How organized are you? I’d say I’m pretty organized, but there is one drawer in my house that is a big, hot mess. It is a disaster, and my husband loves to complain about it. And my response is: I have one drawer that is my “catch all” and to just ignore it. So where do you fall on the organization spectrum?
Usually the thing we don’t feel like dealing with is also the thing we are the most unorganized with. Sound about right? How many investment account statements do you have littered throughout your house? Unopened statements, 20 year old statements, statements for accounts you no longer have…
Money can be tricky when it comes to getting it organized and staying on top of it, but it doesn’t have to be this way, and it definitely doesn’t have to give you a constant headache! Let me give you an example of a couple, and let’s say they were both teachers, who taught at multiple schools throughout their careers. And by multiple, I mean more than 10 schools! And at each school, they opened a 403(b) plan, which is similar to a 401(k) but for non-profits like schools, hospitals, police departments, etc. Sometimes when they changed schools, they transferred their 403(b) plan into the new school’s plan, while other times, they left it at the old plan. And fast forward to today, and now they might have 15 different 403(b)s.
15 different 403(b)s can be quite daunting to someone who doesn’t know what to do with one, let alone 15. So they ignored them and ignored them, and shuffled the paperwork and statements from one drawer in their house to another. Now you might think, what’s the problem? Well as this couple gets older, they will have to deal with Required Minimum Distributions. Once they hit 70 ½ they will have to start withdrawing money from each plan. You see when you turn 70 ½ the IRS requires you to withdraw money each year from your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement account, and it is called your Required Minimum Distribution. The first year, the amount is 3.65% of your account value on January 1st of that year and it slowly increases each year. They go all the way out until you are 115 years old, and by then they require you to take out 50%!
Now if they never consolidated all of their accounts, they would have to go into each 403(b) separately and withdrawal this Required Minimum Distribution or RMD. If they were 15 401(k)s, it would be the same thing, 15 different RMDs. If they were 15 different IRAs, you would be able to take one RMD from one IRA, but it would have to total the amount of all the IRAs. Make sense? I know a little confusing, and just another thing you have to think about when retirement comes knocking at your door.
Anyway, this couple was having trouble staying on top of all these accounts, and you can barely say they were staying on top of them since they had no idea how they were invested, where they were located, and how much money was in them. Can you imagine how much better their accounts may have done if they were more active with them and were managed better and aligned better with their risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals? About 90% of the accounts were invested in high growth stocks, which can be very volatile and were no longer aligned with their current risks and objectives. What would happen if there was a huge market correction? They may end up needing to go back to work or having to downsize to a tiny house on their children’s yard.
For a few reasons, it made sense for them to consolidate and pay more attention to their accounts. Don’t you think for a couple like this, their stress level might go down after organizing their accounts and making it easier for their retirement withdrawals? For every minute we organize, we potentially save ourselves hours. And if you have ever tried to move over 403(b)s, you will know it can be a little difficult and time consuming. Part of the process is getting your old employer to sign off on the paperwork, which meant researching all the 403(b) plans they have and connect them to each school. But this upfront time, can potentially save them a lot more especially during retirement when you really want to enjoy yourself (and not potentially be stuck on the phone for hours a day trying to get someone to help you!).
Just doing this one thing can save you time, energy, a whole lot of frustrations, and help to keep you in control over your money.
So what will you organize this week? Pick one item, and consider holding yourself accountable by emailing me what you picked!
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
In educating you on available options, each of which has potential benefits and drawbacks, we’ll look at your specific situation to help determine which option may be in your best interest.
The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James
Stephanie, a business major and head of a creative agency, quit her job and relocated with her husband a few months before she had her baby. In a brand new place, recent motherhood and lack of support, it was difficult to pursue her career dreams. Fast forward a few years, she is now a licensed yoga teacher, teaching yoga at various elementary schools and senior centres.
There are numerous smart, hard working & motivated women whose career paths have changed for many reasons - family, relocation, economic factors like layoffs etc.
For women, pivoting and relaunching careers is ubiquitous. Yet how many of us understand, acknowledge, prepare and gain from it?
Every day of our lives, we go about as friends, volunteers, Facebook acquaintances, often unaware of the untapped talent next door, the professional skills or aspirations of the women we cross in our daily lives.
After a (some) disastrous branding mis-steps for her company, Lisa, a tax professional was surprised to discover that her neighbor Gwen was a graphic designer. Soon, Gwen was working on branding, Infographics and social media in close coordination with Lisa for her business.
Can you imagine a world where you could easily view every woman’s professional skills or aspirations, recommend, barter, collaborate and thrive, all on a single platform?
In today’s digital landscape, change across careers is happening at breakneck speed. We can be uncomfortable and not make the time for it, but we cannot ignore change.
Moena, an avid writer and journalist by training, witnessed the steady decline of the paper publishing world and the numerous jobs that ceased to exist as a result. In the past 5 years, she has undertaken 3 intensive courses on blogging, digital marketing and SEO and now has a flourishing copywriting business.
Change is leaving no industry untouched. While we grow businesses, build our careers or speculate on a new career path, are we contemplating our direction with an eye on the future?
Women are wired to be more social. Among internet users, a greater percentage of women use Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. They use social media less than men for business reasons and rather use social networking sites to make connections and stay in touch.
Is it any wonder that there’s only one social network that boasts more men (24%) than women (19%)- the professional-networking site LinkedIn. Maybe because their focus is purely business and does not take into account the social aptitude of most women, which even transcends into their professional lives.
Look carefully and witness a healthy wave of collaboration today - women watching out for each other's backs, sharing resources and referrals, online virtual coffee dates, mentoring and totally echoing the fact that a rising tide lifts all.
So we thought? Why not blend the professional, social and collaborative aspects of a woman’s personality and give #WomeninCareers a place to brag about their current skills or business, network, hire, review and collaborate?
Imagine a bold(strong) color. Now picture an ancient symbolism of women coming together under a mighty Oak for a community experience -sharing tips and helping each other. That’s the thought behind the symbiosis Maroon Oak.
Maroon symbolizes courage, control and maturity through life experiences. And the mighty Oak powerfully stands tough through it all. Isn’t that the perfect representation of a woman?
Two years ago, while working together on an IoT start-up, Business & finance major Pooja Krishna and Design Professional Aditi Tandon discovered the power of such synergy.
At a friend’s brunch, the conversation triggered from how difficult it is to find a local entertainer for a school event and meandered to discussions about the career journeys of several women sitting around the table.
It was an aha moment - listening to women recount the career decisions they made at various cross-roads in life. For the first time, by putting every woman’s skills first, each of them was looking differently at the way their friends were identified (as mom, wife, daughter etc).
Two mom professionals raising daughters, who themselves made career choices keeping motherhood at the forefront, Pooja and Aditi had been friends for more than a decade and personally understood the career trajectories and challenges of #WomeninCareers; The ambitions put on hold and the mom guilt that persists despite giving it your all. Of the everyday management skills a work-life juggle demands, the overwhelm of managing it all to the fear of leaving it all behind.
It was their belief that a strong professional presence is as much about skills as it’s about work experience. The journey to grow your career shouldn’t be a lonely ride and each of us can use the right help and relevant answers to our career questions. Answers which can come from experts or peers.
Maroon Oak for you
We want to channel the career conversations on social networks into one simple place where women help each other professionally by sharing, contributing, inspiring and even hiring.
Maroon Oak is the only Online Career Community that offers a Free solution for just that - a collaborative, Networking Platform for all the professional needs of #WomeninCareers
On Maroon Oak, your skill /aspirations will define you first. The ability to customize your profile, enables you to list your current business endeavor or skill, your website and social media details and a place to post or view opportunities and special promotions- all on one platform.
Share information on your subject matter expertise through our Video Blog or get inspiration from our blog, with articles intended to provide you with solid takeaways to act upon or get inspired from.
The objective is to help YOU capitalize on your network - whether it's to connect to find a job, offer a job, look up locally available skills, check out or team up with competition, broadcast your talent or side hobby to take it to the next level - the possibilities are endless.
The best part - a Membership and all benefits are completely free!
We provide connectivity not only to grow professionally, but also as an important career survival skill.
The question we ask of our Members every day - where are you in terms of opportunity, skills, collaboration and visibility? This helps us enable career aspects ranging from building professional credentials and your brand presence, updating digital skills, using social media or simply finding the right people to connect with as well as a platform to peer mentor and collaborate.
Specifically, we work with:
Skilled solo women entrepreneurs, looking to promote their businesses and find resources for collaborations, but no single platform where they can showcase themselves or locate talent based on skill, availability and location.
Talented women choosing to work part-time and creating connects with the number of companies and entrepreneurs willing to offer part-time work but unable to find the right candidates.
On Maroon Oak, Shannon, an aromatherapist collaborated with Ruth, a flower vendor in the neighboring town, to develop new fragrances for her product line. Karen, Anita and Catherine collaborated for guests posts.
Kim, owner of a pharma start-up, needed a local project manager at a reasonable salary. Tamara, a recent empty-nester looking for a job, was the perfect match.
Simultaneously, we strongly emphasize that women need to stay updated on skills and connections even while on a hiatus.
Why Collaboration Counts!
Since, women often search for local talent online, a positive brand presence and recommendations by peers go a long way. For the multitude of providers getting lost in the gig world, collaboration with peers will make them stand out more. Pooling resources and connects will offer better chances at business success as more and more large employers will be hiring on contracts rather than on full-time basis.
Here’s a simple exercise to drive home our point. Look around you today and identify 5 women - friends, neighbors etc. Do you know what they do or want to do? Can you help them professionally - connect with customers, mentors, coaches or just have an inspiring career talk? Who knows what changes are sparked by simple conversations.
Help Us Connect You
Join us on MaroonOak.com. It’s Free and easy to sign up. Follow us on Social media for even more inspiration. We would love to hear from you and your career journey.
Help us get the word out to encourage every career woman to be a part of the community. Share and strengthen the network together.
Because alone, we are strong. Together, we are exponentially powerful!
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of the author, Aditi Tando or Maroon Oak. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.
The 3 money lessons I learned from childbirth:
So while my husband kept telling me on our way to the hospital, “they will probably tell you to go home,” I kept laughing to myself and thinking I’m having this baby today.
There will always be curveballs thrown your way, and you need to be ready to make adjustments to your plan. Maybe you thought you’d work a little longer, but your health won’t let you. Maybe you thought you wouldn’t be getting a divorced, but your husband had different plans. It’s all about your attitude and approach to these life challenges that can help set you up for the next chapter or put you in a downward spiral. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying it’s doable.
If you don’t know a lot about money, educate yourself. If you don’t know about budgeting, get a spreadsheet started. Learn as much as you can about your money habits and how you can adjust them to better suit your goals. The more you know how your money is working for you, the less stress you are likely to have. It can help you to gain confidence that you are on your way, control over your money issues, and clarity over why you doing all this hard work to get ahead in your life.
My new saying for this year is to love your life and love your money. You can have both and it just starts with taking action. Check out my new book’s website where you can gain so much knowledge and insights into your money.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James.
Alright you, I have a question for you? Why do we, as women, always stress ourselves out? I was thinking about this very thing this morning while walking my dog. I was rattling through my to do list for the day, getting all worked up about how on earth I will get it all done. And then it hit me, I’m missing this beautiful morning outside with my little nugget of a dog thinking about things I had no control over at the moment. Stressing about my long list of tasks for the day wasn’t going to complete any of the tasks, it wasn’t going to erase any of them, and it wasn’t going to help my mindset going into the day. So why was I wasting time, energy, and a gorgeous morning overthinking my busy day ahead of me? I could of ruined a walk with my dog if I didn’t get my head on right and start enjoying the moment.
And then, later that day I was talking with my editor, who exclaimed how she is stressing herself out over deadlines. She has the same routine, knows they will all get done, and yet still gets herself into a tizzy. Hilary also made the comment how men don’t do this, if they don’t get to something, then tomorrow will work just fine. This must be why husband always leaves his clothes in the dryer, he’ll get to them tomorrow, whereas, I stress out to no end about getting my clothes washed, dried, and put away ASAP!
I strongly feel as women, we feel we aren’t working hard enough if we aren’t busy and stressed. We have to be busy, oh so busy, and think to ourselves: “you have no idea how busy I am, so much busier than you.” I have been known to get all worked up about my long list of tasks, when in the end, I know I will get it all done. Now I have been working on this, (it might have taken me over a year), but changing my mindset about it has really helped. Before I’d keep saying to myself, “this will never, ever end!” Whereas now, I tell myself to breath and be happy you have a nice house to keep clean and organize, that you have wonderful people who need my help, and it goes from being a stressful, never ending task, to a pleasant experience.
And I also don’t think we need to be busy to be successful, and we don’t need to be stressed to feel like we’ve worked hard. I know a lot of women who lay awake at night going through to do list among to do list. So now they are adding no sleep to the stress of their list, not a good combination for your health. Think about it, your body can only handle so much stress before it starts to take its toll on your health. If men can master never being stressed about getting it done, why can’t we? Not to get you stressed about stress, but here is a list of the side effects from stress:
A quick google search will tell you stress can cause headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach issues, and sleep problems. I’ve heard people complain about every one of those when dealing with their money stress. Well maybe not the sex drive, but I’m sure it’s there. As I say in my book, money fights don’t usually end with great make up sex! There will be times in life where you will be stressed out and should be stressed out such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, and health, so don’t let the little things like to do lists stress you out.
Please stop being so hard on yourself and always feeling the need to be busy. You do NOT have to be busy to be productive, and you don’t have to overload your day in order to feel like you’ve contributed. It’s an impossible task you put yourself in and end up on autopilot the entire day. Have you ever noticed some people will ask you a question and immediately check out? They are on autopilot and are just cruising through their day without taking time to enjoy it or enjoy life. I recently read this amazing quote that I will end with. It went something along the lines of:
If you are told you have 6 months to live and fully live in those moments, then you will have lived a more fulfilling 6 months than someone who is just cruising through life on autopilot and lives another 30 years.
Opinions expressed are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James.
And now we will go through the last two steps to taking control over your money and telling it whose boss. These two steps are last, but they are probably the most important ones so listen up! These steps are important to do by yourself, with your partner, and with your advisor because you want to make sure everyone knows everything and is on the same page.
Month 3: Your Financial Plan
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Congratulations, you are on the money detox train going full speed ahead! You now know more about your cash flow, and have hopefully taken steps toward saving more money and spending less on “stupid stuff” as my husband loves to call it. It’s so important to know where your money is going to you can get back in control of it.
One family was spending over $3,000 a month on food. They were spending a mortgage on food, and it was no wonder they had to declare bankruptcy a few years ago and are back in debt. Another couple was spending $1,000 on wine each month. Now I love my wine, and cannot wait until I can drink some good vino after having my baby, but if your wine budget is 10% of your income, something is wrong. But neither families would even know they were overspending so much if I didn’t have them go through their expenses.
So Month 1 is taking care of your cash flow, and now you will go through it every month when you sit down to review your money. This week we will go through your 4 steps in Month 2 that focuses on your finances and investments. And without further ado:
Month 2: Finances and Investments
And next week we will finish the last 2 steps to tackling your money and telling it whose boss!
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
I get asked most of the time how can I start to be more active with my money. Sometimes it is a wife asking how she can get more involved since her husband takes care of everything, and she has no idea where all their money is. This can be very scary, what if something happens to your husband? OR What happens if he isn’t managing the money right? You don’t want to be scratching your head trying to figure out why you thought you’d be retiring, but you just had to borrow money from your parents or declaring bankruptcy. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I’ve seen it happen and if you don’t believe me, just do a little search.
Now the other times, the women who ask me, are on cruise control. They get paid, pay their bills, and whatever money is left, they shop with, spend on themselves, or maybe save a little. Think of it like you wake up, go to work, come home, and go to sleep. And repeat for 30 years until you can hopefully retire. You are on cruise control with your money and with your life. It’s time to get off this hamster wheel and live your life, not just go through the motions. And what will help, is taking charge of your money so you can use it to help live the life you want and deserve. Remember it’s not about making more money or saving more money, it’s about the lives you can change with that money. So I’ve come up with a money detox to get you started.
You’ve heard of a health/juice/diet detox, so why not a Money Detox? Let’s apply the same concept to make small changes with your money, which can lead to drastic changes with your life goals. Instead of removing one thing from your diet, we will add one thing a week that deals with your money.
Here are my Top 12 Money Detox steps to telling your money whose boss:
Month 1 focuses on your cash flow.
Next week, we will go through Month 2, which deals with your finances and investments.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
How to become a Financially Successful Woman is easier than you think. I will break down the top common traits of women who are in control of their money so you can also take charge of your money!
So how many of these traits do you see in yourself? And how many would you like to add to your life?
To recap, let’s see how it all works together:
Financially In Control+
Financially Successful Woman
If you want to be a financially successful woman, schedule a FREE 1o minute call with me and let’s get you living the life you really want to live. Find out how money can be your tool not some stressful burden weighing on you day and night.
I had a one on one client in my office the other day, and she was ecstatic with how much money she has already made with Airbnb. Within the first month, she made over $400! The main reason she was so enthused with the amount was she booked a trip without realizing how she was going to pay for it. She always defaulted to using her credit card and figuring out how to pay the balance off later. You might be guilty of this as well, let’s just put the purchase on my AmEx and pay it off later…right? Luckily, she’s been working with me for the past 6 months and now knows that this concept is not the solution. She’s gotten away from this bad credit card habit, and knowing the many evils associated with the credit cards, she has now found a way to help pay for her trip.
And lucky for you, both her trip and strategy for paying for the trip, got me thinking about the number one goal I’ve seen among retirees: TRAVEL! 50% of the people I meet with, who are with coming up to retirement, say they want to travel in retirement and the other 50% say they NEED to travel in retirement. It seems to be on most pre-retirees minds, and they usually have their first trip already planned out. So I did a little research for you, and found some budget friendly travel tips to share. Some might not work for you, but if you are desperate enough to travel, then they are definitely worth thinking about. So keep an open mind!
My Top 5 Cost Effective Travel Tips:
There seems to be a rising trend of spending more and more on travel for retirees. Overseas Adventure Travel has found trips for people over the age of 50 has grown by 67% in a decade. Most people I speak with explain they didn’t have the time to travel or to really enjoy vacations while they were working. They feel retirement is their time to do the things they’ve been putting off for the past few decades. And while I can understand this, it is also important to remember your retirement plan and not to spend it all on a few trips. You are going to be retired for a long time, and need to make sure you stay within the realm of reality with your travel spending. Before you start booking all your trips, think about the following questions:
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Raymond James is not affiliated with the independent organizations referenced in this article. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed web sites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any web site or the collection or use of information regarding any web site’s users and/or members.
It is nothing new that student loans are becoming an increasing expense for college graduates, with the majority of students leaving school with debt equivalent to a small mortgage. It is no wonder they have trouble moving out of their parent’s house, trying to buy a car or house, or becoming financially independent. I recently met with my cousin to go through her loans and put a plan in place to tackle them as quick and cost effectively as possible. The whole process can be very overwhelming, and since the trend seems to be only getting worse, I thought it would be beneficial to talk about what to do before college. So let’s start before you even get to your new school.
How exciting, you are starting the college search process. You probably never thought there were so many choices out there, small and big, cheap (ok maybe I should say cheaper) and expensive, industry focused or liberal arts. The list of options goes on and on. Do you want to stay close to home or go as far away as possible? Do you want a school focused on internships? How about a campus so large, you will somehow get lost even after your fourth year? You will hear from everyone to put a list of priorities together to help narrow down the search, but what they won’t tell you is to look at the school’s value. What I mean by this is to see how much you are willing to pay for the extra “bonuses” of the school such as nicer dorms, new fitness center, great business department, or whatever it is. You are investing in this college or university, so think of it like researching a company you might buy. Are those added bonuses worth the hefty price-tag?
I remember hearing one person say, “I don’t know why we put a $200,000 decision in the hands of an eighteen year old. No offense, but $200,000 is a lot of money and the magnitude of that price-tag might not sink in when you are looking at schools. This is obviously the case since student loans have grown between $53 billion to $120 billion between 2001 and 2012. Colleges are expensive, and the price is only going up, yet wages haven’t gone up. More and more kids are borrowing money to go to these very nice but pricey colleges. I mean some of them look like country clubs! The problem is they aren’t thinking about what $20,000 of student loans will look like when they graduate. A lot have upwards of $50,000 of student loan debt. And then you add a jobs market that is NOT in favor of graduates, with the average income being $50,556 in 2016. However, that is if you can get a job!
Let’s do the math:
If you are lucky enough to get a job and one that pays $50,000, your net income after paying taxes is about: $42,000.
The average student loan payment is $280 a month or $3,360 per year. This is based on a debt total of $25,000 with an interest rate of 6.8% being paid off in 10 years.
Now your income is $38,640. But what if your debt total is double that? What if you borrowed $10,000 each year of school to go to your top choice for a total of $40,000?
Well your total annual payments each year would be $5,520 assuming a 10 year loan at 6.8% interest. And you would waste $15,239 from your interest payments. Is that school worth it to you to spend an extra $5,500 each year for ten years? Ten years is a long time to be stuck paying debt. Trust me, you will want to move out of your parent’s house at some point (I’m sure they want you gone too!), you will want to get married, buy a house, travel, and the list goes on and on. And having these payments can get in the way of those dreams.
Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, but do the math before you commit. Just like any big purchase, put a price limit on your search. Here are a few items you need to consider before borrowing for college:
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.