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

Archive for the ‘Money Management’ Category

Gender Lens Investing, Part II

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Let’s continue together on our journey to learn about this option of gender lens investing.

Investing through a lens is not a new concept. I first experienced it as a financial advisor when socially responsible investing became more popular. Some people are more driven by their social conscience than by the overall rate of return on an investment.  For them, using a “lens” or screening process of the companies in which they invest became the solution.

I see gender lens investing as an extension of socially responsible investing. So it helps to first understand the more established investment option called socially responsible investing.

A socially responsible investment is the result of screening publicly traded businesses based on certain criteria which seek both financial gain and social good or benefit.

Companies are evaluated and selected based on certain criteria. Some of the common criteria evaluated through the lens are:

  •  Support of sustainability of the environment through corporate policies and actions.
  •  Corporate commitment to workforce diversity in training and promotion   opportunities as well as to fair workplace practices.
  • Companies which avoid certain industries, such as those involved in weapons, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and gambling.

I am writing a post for a blog. The intent is to keep it short and stick with the basics. If socially responsible investing interests you, please learn more through your financial advisor or by simply googling it on the web. There are now many companies offering socially responsible investing. Among them is a company called Pax World Funds. They are part of the story of gender lens investing and a partnership with an organization called Ellevate.  More next time!

Debra Hadsall

http://www.ffptalk.com

(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.)

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Gender Lens Investing

lensfunny

Have you heard about gender lens investing?  I must admit that it is something I am just learning about.  So, let’s learn together.

To me, the two words gender lens create a vision of looking through the lens and seeing  the world through  adjustments. The lens is a filter which symbolically contains all our personal prejudices and experiences along with those we have acquired as the result of the norms and rules of society.

I googled the term “gender lens “to see what the experts say.  Interestingly enough, there were not pages and pages of quick definitions, most were quite clinical.  So I am going with the one from Wikipedia which is simple and concisely states what the long detailed articles and papers take paragraphs to explain.  It says:

What is a Gender Lens?

Think of a gender lens as putting on spectacles. Out of one lens of the spectacles, you see the participation, needs and realities of women. Out of the other lens, you see the participation, needs and realities of men. Your sight or vision is the combination of what each eye sees.

Gender is about relationships between men and women. Gender equality is about equal valuing of women and men – of their similarities and their differences. We need equal, respectful partnerships between men and women to have happy, healthy families and communities in the same way that we need both eyes to see best.

You can read more by clicking here.

This gives us a foundation to beginning to understand the concept of a gender lens, now to see how that term applies in the investment world and what it means to women.  More next time.

Until then.

Debra Hadsall

http://www.ffptalk.com

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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.

Spend Lessspendlesspic

Make Moremakemorepic

 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

http://www.ffptalk.com

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Military Members Find Help from Some Special Financial Advisors

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Today my on-line version of Financial Planning magazine showed up in my email in-box.

As a former broker and financial advisor, I used to read everything in he magazine.  Now I read mainly articles about women and money.  However, the one today is titled “Financial Planners Help Stem the Rate of Military Suicides”. Having spent my first career working for three of the military services and then the Department of Defense, and being aware through news stories that suicide rates in the military are rising, I was curious and clicked through to the article.

Personally, I understand that some financial advisors and planners can do more than just hand out wisdom and match clients up with products.  What they can do better than most anyone else is listen to a client and then use their brains like a search engine to scan all the considerable knowledge they have about the entire financial management process, not just the lucrative and more glamorous investing component.  With their talents, a lot of patience, and a willingness to take the lead in filling out paperwork with the client, they can help make things happen.  People in trouble are too exhausted to do it all by themselves.

The article is worth reading whether you are a military member, a health care professional, a financial services professional, clergy, or just a caring person.  I am excited to learn this story of how a few risk-taking financial professionals have stepped up to the challenge and changed people’s lives.  I’m hoping they have also started a movement to expand how financial professionals are allowed to give clients what they really need.

Please click here to read this story.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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Investing, a Fun Perspective

Legend

Nice thought and great way to teach us about money management in an engaging manner.  Thanks Legend Group!

Debra Hadsall

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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.

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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.

A Post Office with Banking, Bill Paying, and Small Loans?

womenmoneyblogpostoffice

I was attracted to a post in the Huffington Post which acknowledges that many Americans are not having their basic banking needs met by the existing services.  A few years back I probably wouldn’t have even noticed an article about the subject.  Yes, I have seen payday loan advertisements, been at the local super market where people cash paychecks, or even seen check cashing businesses in the strip mall.  However, they were just part of the background scenery. Everyone in my life knows her or his way around banks, mortgage companies, brokerages,  and all that the financial world offers.  Of course they offer it to us because it is profitable.

My perspective changed when I moved to a small town located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas.  The people with money are visitors, business owners, and those who own resort properties.  The local workforce includes a high percentage of low-income people or those living at poverty level.  No longer was I living in the suburbs where having a checking account with a debit card is a fact of life for high school students.  I found myself standing in line at the post office with lots of people who were getting money orders to pay bills and send money to family members.  Sometimes it actually looked more like a bank than a place to send and receive mail.  That’s why this concept of basic and uncomplicated banking services at the post office seemed logical to me.

Over time I learned a lot about why the low-income people around me avoided traditional banking systems.  One reason is that often they were undocumented and want to remain invisible.  Even if the person does have legal status, often he or she was brought up in a family where the parents were undocumented.  The children simply emulate what the parents did and the cycle of using cash, money orders, and expensive loans is perpetuated. People living in poverty or on very low incomes see banks as scary places which they don’t trust.  Even those of us who are middle-income and above often have that same feeling.  Things have just gotten very complicated.

According to the article,  collectively those households which use alternative banking products spent about $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees. That represents a huge cost for people with lower than average incomes.

Please click here to read the entire article.  The concept of tying simple and affordable banking services to the local post office is being done elsewhere successfully.  There is a very good chance that those people currently using alternative banking methods would be more trustful of a place they have visited throughout their lives, the post office, than they would be of banks which really don’t want them there anyway.  There are benefits to the U.S. Postal System too!

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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To order my book, please click here.

Empty Mansions– Living the Good Life?

mansions

I just finished reading the book “Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Junior.  The title says it is about “The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune”.

Any book with the words fortune and spending just calls to my financial education mind.  It would seem that a book about wealth would be all about what we call “living the good life”.  I learned that the title refers to the empty properties Huguette continued to maintain even though she didn’t live in them.  Interesting.

This book is about a woman and her story which revolves around extreme wealth, business, family owned businesses, decision-making, relationships, trust and distrust, and how money can be both a blessing and a curse.

Personally, it took me a long time to learn to deal with money in an unemotional manner.  The main character, struggled with that for a really long time as she was born in 1906 and died in 2011. She dealt with a lot of emotions and they often guided her decisions.  For Huguette, these decisions usually involved  large sums of money. The world changed radically during her lifetime and she also outlived her close relatives.  Some of the change was more than Huguette wished to deal with, so she created a lifestyle which was strange and unconventional to most ordinary (and even wealthy) people.  Her needs for security and safety as a wealthy person played a big part in how she spent money.  As an elderly woman  it appeared that those who were caring for her may have taken advantage of  her financially, even though the medical professionals found her competent.

It is hard to imagine the majestic homes her father created with his wealth  and the mind-set of  Huguette who was born into such a lifestyle and never knew anything different.  Still, I was struck by the similarity between the decisions she had to make about  businesses, advisors, and income management, and those made by the rest of as we manage our personal finances or make lifestyle and financial decisions about the senior citizens our lives.

Was Huguette happy living what most would see as “the good life”?  It is hard to tell.  That is the mystery which remains in her interesting life story.

Until next time.

Debra J. Hadsall

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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