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Why Women Love Money

Gold digger. Fashionista. Socialite. Debutant.

Women have commonly been called names that suggest their obsession with money. Furthermore, we’ve often seen a hot woman with an older man and thought one thing: “he must be rich!”

It’s a bad rap for women.

It wasn’t that long ago that women were expected to be homemakers. To never handle the finances. To ask for an allowance to buy necessities.

Now we’re making our own money.

We have our own careers. We buy our own homes. We take care of ourselves.

No longer are we seen as needing a man to take care of us. We take care of ourselves.

According to Forbes, a historically high number of women are not only earning as much as their husbands, but more.

So why are women so money obsessed, as we’ve been branded in the past? We’re now seen as more career driven and have put off the age of getting married and having children, and we do it all for money. It’s not all about the money, it’s about something else.

1. It’s About Independence. Back when women were expected to be homemakers and weren’t even allowed to get jobs they used to get married as early as possible. There was no chance for independence because they needed to find someone to take care of them.

Now that women are making their own money they don’t need to get married so young because they don’t need anyone to take care of them. Making our own money has allowed us to be completely independent. That’s one reason why money is so important to us. We decide who we marry and why, instead of looking for a man who can “take care of you.”

2. It’s About Freedom. Imagine having to ask your husband to be able to buy an outfit you wanted. Even worse, imagine being told no.

A certain amount of freedom comes with being able to spend your money on what you please. You don’t have to justify anything to anyone, it’s your money and you can spend it however you’d like. No longer do women have to ask for an allowance, they have the freedom to make their own decisions.

3. It’s About Knowledge. I’m sure you’ve heard this story before: a woman who doesn’t make any money lets her husband take care of the checkbooks. She doesn’t know how much money they have, she doesn’t know what their bills cost, and she doesn’t know where the money goes each month, or even what comes in. One day she finds out they’re 100K in debt, with their house mortgaged, and everything they ever had on the line.

The most important thing when it comes to having your own money is having the knowledge that comes along with it. You know how much money you have and you’ll want to know how much everything costs. Knowledge is power and you won’t want to hand over your money without the knowledge of where it’s going.

4. It’s About Equality. Marriage is supposed to be 50/50 but when someone holds the power, the scales are tipped. Money creates an equality between men and women.

Don’t believe me? There are countless stories out there of men being put off by their wives making more money than them. You don’t think that a man wouldn’t want a couple of extra dollars coming in? They would, but they’d prefer it be from them. It’s a power thing.

5. It’s About Time. We are sick and tired of the way things have been in the past. We know that it’s about time that we started to prosper the way that we’ve seen men do. We’ve been waiting so long to break out and show our true earning potential that we’re ready to see it finally happening and don’t for one second take it for granted.

Every couple, every woman, every person has their own situation going on. We all find our own grooves and place importance on different things. There is no argument that a stay at home mother isn’t putting in her share of work. We applaud every woman who leaves their job behind to take on the hardest 24/7 job that anyone has ever had. Leaving that job behind, or even leaving it for maternity leave is hard because it takes us out from a place where we can exercise our right to earn money and find the specific kind of independence and freedom that our own money brings us.

To all of those people who have branded women as money hungry, they were right. We are money hungry and we plan on making our own money. Now that we’ve seen what it can bring to us, I doubt you’ll see women going back to early marriages to become homemakers again.

Fact or Fiction: Making Friends with Your Bank

In the course of our lives, we form many relationships – with people, ideas, places, possessions and institutions. Strong, weak, somewhere in-between, fun, and not-so-fun relationships are inescapable.

One of the most important institutions in our lives is our bank. It’s the place we trust with our hard earned cash, borrow from, and sacrifice for in the form of monthly fees. They can be unbearably frustrating.

At first glance, the idea of having something as personal as a relationship with a huge and faceless corporation may seem odd. However, upon closer inspection we can find many similarities between the relationships we have with our spouse or friend, and our banks.

As with any relationship, there are ups and downs when dealing with banks. There will be spurts of elation and pits of depression. Although many people would be inclined to define their relationship with their bank as painful and unpleasant, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number of ideas you can put in practice to alleviate stress when managing relations with your bank.

Form a personal connection To do this, we need to shift our thinking.

Try to see your bank as composed of human beings. Once you realize that you are dealing with people, things will be considerably smoother. Make friends with the tellers, financial advisers, and managers at your bank – get to know their names and keep in touch. This may be more difficult at a larger bank, but quite manageable at a smaller branch.

Making friends at the bank will help the folks remember your name and story. This is always beneficial when negotiating for a better deal as people tend to be more helpful and sympathetic towards their friends.

Ask for it If you are struggling with high fees or you think you should be getting a better deal, the best thing to do is just ask. You lose nothing by asking your bank for better rates. Your bank needs your business and will likely be open to compromise to retain you as a customer. It all comes down to this: nothing will change unless you make the first move and break the ice.

Keep demands reasonable That being said, it is also important to keep your demands reasonable. You definitely want the best deal possible, but relationships are a two way street and you can’t leave the other party with no room to maneuver.

Negotiate with the aim to satisfy both parties. Never try to get too much done in one session or argument. Break down your demands into smaller, easily achievable requests. Keeping your demands reasonable ensures they are more likely to get met.

Understand your rights While you’re wrangling with banks and other financial institutions, make sure you know your rights as a consumer. It’s a good idea to always read the fine print as well as brushing up on any relevant legislation. Find out what you and your bank can and can’t do and be sure to let the bank know when they’re not playing fair. Always seek assistance if you have trouble deciphering the rules and regulations governing banking activities – it can be very difficult going up against these organizations on your own.

Weigh alternatives If you find yourself unable to settle with your bank, do yourself a favour and shop around for a better deal. Banks are always eager for new customers and you might very well receive a juicy deal for transferring.

Make sure to conduct research into a bank’s past practices and the way they are known to have treated their customers before. Feel free to cite other banks’ deals to your own for concessions. If this doesn’t work, you might want to consider parting ways with your bank.

Cultivating a strong and healthy relationship with your bank is not only doable, but indeed highly beneficial. Just as with the people in our lives, it can be easy to yell, snap and get frustrated. Unfortunately, this damages our bonds with other people and gets us nowhere. Frustration with your bank is natural, but thankfully it is something that can be managed and resolved.

How to Get New Clients Without Wasting Time

We get it, the work day is usually a blur.

How often does the day fall away from you and before you know it it’s 5pm, time to move onto your next job at home?

You have to now worry about running errands, doing laundry, taking care of your family, and finally, yourself.

When your head finally hits the pillow, it doesn’t take long to find yourself drifting off to sleep.

That is until your eyes shoot open. You’ve missed something on your to-do list again. How could you have even found time for it?

Time is something that many of us don’t have in abundance, something which you will probably relate to as a entrepreneur. Having so many demands on your time can cause a whole host of problems, whether it is serving dinner a couple of hours too late, or letting new business endeavors slip by the wayside.

Some of these issues actually breed even more problems. Take new business for example – if you never have time to find new clients, your source of income will slowly dry up. That’s not something any of us want to have our families deal with.

Therefore it makes sense to ensure that these issues are tackled head on before they have a chance to make trouble further down the line. Of course, you don’t want to spend too much time doing any one thing in business, so it is all about finding the right balance. It makes sense to put your focus on finding new clients first, and then to figure out how to best spend your time on your business once that critical task is handled.

In order to help you on your way, we have put together a few suggestions for how to get new clients without wasting too much time to make it happen. You will need to decide which methods are right for your type of business, but hopefully these ideas are ones that will work for most of you.

Social media If you aren’t on the leading social media websites yet, it really is time you caught up for the sake of your business and family.

Some of the best connections can be made through Twitter, LinkedIn, and even sites such as YouTube, Instagram,and Pinterest. You will need to post relevant and engaging content, as well as take a few minutes out here and there to connect with those in your network. People don’t like seeing too many messages about sales, so be respectful of this too.

Google Think about all of the times you use the search engine Google to find something online, whether it’s a piece of information or a product. Do you think it would be useful to have your own services or products listed here so other people can buy them?

There are some online IT courses available which should provide you with the basic skills to improve your website and make sure you’re showing up on the search engine. Doing a course online will allow you to increase your online marketing savvy on your own schedule. Do some research to find some courses that could work for you!

Word of mouth Sometimes the best business can come from referrals, so it makes sense to continue putting in a great deal of good work with your existing clients. Alongside this, you should make sure that all of your friends and family know what you do, just in case they happen to know someone who needs what you specialize in.

If you are doing some brilliant work for clients, get them to shout about it through case studies and testimonials which you can put on all of your marketing collateral going forward.

We know you’re busy and we know that building your client base is a time consuming endeavour, but it’s also your life source. There are great ways to build your base without spending all of your precious time doing so. Innovate the process to work for you and show your true entrepreneurial edge!

**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Women Who Run It.

The Fundamentals of Money Management in Turbulent Times

The year is 2014. The United States is increasingly decriminalizing Cannabis, Toronto crack- smoking Mayor Rob Ford visited a rehabilitation facility, and Vladimir Putin stands strong against protests in his anti-gay laws. While these stories and more have kept us on our toes all year, something else has lingered underneath. Something that has perhaps kept us on our toes for what has felt like forever. That something? The markets.

The markets are going crazy these days: commodities, gold, silver, the stock market, real estate.

How can you keep up?

What should you do?

Any change in the world condition can make the market react either positively or negatively. Osama is killed and the market goes up. The President makes a speech on Libya and the market jumps. A new poll comes out and the market dips. Seems like just about anything can set it off, driving the indexes either up or down.

There is even a new computer program that is being talked about to help in making stock market predictions based on twitter tweets. It is said that they can determine the “mood” of the masses by analyzing millions of tweets and that will help them predict market conditions. Market intelligence gained from tweets…it’s a sad day when much of anything that is tweeted can be considered “intelligence.”

Yeah, I know, I tweet too and I have thousands of followers (you should be one) but I do my best to give a 140-character nugget that actually offers something to help you do better, be better, or at least cause you to think. I don’t tweet the typical “I’m hungry” or “I’m sad today” like some folks do. (Eat a damn sandwich or keep your lousy mood to yourself, I’ve got my own crap to deal with!!!)

The problem is that people actually pay attention to these temporary fluctuations in the market and try to time their way into making money by jumping in or out based on what’s going on in the moment. They are constantly reviewing their portfolio to see where they are day by day. They get upset or sometimes even elated by the daily changes that take place. Then they want to buy or sell and are on the phone to their broker or worse, trying to handle it all by themselves like they are smarter than everyone else in the financial world.

Don’t do that.

Investments should be based on trends and track records and those things take time to develop. And unless you are a seasoned investor and really know what you are doing, don’t try to time the market to make money. The odds are not in your favor.

Market fluctuations are based on emotion. Money has no emotions but only reacts to the emotions of people. That’s why we see all the craziness going on in the markets right now; people’s emotions are running high for many reasons and the market is reacting to it.

The key is to not play into the market fluctuations by letting your emotions dictate your financial strategy. These fluctuations make no difference to the average investor. These fluctuations are temporary, while your investment strategy should be long term.  And remember, emotional decisions are not often your best decisions in any area of life, but especially when it comes to money. When you buy or sell stocks based on emotions, or when you are in a panic, rarely will you make a good long-term financial decision.

Your financial security is a long term strategy, so get back to basics. The same old boring fundamentals for financial success still apply regardless of what is going on:

  1. Have a cash cushion equal to six months of your expenses.

  2. Before you even consider investing, make sure you have all high-interest debt, like credit card debt paid off. People often ask my opinion about good investments with high yield.  I always ask if they have a credit card balance. Since the average credit card debt per household is still about $7500 and the average interest rate is about 14%, I remind them that the fastest way to get a 14% return on their money is to pay off their credit cards. Again . . . do not invest a dime until your credit cards are paid off. It’s DUMB.

  3. Make sure you are spending less than you earn… Which around 40% of people still aren’t doing.

  4. Have a long term strategy for financial security. Work with a qualified financial adviser who knows you and your situation and will help you achieve your long term goals. Prosperity is a process and a slow one at that.

And by all means, do not panic when you see temporary fluctuations in the market. Take a deep breath, stay calm and stick to your plan – and if you don’t have a plan, get one.

Remember, don’t let the emotions of the crazy world around us dictate your financial strategies. Calm down and relax when it comes to your finances, and the markets will too.

Your Mommy Brain, Your Money Brain And Feeding Both

Six years ago, Alison Stuckey had lost her ability to dream: her husband was a victim of the 2008 financial crisis and she was moving towards depression. She had finally transitioned from working nine-to-five after 5 years and adjusted to being a mother. But there was always something missing in her life.

Alison began to realize that she was caught up in societal expectations and this was not working for her.

“We look at what our parents and their parents did. This just isn’t working anymore. It’s a different time,” Alison confessed.

The most difficult part for Alison was stepping out of her comfort zone. Leaving the world of nine-to-five was a major challenge. Alison’s reason for leaving the corporate world so many people inhabit was that she had to be there for her children, not to mention that she could never find a spot for herself in this environment.

Alison defines herself as “first and foremost, a mom and a wife,” her family is the most important thing. Following the birth of her first child, she felt that she was being forced to make a choice – to sacrifice either her child or her job. She chose her child, then children. Unfortunately a single income is not enough to support a family in a large city and Alison had to consider returning to a job and workforce after 5 years.

Around this time, she was approached by a university friend and jumped at the opportunity to start her own business with Arbonne, a health and wellness networking marketing company. The new opportunity offered the flexibility she needed to focus on the most important aspect of her life – her children.

“I needed to be there for my daughter. She needs her mom around. I can’t even imagine what she would be like as a person if I wasn’t there,” Alison shared.

It wasn’t easy starting over – Alison experienced considerable self-doubt. Confidence came gradually from certain realizations and primarily from personal development.

“I was terrified. Would it work? Could I do it? All my fears surfaced. But I always knew I was capable of so much more than I was doing. There was always this thought in the back of my head that there is more for me out there. More I have to do in life.”

Helping her through this was the way she viewed failures. Alison does not look at failures as standing alone, but at the way someone deals with them.

“I look at them as a positive as opposed to a negative because it’s really the way you deal with them that determines what your future is going to be,” she said.

The best part of leaving a nine-to-five existence, Alison says, was the flexibility that came with it. She could set her own schedule and expectations.

“If somebody’s sick, I don’t have to call my boss and ask for time off. I usually give myself the time off,” she laughs.

She also enjoys being in control of her future.

“No one else is dictating my future. I am in charge of it and it will be whatever I make of it. I am not under somebody else’s control, working to someone else’s expectations,” Alison said.

Regarding expectations, Alison rails against stereotypical societal expectations and norms.

“There are so many things being thrown at us: our kids, our careers, even our physical being; be this way, look this way, weigh this much.”

Her proposed solution is to reclaim our lives.

“We really need to be our own person, especially as women.”

With the flexibility and freedom her business allows, Alison has found time for both her family and an incredible career.

“I set an example for my kids, especially my daughter, that I can be successful, building an amazing business that is going to be a legacy for them, and also have presence in their life, to be there for them when they need me.”

Alison’s advice to women is to connect with successful and positive women to discover the path they took through much the same circumstances. Embodying the entrepreneurial mindset, Alison says that if you can dream it, you can do it.

“The only thing holding us back is ourselves,” she shared.

While she’s not certain of what she will do in the future, Alison has her eyes on the big picture.

“We are all put on this planet for something great. I still haven’t determined exactly what that is, but I know there is something bigger I want to do.”

Speaking about her business, Alison views it as a gateway enabling her to do other things.

Indeed, Alison seems to be continually discovering herself.

“I realized recently that I want to start a charity and it is going to have a women focus.”

In short, it is clear that there is no clear path to success and in fact, no single path to success. A well-paying nine-to-five job may very well be one person’s idea of success, while Alison finds it a compromise disrupting her life.

While the details will vary for everyone, there are a few bigger ideas that we all can apply to our professional lives. Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you pursue success:

1. Don’t let society tell what you should be and how to get there Do what you want and be what you want. Live your dream.

2. Set your own expectations Only you know what you want to be in life. Through self discovery you will figure that out.

3. Move out of your comfort zone Challenge yourself to do better. Always.

4. Keep trying The most successful people in the world have failed many times and kept trying new methods and approaches.

5. Learn from your mistakes Don’t brood over them for weeks on end, instead absorb the lesson and move on. Improving.

6. Decide what’s important And focus on it. Prioritize and devote more time to the activities you truly value.

7. Get help Connect with people who share your concerns and be inspired by their stories.

Why Quitting is Good For You

Society leads us to believe that happiness arises from sticking with something for a long time, plugging away at that project with passion and determination and above all, never quitting.

Quitting is seen a sign of weakness and we would rather go to extreme lengths sooner than admit that we have quit something.

In fact, many people work so long and hard on their projects that they forget what it was that inspired them initially. There is therefore major social stigma associated with quitting.

Another thing that stops us from quitting is the thought of how much time and effort we have put into our work. It seems like so much has gone into the project that it would be an awful waste to throw it all away. This is something known as the sunk costs fallacy. Sunk costs is a term used by economists to describe the time, effort, and money a person has invested into doing something. It can be very difficult to let go of this and announce to the world that you’ve quit.

But is quitting always bad for us?

Having established that quitting is accompanied by stigma and made even more difficult by curious quirks of our brains, let’s look at some people who, by almost any standards were doing well but ended up quitting and their reasons for doing so.

People who quit and loved it The year is 1999: Ali is a software programmer living in Texas. She earns $60,000 a year – especially impressive considering she is 25 years old. She can afford a decent car and place to live and sustain her love for shoes. It seemed like she had the perfect life.

So why on Earth did she quit her stable, well-paying job to become a high-end escort?

Ali says her job involved staring at a computer screen all day, which proved terrible for her sociable personality. In her own words, her choice was right for her at the time and her new job made her happy.

Three years prior, Robert Reich, United States Secretary of Labour had quit his job. His reason? To focus on his family. Pundits may claim that such reasons are usually code for tensions within organizations, but Robert knew his own truth. Robert realized that it was important to him that he did not miss the opportunity to spend time with his two sons before they went off to college. And so, he quit.

We have already talked about sunk costs, for example, Ali was spending her days at the computer screen. But there is a slightly different concept at work here – the idea of opportunity cost – the value of something that is given up to pursue any given activity. For Ali, her job was depriving her of social interaction, Robert wasn’t seeing his sons as often as he wanted to. Both Ali and Robert came to realize that the sacrifices they were making for their jobs were not worth it and made the choice to quit.

How do I know when to quit? But how do you know “when to quit and when to struggle” as Carsten Wrosch, psychology professor at Concordia University puts it. The appropriate course of action can be really elusive.

Eric Greitens, former United States Navy SEAL operative with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan might have some insight for us. As a recruit, Greitens went through something called “Hell Week” – a weeklong series of physical activities designed to push people to their limits. During this time, recruits are allowed fewer than five hours of sleep. Clearly, the Navy instructors are not looking for quitters.
So why were they actively encouraging recruits to quit and even promised hot coffee and donuts to those that did?
The reason was to eliminate the people who would quit later on at an earlier stage to prevent unhappiness further down the line. Indeed, the vast majority did quit, the demands of Hell Week are simply too great for most recruits.  The key here is the attainability of your goals. For most Navy hopefuls, the goal of becoming a fully fledged SEAL was simply unattainable.
Here then, is the first step to quitting well: identifying if the goals you have set for yourself are realistic and either modifying or changing them entirely if need be.

Following that comes the actual process of quitting, and this can be long and painful. According to Sudhir Venkatesh, sociology professor at Columbia University, it’s best to “rip the Band-Aid off quickly”. People who are able to act quickly once they decide to quit usually fare better than those who take longer. In fact, it is actually healthier when quitting to quit quickly and move on. Research conducted by Carsten Wrosch, psychology professor at Concordia University indicates that people who are better able to let go experience fewer depressive symptoms and fewer health problems over time.

While on the subject of quitting quickly and cleanly, we must refer to the master of quitting quickly, Steve Levitt. Steve is an economist at the University of Chicago and advocates for people to “fail quickly”. The professor claims that the “single most important explanation for how he managed to succeed in the field of economics was by being a quitter.” Steve says that if he were to have a hundred ideas he would be lucky if two or three turned into actual academic papers. This taught him to rapidly recognize unpromising ideas and pull the plug on them.

The process By now, we should be able to pick out and isolate the reasons why somebody would want to quit and the process they ought to follow. Quitters are not unsuccessful or weak people, in fact all the quitters cited in this article are highly successful individuals. Quitting has more in common with realistic goals than giving up. The following is an outline of the process to quitting well and finding greater satisfaction in life.

1. Ask yourself: Am I happy? 2. If not, what is it I’d rather be doing? 3. Identify what you’re missing out on (opportunity cost). 4. Stop doing your current activity. 5. Set realistic goals for your new activity. 6. Accept that it didn’t work out the previous time. 7. Move on – dive right into what you’ve always wanted to be doing.

Looking back, Ali says quitting was easy for her. Since then, she has found a companion and has left the escort industry – she’s quit once again when the couple decided they didn’t want prostitution in their joint life. In this, Ali embodies more than just a willingness and honesty to reassess herself and her goals, she also possesses the ability to rethink her plans on the go.

Quitting has the power to bring greater satisfaction and the freedom to align one’s activities in line with one’s interests. Having the flexibility to do it on a regular basis in line with shifting priorities will ensure you’re caught stuck doing something you don’t like.

9 Ways You’re Wasting Your Money

Do you ever find yourself wondering where all your hard earned money went?

It seems like the bills can’t wait to escape your wallet.

It’s tricky to identify and keep track of all the small things in our busy lives that slowly but surely thin out your billfold. Sometimes the purchases we make seem important, useful and even indispensable at the moment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Indeed our spending habits do all sorts of harm, from mild inconveniences, to real threats, to affecting our health and well-being. Luckily, it’s easy to put yourself on the path to health and wealth by identifying where you’re wasting money and how you can fix it.

1. Your house Let’s start with the big things that have a major impact on your life, such as your house. Your house, apartment, or condo is a major expense item in your budget and as such should be your number one priority when looking to save money.

So what is it you can do to save money on your home? Well, take a look at all the expenses that go into your home – your hydro and electricity bills. You can cut down on utilities by installing energy and water efficient appliances. There are major savings to be found here, in fact, the folks at Energy Star who certify appliances say that you can save up to 33% on your energy bill if you follow their recommendations.

2. Credit cards Chances are, your house is partially mortgaged and some of your purchases are done on loan. Credit cards can be very useful tools to buy the items you need but can very quickly accumulate interest.

The average American household owes some $15,270 in credit card debt. 39% of Americans carry debt forward from month to month. This can result in difficulties with paying for medical emergencies, unemployment cushion, and post-secondary fees for your kids, just to name a few. If you find you are often unable to make the entire monthly payment on your credit card, it might be a sign that you need to look at your expenses and make some changes to your habits.

3. Coffee Simply opting to buy one cup less can do wonders.

Don’t get me wrong, coffee tastes great and you need it to get yourself going in the morning, but that extra one you downed on break was most likely unnecessary. Cutting down on coffee will save you hundreds of dollars a year as well as reduce your risk of anxiety, restlessness, and depression, which are all side effects of caffeine.

4. Lunch As you move throughout the day, inevitably you will get hungry. You probably have a favourite restaurant you love to eat at. Although you can get a quick and easy lunch for as little at $10, this is good for neither your health nor your wallet.

Ten dollars a day works out to $2600 a year on lunch alone, not to mention that fast food is high in fats, calories and preservatives. You’re much better off preparing a homemade lunch to take with you. One nifty trick you can use is to refrigerate your leftovers from dinner and pack them for lunch the next day.

5. Bottled water Furthermore, you can buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up from the tap. A plastic bottle of water can cost $2 – that’s $520 a year. Without a reusable bottle and tap water, you’re definitely doing your wallet a disservice, not to mention the environment. Don’t worry – tap water is every bit as good as bottled water.

6. Warranties So you’ve probably been shopping for your new energy efficient appliances and eco-friendly water bottle. Hold right there! Are you pulling out your credit card to pay? If so, I hope you didn’t pay for the extended warranty on that new Whirlpool. Warranties are a great idea, especially when you are buying an expensive product that you expect to last a long time. However, according to a report by Consumer Reports, most products do not break within the time covered by the normal warranty. Therefore, it makes no sense to pay extra for coverage you’re not likely to ever need.

Some food for thought: the same report says retailers keep at least 50% of the extra fee they charge you for that warranty, so make sure to bargain around with the salespeople for a better deal.

7. Cable boxes By now you’re at home and reaching for the remote to catch up on the day’s news and your favourite TV shows. Let me guess, you have 700 channels available with the Verizon or Rogers premium cable box that sits on your set. Let me guess again, you’re also probably paying for it. Enjoy your channels, but know that as with warranties, cable boxes are something you can get for less if you haggle a little with your provider.

8. Taxes It’s that time of year again: time to do your taxes. And luckily, you have a bit more income to report this year thanks to all your nifty money saving tricks you’re using. But the problem with reporting more income is having to pay more taxes.

It’s very easy – look into the various refunds and deductions available from the IRS/CRA and see which ones you qualify for. It’s hardly possible for you to know the tax code inside out so there will most likely be a few that you missed and obviously were not informed about by the government.

9. Alcohol After a long and hard day doing your taxes, you decide to go out with a few friends – grab a few drinks, maybe smoke a cigarette or two if that’s your thing. After all, you can afford it now with all your savings piling up.

Not so fast! Wouldn’t it be pointless to have saved so much money only to blow it on drinks? As little at $50 a week on alcohol adds up to $2600 a year. It can be fun (and definitely tempting!) to drink and you should definitely be able to enjoy yourself without pinching every penny, but do keep in mind that reducing your alcohol consumption even a small amount will save you loads of money and provide innumerable health benefits such as reduced risk of heart, liver and kidney disease.

At the end of the day, if you need to buy something, go ahead and buy it. You cannot live your life filled with worry and guilt for every penny. In fact, this is likely to make you unhappy and frustrated. Instead, focus on small and achievable goals and before you know it, you’ll find yourself a master saver.

Being a Female Breadwinner: What This Rise Means for Relationships

When it comes to money, the more the merrier, right?

Well believe it or not, this is not always the case.

The last half century has seen the rise of a new kind of woman, the female breadwinner, a mystical creature once unknown to society at large. Although this is a total win for women and feminism, it can create a strain on relationships and gender roles.

To set up the situation, it is important to take a little walk down memory lane and see where the root of this problem is:

  • It has only been within the last 60 years or so that women have been getting equal pay to men (and this is still not always the case).

  • It was only in 1999 that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that job standards and tests couldn’t be solely based on capabilities that would favour men.

What these facts prove is that for a very long time the workplace favored the man. It is only in very recent times that women have been able to work, especially in high-powered positions.

So what does this all mean?

Well it means that men have been the breadwinners pretty much since the beginning of time. Because of this society has created a sort of unwritten binary system where the big strong man goes to work and provides for his family, while the dutiful woman stays home to attend to her “womanly” duties (i.e. cooking and cleaning).

Attention Readers: This SHOULD sound old-fashioned and archaic, it is. But it is also a reality and it is the reason people are struggling with the idea of the female breadwinner. To put it frankly, they are just not used to it.

Of course there are some men out there who are totally cool with the idea of their significant other bringing home the bacon, but there are also some men who feel emasculated by this notion. It is okay for them to feel this way, they are not sexist monsters trying to bring down the feminist movement, they are just human.

If you are a female breadwinner here are some tips on how to manage your relationship (and your life too):

Money ≠ Power

Probably one of the biggest strains money can have on any relationship is the belief that it equates to power. This would mean that the person who makes more money would be dominant when it comes to decision-making.  Always remember that any good relationship is an equal partnership and no matter how big your pay difference you  are always in this together.

Redefine Success

Always keep in mind that money and success are not exclusive. The most incredible elementary school teacher in the world simply cannot not make as much as a mediocre NBA player, these are just facets of these jobs. So always show your partner that you still see all of their hard work and dedication, no matter how much money they make.

Show Your Appreciation

Always make sure that your partner feels noticed and appreciated. There are a lot more ways that a person can contribute to a relationship and family that go far beyond finances. Make sure you take note of these things.

Let the Man be the Man

Now, I know what you’re thinking and I understand that this is a controversial tip, but hear me out. Men like to feel needed and they like to feel important, so sometimes you just have to let them. So if you are out to dinner with a group of friends let your partner pick up the cheque, he will feel better and so will you.

Balance the Chores

If you work a long, hard day the last thing you need to do is come home clean the toilets and then cook up a gourmet meal. Some female breadwinners may feel the need to take on extra chores to compensate for the fact that they worked all day, but this unnecessary and quite frankly, it’s exhausting. Balance out the chores with your partner in order prevent overexertion and also to bring equality into the relationship.

Let Go of the Past

In the same way that a man might feel emasculated by his significant other making more money than him, a women may be conditioned to feel guilty if she is making more money and consequently spending less time at home.  Let go of this guilt and feel proud of your accomplishments! Think back to the long lineage of women who have worked hard to allow you to be in this position. Also, remember that guilt will also bring negativity into your relationship.

Take Care of Financial Matters Together

Just because you make more money does not mean you have take care of all the bills, and it certainly does not mean you’re in charge of all the financial decisions. Money is an important factor in any relationship, which means that all of the important financial decisions should take both people’s opinions into consideration.

Things Can Change

No matter what, keep in mind that we are living in unsteady financial times and that your situation may change in the future. So treat your partner the way you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

Female breadwinners rejoice! We are living in an exciting time when women are able to advance further in the workforce than ever before, but just remember to take care of your relationships just as much as you do your career.

Confessions of a Gatsby Wife:Lessons Learned From Losing It All

Do you remember the first time you read The Great Gatsby? Probably in high school before you could ever truly appreciate an American classic, but like many other readers you were probably enamoured by the luxurious lifestyles, intrigued by the social bonds that were made and broken throughout out the novel, and if nothing else, you were wishing you could find a Gatsby party of your own to attend.

Some people are actually living the Gatsby lifestyle, for better or worse.

“I just wanted to have the dinner parties and to have the life! And I didn’t want to know about the details or how he was funding this. I didn’t want to hear about his problems, if he didn’t have enough money. That maybe pushed him to have riskier behavior. I wasn’t a total innocent bystander,” Daisy (not her real name).

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s mansion effervesces with fair-weather friends as long as the free champagne flows. When scandal erupts, however, no one is to be found. Gatsby, who was once the toast and talk of the town — the mysterious millionaire — died alone, with no one in attendance at his funeral.
Almost a century after Fitzgerald penned his iconic American novel, the scene still plays itself out. Sometimes the tragedy ends in death, like the many suicides that occurred in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal. Sometimes you are simply exiled from the Gatsby lifestyle, as happened in the case of “Daisy”, who sat down with me last week to tell her story.

Ten years ago, Daisy was living the high life. Her husband was a jetsetter with a fancy lifestyle and a flashy career in commodities. Daisy — her jewelry, her parties, her circle of friends, her figure! — was the envy of the Hamptons crowd. Socialites flowed like a cool breeze in and out of beach and country homes. Just like The Great Gatsby, Daisy’s toddler tumbled about, adding frolic and comic relief.

Daisy worried for nothing. She can’t even remember how she spent her money — the good income she earned on her own, working as an executive assistant for a venture capital group. She didn’t save a dime, and her husband handled all of the bills.
Weekdays were worker bee busy, but on weekends Daisy became the social butterfly, fluttering about among friends. That is until one fateful day, when her husband called with a horrible confession. He had collateralized their home against a hard money loan, and they were in danger of losing everything.
The years that followed were a flurry of anger, arguments and attorneys — none of which saved the home, or the Gatsby friends. As Daisy describes it, “We lost a lot of friends. People don’t hang around when you’re not having the big dinner parties that we used to have.”
And yet, Daisy looks better than I’ve ever seen her. She and her husband have reinvented themselves — something that took serious self-examination and brutal honesty over who was really to blame for losing almost all of their worldly possessions. Her husband went from dealing in bling and jet setting around the world, to dealing with high school students and commuting by train. His teaching job pays pennies on the dollar from his prior career, but he burned too many bridges to stay in his former business. Daisy went from lavish living to modest budgeting — where she controls the money and pays the bills.
In order to stay married to the father of her children, Daisy had to ask and answer the question, “Is my husband evil, or did he just make a terrible mistake?” She admits that he gambled their future on a bad business deal — one that he genuinely thought would pay off and save the day. But she also had to acknowledge her own role in the mess.
As she describes it, “I just wanted to have the dinner parties and to have the life! And I didn’t want to know about the details or how he was funding this. I didn’t want to hear about his problems, if he didn’t have enough money. That maybe pushed him to have riskier behavior. I wasn’t a total innocent bystander.”
Today, Daisy is financially, though not legally, divorced from her husband. Shepays the bills. She owns the home, and a 401K and life insurance. Her child has a trust fund and a college fund. And her next goal is to get back to earning passive income, through smart investing.
The champagne life may be gone forever (or not), but Daisy is happy and optimistic about what lies ahead, mainly because she’s driving the car now, sober and with a good plan. And she encourages you to consider the 10 Tips below, so that you never have to lose it all, like she did.

Smart Girl’s Guide to the Rich Life

  1. Pay yourself first always.  Deposit 10% of your income into a tax-protection retirement account, and learn how to compound your gains.

  2. Always have money of your own — even if he’s the mega-bread winner.

  3. Have your own credit card.

  4. Verify that you are on the deed of the home (not just the mortgage).  This is how Daisy lost her home — by not having her name on the deed.

  5. Know what and where your assets are Including how much is owed and whether your money or estate is being leveraged to pay Paul.

  6. Establish a Thrive Budget You can either survive or you can thrive. A Thrive Budget is a way to budget your money in order to help you thrive in your life. You may have a retirement fund but maybe it should be called your Private Island Fund. What do you want from your money? Save for the things you want, let it build up and never worry about surviving, just focus on thriving.

  7. Have your own retirement fund And never allow anyone to touch it. This is your lifeboat!

  8. Read the fine print of all legal documents Particularly big asset purchases.

  9. Demand transparency from your partner in all things financial  Even if you have separate bank accounts.

  10. Take ownership of your investments  Even if you have a “financial planner”.

  11. Learn The ABCs of Money  These are things that we all should have received in high school. It’s far more important than knowing how fast a train can get between Omaha and Chicago.

Sure the Gatsby lifestyle is seductive and alluring, but it’s also an uncertain lifestyle that is built on unsteady ground. Instead of being drawn to the glamour of dinner parties and fancy material possessions that could all be lost tomorrow, let yourself be drawn to the security to smart financial decisions. These are decisions that you should be making with your partner, because they’re your teammate and they’ll be the one down in the dirt with you if it all falls apart.

**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections’ publicationWomen Who Run It.

A Note to Financial Advisors: 5 Powerful Insights Into How Women Think

Money can be a hard subject to talk about.

Honestly, who wants to sit around talking to a stranger about their annual income, their monthly expenses, where they want to invest, and then in the end write a big cheque with money you hope you see again?

I truly believe the best way for women to create wealth is by working with financial professionals. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, “fewer than one in five women currently has an advisor.”

Why? Because women can’t find anyone who understands them.

Advisors are talking to women just like they do men. Big mistake. True, money knows no gender. Women, however, are very different from men. Yet the financial world is based on the male model of communication.

Here are 5 powerful insights into how women think. By looking at these insights you can learn what to look for in your relationship with your financial advisor.

1) Women are all about relationships.  Women are ‘other’ oriented; men are transaction oriented. Women communicate to create relationships and make connections. Men communicate to obtain information, establish status, and show independence. These are 2 very different conversations. The message women want to hear: “I care about you. I understand you. I’m here to support you.” How can a financial advisor provide this for you? Ask lots of questions about your goals, dreams, time frames, lifestyle, opinions, your life in general. They should listen more than talk. Find out what you need, not what they think you need.

2) Women can be very emotional when it comes to money. But in the financial world, conversations about emotions are considered taboo, too touchy-feely, not part of the financial planning process.  Really big mistake. Your financial planner doesn’t need a degree in psychology, but they do need to invite you to discuss your fears, beliefs, and family’s attitudes toward money. Often by simply listening your issues, and addressing your qualms while explaining your options can be enough to get you past your emotional blocks.

3) Women want to be educated. Men like to learn through trial and error. Women like to be taught. In a study by Deloitte Touche,  90% of the women expected their financial advisor to educate them. They even rated service, advice, and education far ahead of performance. What’s one of the best ways to educate women? Seminars. Why?  According to an Emory University study, “the pleasure and reward centers of their brain light up if they can work towards their financial goals in a cooperative way with other women.”

4) Women define success differently than men. Men define success as being in control; women as how well they can help others. The financial media, and the industry itself, seem to believe that scary statistics, alarming statements, and worse case scenarios will actually motivate women. But clearly fear tactics haven’t worked.

Instead, look for a financial advisor who will talk to you about how investing allows you to experience the joys of philanthropy, the thrill of leaving a legacy, the satisfaction of helping people you loves and causes you’re passionate about.

5) Women clients tend to be more time consuming, especially at the beginning. Women expect more service, ask more questions.

In my 1st appointment with Eileen, my long time advisor, she told me: “My job is to see your needs are met. It’ll take time but I need to find about your goals and level of risk.” And she did. Then she gave me choices. “I see myself in partnership with you. Here are your choices. Let’s discuss each of them and figure out what is best for you.”

These are powerful insights that should help you to orient yourself around what is important to you when it comes to money. Instead of seeing the financial world as a man’s world, you can now reframe it around what you want and make the financial world your own. Keep these insights in mind when looking for your financial advisor and you’ll be sure to find the right fit for you!

**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections’ publicationWomen Who Run It.