How to Plan in the Face of an Uncertain Future

Uncertain Future

You’re a woman whose life has just been turned upside down. It might have been divorce. Or the death of your spouse. Or another major change in your life.

You’re reeling and dealing with a potent mix of emotions that can change from one moment to the next. As a result, you’re doing your best to just take that next breath and deal with life moment-by-moment.

It’s overwhelming for you to think about what you might find yourself doing the day after tomorrow. Thinking in years just isn’t something you’re capable of right now. (more…)

Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves

There is an old Cherokee Indian legend often referred to as “Two Wolves.”

In the story, a grandmother is teaching her young granddaughter about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” she said to the girl.“

It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – she is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” She continued, “The other is good – she is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The granddaughter thought about it for a minute and then asked her grandmother, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In my work with women who are dealing with divorce, widowhood and other major life transitions, I see this “dances with wolves” play out time and time again. (more…)

The Sit On Your Hands Money Strategy

Money Strategy

I have a memory from elementary school where my teacher would tell me to sit on my hands and be quiet when I disturbed the class. I was a pretty restless kid as I recall.

The “be quiet” part of this sentence seems pretty obvious, but today I’d like to focus on “sit on your hands” and its benefits when it comes to your money.

Your money is a lot like a bar of soap: the more you handle it the smaller it becomes. So sitting on your hands, figuratively speaking, is an important aspect of preserving and growing your money over time.

Yet this advice most often goes against every instinct in the most primitive part of our brains.

Whether it’s the anxiety associated with living paycheck to paycheck, or the stress of watching the investment markets seemingly toss your hard-earned savings and investment to and fro, money issues can trigger fear responses in our brains. This can lead us to a hardwired “fight or flight” reaction. (more…)

The Best Investment A Woman Can Make

The Best Investment a Woman Can Make (1)

When I write about financial advice, I often include statements like “of course, it will depend on your personal situation” or “you should first start with your own financial plan.”

These qualifications address the personal nature of financial advice and the fact that great advice for one person can be inappropriate for someone else.

As I’ve shared before, personal finance is more personal than finance.

But there is one investment I can, without reservation, recommend to you regardless of your personal or financial situation.

The BEST investment you can make is an investment in yourself.

Many of you will immediately assume that I’m suggesting getting or finishing your college degree. Or going to grad school for an MBA or other advanced study. But that’s not what I’m suggesting at all.

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The Importance of Specific Goals

The Importance of Specific Goals

You may be familiar with the acronym “SMART” as it relates to goals and goal setting.

SMART refers to specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. Each of these is an ingredient in setting – and pursuing – any goal that is important to you.

But I’d like to focus on the “S” in SMART, and talk about the the importance of being specific with your goals.

A financial plan of any value involves the exploration and setting of goals, among other things.

Your financial plan might include goals like retirement, education, travel, charitable giving, volunteering, a vacation home – or any number of other possibilities.

But most goal planning and setting starts and ends with lumping all these grand ideas into one, labeling it “retirement,” and calling it a day.

Today, I’d like to ask you to go further. (more…)