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

Archive for the ‘income’ Category

Speaking Out for Financial Education for Young People

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As a financial advisor, I learned that most people are never taught the fundamentals of financial management. Some only learn from television or the Internet, which can be both good and bad.  Sometimes applying a broadcast approach to something which needs to be personalized isn’t helpful.

I know I learned basics from my parents, but the advanced topics like creating wealth through investing or really understanding life insurance, health insurance, and legal protection were concepts I learned along the way or through my college education because I majored in business and minored in economics.  Really, until I became a registered representative and learned how to teach others about financial management, I didn’t grasp the big picture.  When you teach others and market/sell products to them that help them meet their goals, you have to learn a lot first.  Of course the number of people in this country who chose to be advisors or brokers is just a small part of the overall population.  So who is teaching the rest of the population, particularly young people?

Recently I read a post about how we have lots of room to improve our education of youth about financial management.  Please click here to read the article.

Over the years , my friend Emily and I were asked to provide financial education to teens who attended our church.  Emily and I are more skilled in working with business leaders and executives, so we reached out to find materials appropriate for youth.  The materials we found at the National Endowment for Financial Education were absolutely the best.  They start with basics like where does my money go…or why is my first pay check so much smaller than what I expected…to insurance investing, goals, etc.  Everything we all need to know and understand, no matter our age.  To learn more please click here.  Currently I am using selected parts of these materials in a life skills mentoring program in a local high school.  Sometimes we need to teach young people in the manner they have been comfortable with in day-to-day living, sound bites.  Doing the whole book isn’t an option, but short sessions on topics works great.

The reason I created the Financial Freedom Party for Women and the corresponding book, and co-authored (with my friend Emily), First You Dream, A Financial Management Workbook, was to encourage learning and empower consumers.  As an advisor it was much easier to work with a potential client who understood the basics and felt more confident in her or his decisions.

As the saying goes, “you can be part of the problem or part of the solution”.  Getting to the solution requires us to acknowledge that it is a shared responsibility when it comes to financial management education for young people.

Until Next Time

Debra Hadsall

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http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

Welfare a Career Choice–Not Really

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There has been a Facebook posting going around recently which says:

 WELFARE ISN’T A CAREER PATH

I hit the LIKE button because there is so much wisdom in so few words. 

Those of us who haven’t experienced welfare as the family business have to kind of step back and see why young folks might envision long time public assistance as the way to make a living.

Children and youth are highly influenced by their environments, parents, or whoever is responsible for raising and educating them.  So, if a young person comes from a family who accepts public assistance as the norm, how will she or he change without learning alternatives and seeing different behavior modeled?  I believe some of this learning needs to be about finances.  How can no earned income and low-income folks do better if they don’t learn the basics?

Over the last few years, I have been part of a team of women who are lucky enough to do life skills mentoring with a small group of young women who are in high school.  Some of the students come from home situations which involve parents who work many hours at low paying jobs, or who rely on some level of public assistance.  Geographically, they live in an area which has pockets of poverty and an overall cultural acceptance of pregnancy in teens. 

We feel lucky.  These students are smart and willing to learn.  This year we included an enhanced focus on teaching sound bite pieces of financial information.  Topics were as basic as understanding a checking account, using a debit card, or how the little print on credit card applications needs to be carefully understood.  The students read short quotes from my book, Financial Freedom for Women®, A Little Book about Money for Women, and from other writings.  One afternoon we bravely did a short segment on stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.  As with adults, some were interested and some weren’t.

We learned that the concept of saving (except for  purchase of an iphone) was pretty much a foreign idea in general, and that retirement savings and even being able to retire at all were totally unheard of in their community. And for now in this economy, it’s pretty difficult to show how interest can work for you (make your savings grow) instead of against you (credit card debt & student loans). As always, tiny bites work well for everyone.

At the end of the school year we offered to give each student a copy of my book at no cost.  We suggested not asking for one if it was just going to get pitched into the trash (always a possibility with anyone and financial books).  Big surprise, they all signed up to get copies.  It was exciting to know that this group of students has access to basic financial information which teaches about a life choice of creating income and the value of investing.  Will they all read and learn, hard to tell.  At least we took a chance on each other. 

I’m hoping that someday my Facebook page will show postings from one or more of these young women which read something like this:

  MC910215909 I OPENED A ROTH IRA

  MC910215909 I BECAME A FINANCIAL ADVISOR

  MC910215909 TODAY I BOUGHT LIFE INSURANCE

Then I will hit the LIKE button again and again!

Until next time.

 

Debra Hadsall

http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

 

 

Before the Kardashians

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Today, while channel surfing, I was lucky enough to land on the HBO channel which was showing a documentary about Gloria Steinem.  Lucky because most of the attention on other channels was focused on current media favorites, the Kardashians.

I used to assume that most women know about Gloria Steinem, Ms. Magazine, Bella Abzug, and others in the women’s movement which gained momentum in the 1970s.  Whatever you may have felt, or still feel about this time of great change, the results of the efforts of Gloria Steinem and others around her have had a significant impact on the personal, professional, and financial lives of women.

Recently I have begun to wonder if the young women of today are being taught about powerful and successful women who have helped us to arrive at where we are today.  Have they heard the names of Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey as often as they experience minute-by-minute reporting on the Kardashians?

Gloria Steinem is now in her late 70s and it is understandable that not all young women have studied much about her, yet.  However, I just assumed that everyone who is old enough to watch television or surf the internet would know about Oprah Winfrey.  Not true.  Recently I was visiting with a group of young women who are in high school.  I discovered they really don’t know who Oprah is, what she has accomplished, or even how rich she is.That is interesting since rich is usually something teens care about. This lack of awareness of Oprah was a big surprise.  Fortunately I have listened to Oprah’s story often enough to recite it to them.  After that, I started bringing a few copies of O Magazine so the students could learn more.  In another conversation, I discovered that each of them could immediately identify Kim Kardashian and knew all about the man in her life, Kanye West.  Major reality check for me!

It is exciting that the blogosphere allows the writer to reach out to people of many generations all over the world.  If you are reading this and find that you are clueless as to who Gloria Steinem is, or what she stands for, please just “google her” or even watch her story on HBO.  Perhaps you have only a passing understanding of Oprah Winfrey’s life and accomplishments. Once again, a quick google will teach you a lot. 

I am grateful we are no longer living in the times when Gloria and Oprah were starting out and leading their own special brand of change for women, but I do know it is important to understand the past to appreciate today!

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

http://www.ffptalk.com

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

http://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

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