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

Archive for the ‘Mutual Funds’ 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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To order my book, please click here

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.

financialFreedom_bookhttp://www.ffptalk.com

To order my book, please click here.

Reposting of FFP Mini-Newsletter, Shopping

shopping2It seems like a good time to share my FFP Mini-Newsletter which was one of the early posts about a very common subject, shopping.

Please click here and enjoy.  Share with your women friends, your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, sisters, and anyone else who likes to shop!

Debra J. Hadsall

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Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition is now available on Amazon.com. Just click here.

Culture of Threes – #1

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My last posting was about our culture of threes. I describe how when something comes into my life and consciousness for three times over a short period of time, I pay attention and act.  The next three posts are a culture of threes story.

1

Recently I submitted my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women®, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, to Amazon.com.  This will make it available to the general reading public.  It also has put the book back into my daily thoughts as I often wonder if the financial services industry is ready to change and accommodate a new  easy and fun way of teaching women about money and marketing to us.  So this represents my most recent  confirmation about the value of parties as a way to connect with women, share meaningful and life-changing information, and starting a personal connection. I count this as Number 1.

Recognizing the value of learning about party plans which are used by direct selling companies was a natural evolution for me.  My entrance into becoming an insurance agent and registered representative was through a direct selling and network marketing company. Some of my friends were very successful in direct selling and network marketing and I listened and learned from them. This opened my mind to looking at more meaningful ways of marketing and selling complex products such as investments  insurance, and financial analysis/planning.

I hadn’t grown up professionally in the brokerage and insurance industry.  This meant I  wasn’t saddled with industry paradigms and allowed me to seek out a way to really meet the needs of the women I was encountering.  Having women clients was my main goal, but I believed they should be part of the process and have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of financial management so they could be more comfortable with their decisions.

This turned out to be a more difficult goal than expected.  There are some real barriers to getting women interested in learning about financial management.  Now there are always what I call the “MBA” women or those who are passionate about financial management, but there are many women who don’t meet that description.  Women tell me that the information can be difficult to grasp at first and the presentations are pretty old school and boring.  If a woman can go do something more interesting with her family or friends, why should she show up to a boring presentation?   Think about it, going to a girl’s night out, watching sports with the family, shopping with friends, taking a walk, or just staying home and watching a DVD are way more attractive and acceptable options.  As explained in my book:

The Financial Freedom Party (FFP) was created when I found many other women brokers, like myself, were frustrated when women wouldn’t show up at financial seminars. Only 3-4 women would attend, even though we mailed invitations with plenty of lead time, followed up, and targeted our efforts to women who needed this information, and who were not already working with a financial services professional.

One evening I attended a Pampered ChefTM party hosted by my next-door neighbor. She had made a last minute decision to have the party, and gave her guests about two-day notice. Nonetheless, when I arrived at her home, there were thirty or more women in attendance, and at the end of the presentation they were all buying — and buying “lots.”  It became clear to me that we needed to change our approach in the financial services industry. From this experience and with the help from three other women brokers, the Financial Freedom Party concept began and the format was developed.

This seemed pretty logical to our team and it worked.  However, as I reached out to professionals in the investment community to share the concept and expand its use, the reaction was rather unexpected.  Some people simply couldn’t see how it would work (even after I explained it).  Some were amused.  Then there were those who asked me, “Oh, like Tupperware Parties?”  At least this gave me an opportunity to explain that it is founded on the same concept but no product is sold at the party.  So, the  Financial Freedom Party for Women is an adaptation on party plans based on sharing information and building relationships.  I found again, that some comments  were little more than subdued snickering and amusement,  However, there were some men and women  who grasped the concept, could see the potential, were genuinely impressed, and encouraging.  Overall, the people I spoke with really didn’t see a need for change. Obviously the timing wasn’t right.  So I spent time doing Financial Freedom Parties and building my business, hoping for a more positive reception at a later time.

Business leaders tend to “get it” when products or services are sold and delivered with the result being money cash flowing into the business.  Success is an attention getter.

Recently two more references to Tupperware and party plan businesses came to me from two unexpected sources.  Both reflect success for women and money for the business.  They confirmed my experience that marketing to women (and with women) is often different, but highly profitable.  More to come next time about the second reminder I received about how women and party plans connect for both the consumer and the business.

Until next time.

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Debra Hadsall

http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

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

The Bright Side-2008 and Now

In 2008 the financial markets were suffering, and so were we.  The media reporting of the Dow was continuous and we were given minute-by-minute micro reporting about the state of our economic system here in the U.S.   The only ray of sunshine I found in the reporting was from an article called “The Bright Side”.  To learn more, please click here.

This might be a good time to reflect on how you felt in 2008 and to think about how we all arrived to 2013 (when the Dow hit 15,000).

Money is not all about numbers, it is also about feelings and emotions.  Please read the article and enjoy.

 

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http://www.ffptalk.com

http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

Debra Hadsall

Fun and Short Teachings on Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds +

womenmoneyblogOver the last six months I have been reading blogs, reviewing postings from the financial services industry, and really just looking around to understand what we, as women, are offered in terms of financial education.  For the past fifteen years the information I read has been targeted to financial advisory and broker professionals, since that is where I lived professionally. My information resources were probably more sophisticated than those of most of the women in this country.

What I have experienced recently is very nice; however, it seems to be about budgeting, how to save money on consumer purchases, little quotes about life insurance or wills, constant reminders that we don’t earn as much as men, and some new found interest in reaching out to women because we have become more powerful professionally and financially.  I’ve even written some blog postings along these lines, although I have had a long term interest in women and our finances.  Those  non investment topics are just easier to blast out in sound bites.

I have learned that many women are not in the habit of seeking out, and paying for, information about investing basics.  They have never experienced an easy to understand explanation of terms such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Individual Retirement Accounts, the power of compound interest, market capitalization, etc.  My experience is that most women are curious about these concepts and financial tools, but some  figure they are the only ones who don’t know about them.  To keep from being embarrassed, they just try to ignore the whole conversation.

So, I have extracted sixteen pages from my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition.  Ten of these pages concern investing, savings, and much more.  They represent the short and fun way I shared investing basics with women who attended Financial Freedom Parties for Women.  Most party goers said this part of the party was the most challenging to grasp, but  also the most significant. I even had a young woman tell me that she never understood stocks, bonds, and mutual funds until she heard me present this material.  As she explained, that was especially frustrating since she had once worked at a fund company.

So click here to link to the extract.  Please share it with those around you.  Take some time to print out the information and talk about it with your friends.  Learning about finances can be fun!

I am going to make this link available for free for a limited time period only.

Until next time.

financialFreedom_book

Debra J. Hadsall

http://www.financialfreedomparty.com

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