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Ban The Taboo: Talk About Money With Your Friends

Ban The Taboo: Talk About Money With Your Friends

Apr 11, 2014

I was told, as many of us were, that we should never talk about money, religion, or politics.  Not suprisingly, this has left me void of knowledge in three subjects: money, religion, and politics.  Sure I have opinions.  I’ve read some stuff.  But I don’t have that breadth of ideas and security in my understanding that comes with a topic that has been passed around my friends and co-workers a few dozen times. Taboo topics, like money, get avoided because they stir up passionate feelings.  People find it difficult to talk about the taboos in calm and rational ways and it’s a shame.  Think about how we could all benefit from the knowledge and personal stories people have stored up inside about these topics, especially money. Once, I asked a particularly financially sound friend how she became so savvy with money.  She told me to go take a class at the community college.  It’s a little like being a part of a club, money: you have it or you don’t.  If you don’t have any, you better figure it out on your own. Of course it would be rude (not to mention scandalous) to mention your salary at work.  What could it hurt to discuss retirement?  Investment? Debt-reduction plans?  Apparently, women are especially secretive when it comes to talk about money.  As a women, I guess I thought everyone was private about fiance, but this article reveals that men actually discuss investment and finance with each other.  We women can talk about couponing all day, but we are on lock-down when it comes to discussing long-term financial plans and success.  We don’t share tips or advice with each other, almost as if we share what we know there will be less money for us out there. Fear. Women, myself included, often feel weak in math skills.  We feel uncertain and vulnerable in financial discussions because we doubt our ability to work with numbers.  Pushing aside the reasoning behind this deep-seated insecurity, it is simply untrue.  One of my friends, a man, who happens to be very gifted in math, said that finance really isn’t about math at all.   It got me thinking, “Not...

What You Need To Know About Credit Card Fraud and Gas Stations

What You Need To Know About Credit Card Fraud and Gas Stations

Feb 27, 2014

By Mo Breden Last week I wrote about my experiences with a credit card that I swiped at a local gas station– and about two weeks later–huge charges appeared on my card from gas stations around the state.  All charges were reported to my credit card company and they are investigating the fraudulent charges. Since the only place that I swipe the card in question is at my local gas station I decided to go by and talk to the manager. The first thing I asked him was how often they checked the pumps for skimmers. What’s a skimmer you say? Well, a skimmer is the first thing you need to know. Skimmers are any number of devices made to be affixed to an ATM or a gas pump and secretly record credit and debit card information when customers slip their cards into or through the machines to pull out money or to pay for gas. The criminals later retrieve the devices that store your information and use or sell it to other criminals who use it, and your credit card is charged. The manager took me out to the pumps to point out some things I need to be aware of when I swipe my card at a gas station. If you are like me, you pull up, swipe the card, get the, gas, and get on your way. You can’t do that anymore. You have to take a few seconds to look at the area where you swipe your card. I took a photo of the pump at my station to make the explanation easier. The first arrow is pointing to the tape that is placed across the door edge on the pump. If this tape is tampered with or is not in place, do not use that pump and bring it to the attention of the staff on duty. The second arrow points to the keypad area just make sure that nothing has been placed on or over the keypad. Also, check the device that actually scans your card for any coverings or over fittings. Apparently, according to the manager, they check the pumps, at least once a day for skimmers....

Free Finance Classes–Online (from Stanford)

Free Finance Classes–Online (from Stanford)

Nov 12, 2013

When it comes to money talk, I often feel out of my league.  Sure, I understand getting out of debt, the basics of savings, and the concepts behind retirement planning.  Beyond that, I’m lost. Suze (we’re on a first name basis in my mind) has taught me to empower myself rather than shrink away from money.  In order to do that, I need to get educated.  Many friends have recommended taking finance classes at the community college.  I’d love to (although I think I’d have to start in remedial math)–just as soon as I can fit it in between mothering, wife-ing, work, laundry, and the rest of my to-do list. Unless…I take classes online.  Thanks to this article from NY Times writer, Tara Siegel Bernard, a whole world of financial wonder has opened to me.  I had to help spread the word.  Not only is Stanford University–THE Stanford University– offering free online courses, but there are also wonderful YouTube videos on the subject. The finance course offered by Stanford professor, Joshua Rauh, had already begun by the time I discovered the article.  That’s OK, because the course description indicated it would have been too advanced for me at this time.  That’s OK.  It is something to work towards.  Check out all the classes they offer and see if there is something that might interest you, broaden your horizons, or provide a credential. Now, more than ever, you have the ability to educate yourself on any topic you choose.  The education is quality, reputable, and on your own time line.  No one is looking over your shoulder.  No one is listening in.  If you have to use a dictionary to look up terms, or a giant calculator, go right ahead! Grab the reins and invest in yourself.  Stanford Online information can be found here.  You can find YouTube videos on finance and investments here.  (The Fundamentals of the Stock Market is a good one–and not difficult).  Stanford Business has many videos on a variety of fundamentals that can help you in your business and personal life. Share this:RedditPinterestFacebookLinkedInTumblrTwitterGoogleEmailLike this:Like...

Snyder’s Top Four Tips for Getting Out of Debt

Snyder’s Top Four Tips for Getting Out of Debt

Sep 12, 2013

When I came across this post, I thought it was really well done! I’m not going to re-invent the wheel, so I’m linking it. Getting out of debt can be the first step towards living the life you want. Many people feel that “money” is holding them back from seeking out fulfilling jobs, a healthier lifestyle, or spending time with loved ones. Money is not holding people back–people’s decisions about money are holding them back. Changing your financial situation is not always fast, and often involves some kind of sacrifice, but I promise—it is worth it. Change your mind about it right now.  Be determined to make the changes you need to make.  Own them. Every time you feel like you are trudging along, think about your choices and picture your new life.  It is a lot harder to “push debt to the back of your mind” when you see the direct connection between your debt and the life you want to live. Financial freedom feels so much better than that new pair of shoes, that new TV, or that pizza you are about to pay 15% interest on. Plus, taking control gives you action and purpose. When you are actively “doing” you experience all the good feelings of “taking care of business,” of having a plan.  Doing feels a lot better than being put-upon and harassed. Olivia Snyder outlines 4 helpful ways to reduce spending in order to pay off debt. Let me say that again, you reduce spending to GET OUT OF DEBT! Do not fall in to the trap of reducing spending in one area to have more money to spend on other things!! Get rid of your debt then build a savings, first. 1. Cut Grocery Spending There are lots of helpful tips in this section. You should find a least one new thing you can do right away. Also, she gives you a blank template for making a weekly meal plan and grocery sheet. 2. Rethink Your Car Situation Snyder uses a lot of Dave Ramsey’s techniques, which I also highly recommend. If you are serious about taking control of your debt, get his books–you can even find them...

Student Loan Sharks

Student Loan Sharks

Jun 13, 2013

I’m no financial adviser, but I can tell you student loans stink.  Having worked in the higher education setting for awhile, I can also tell you that the quality of education is not rising with the cost.  In fact, the cost and quality are moving in vastly different directions.  With more education being privatized and publicly traded, the sales side of higher learning can catch people off-guard.  I have known more than a few people who signed up for “degree programs” that they did not need, were not accredited, or were completely beyond their capabilities;  they all took out mega loans to pay for it. Education is wonderful.  If you choose to go back to school, enjoy it.  Swim in it.  Make sure you know why you are doing it and are ready for it.  There are some nefarious educational programs around that hire sales people to trick people into signing up for really, really expensive programs. SALES PEOPLE.  WITH QUOTAS!  Their job is to make you dream of the life you could have, the salary you could bring in, and the self-esteem that will come with it all.  These same people are OK with taking your money for a semester or two even if you fail out.  Hey!  They got their money.  Too bad for you. Some people may be thinking, “It’s just a student loan.  No big deal.”  This is not as true as it might have been in the past.  After all, the idea is that you will have a degree and a high paying job when you graduate–not that you will have a huge debt, no degree, and no job.  A recent article states that 43% of 25-year-olds have student debt. Student loan debt has risen to 1.1 TRILLION in the past ten years!!!  Let me break it to you folks, the salaries have not risen to match… Colleen Oakley’s article , says that “the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.”  YIKES BIKES!  The article then goes on to highlight three professionals, their amount of debt, their salary, their re-payment plan.  LearnVest Planning Services...

401-Who? 403-What now? Joining the money talk…

401-Who? 403-What now? Joining the money talk…

Jun 6, 2013

“I was part of a phenomenon that some money experts have dubbed “the female financial paradox.” Translation: Like millions of other women, I was perfectly happy to pinch pennies and hunt down sales, yet I couldn’t muster the slightest interest in big-picture financial planning.”– Geraldine Sealey Yes, gurl!  I feel the same way.  Thank you Real Simple. Good ol’ Martha… I just found an article by Geraldine Sealey.  Read it.  It is awesome because it identifies all the reasons I have been “calling-in-sick” to the money conversation for so long.  (Seriously, talking about financial planning literally gives me gastrointestinal distress.)  Why?  I’m hip. I’m happening.  I’m able to read.  Why is long-range money management  giving me gas?  Sealey explains, “Experts have identified four key factors underlying the paradox: Women tend to be insecure about the subject of money; we focus on scrimping instead of investing; we rely too heavily on others for financial know-how; and we’re not always adept at translating abstract figures into concrete goals.” Oh!  Yes. I remember now.  I feel like people can see the drool coming out of my mouth when they talk to me about retirement so I generally avoid it.  The longer I avoid learning about it, the more I drool.  It’s a vicious circle.  Math, in general, makes me cringe.  In the article, Amy, a 42-year-old senior manager based in New York City says, “Money information just bounces off my brain. It’s like I have a force field that won’t let it in.”  Yes, again!  Numbers enter the conversation and it is exactly like someone changed the channel to Univision. The bottom line for us, then, is to learn Spanish.  You know what I’m saying?!  We HAVE to educate ourselves.  If it is the lingo that is keeping us down, we need to learn the vocabulary.  (Get out those flashcards.)  If it is the math that is intimidating us—or me—get a “dummies” book and get to work.  It is not OK to be left out of the conversation because of a lack of knowledge.  You can get the knowledge.  It may not be as fun as, say, plucking out chin hairs one by one, but it is just as important!!...

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