is a TV show and the issue of the blackmail gets resolved in a high drama way.

Until next time. 

Debra Hadsall

http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

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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?

wall street

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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http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

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A Hallway Full of Doors

Wonderfully written and beautifully said. Enjoy, I did.

Financially Confident Women

My favorite book of quotes about women and money is called The Financially Confident Woman, 9  Habits That  Build Your Financial Security, by Mary Hunt.  This is a little book, it is probably 4″x6″ in size with about 120 or so quotes.  This version is no longer in print.  I guard my remaining copy like the treasure it is.

My Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, includes some of the quotes from Ms. Hunt’s book.  When leading Financial Freedom Parties for Women, I learned that a few lines in a quote could be an effective way to interest women in financial management concepts.  The  quotes are fun and allow us to be introspective and serve as the starting point for meaningful conversations about money.

So here, is one of my favorites.

Just like diets, budgets don’t work.  The successful alternative to a budget is a plan, a blueprint for your financial future.  I love the concept of a plan.  With plans cities are built, battles are won, and chaos is turned to order.

Until next time.

Debra J. Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.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

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