Five tips for talking to aging parents about money

Hi sister,

Today's topic can be an emotional one. It's hard to think that one day the tables may turn, and we may be taking care of the parents who lovingly raised us. You may want to avoid talking about money with your aging parents because you don't want to face this harsh reality or you may be concerned with overstepping your bounds within the family.

However, it will be a lot easier to have this conversation now, when everyone is mentally present and capable of making mindful decisions about their finances. Rather than waiting until a medical or other crisis happens, and stress overshadows everyone's ability to make rational choices.

According to eldercare expert, Barbara McVicker, fifty percent of nursing home expenses are being paid-out-of-pocket by families, with adult children contributing on average $10,000 a year to their parent’s care. The average lifetime cost of care for an Alzheimer’s patient is $174,000, and is estimated to grow by more than 400 percent by 2050. 

Wealth Wednesday on Money & Mimosas

I don’t like to be a debbie downer on Money & Mimosas, and I hope that you never have to face this difficult situation. But it’s important to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. 

Here are five tips for talking to aging parents about money:

  1. Make it a date! You know I'm all about making money talks fun, so schedule a date  with your parents where you will all have thirty minutes to chat. If this is your first time talking about money with your aging parents, keep the conversation short. Many parents are concerned about being a burden on their children, and may be reluctant to discuss their finances with their children. Therefore, it’s important to give them a heads up about the conversation (no one likes to be blindsided!) and let them know that you are only asking to make sure you are financially prepared. Otherwise, they may feel that their financial decisions are being judged, which will cause them to become defensive. 
  2. Find a fun location. Maybe it's a park where you all have nostalgic memories or at the family's cabin. Keep it in a neutral location, and not at either of your homes, so everyone feels comfortable and relaxed.
  3. Ask them to bring the contact information of their financial team. For this first chat, the goal is to get their main information in one place. Ask for their financial advisor contact information, the location of their will/trust, and who they have decided will be their power of attorney (which may be you or one of your siblings). Save this information in an email to yourself, Dropbox or Google Drive so you can easily access it later.
  4. During the meeting, ask for a general sense of their monthly expenses so you have an idea of the costs that need to be covered. If the conversation is going smoothly, you may want to also go over their living preferences in case of of a medical situation. Would they like to have an in-home nurse or move to an assisted living community? Would you be willing to let them live in your home? Later, you'll want to go through the costs of their preference so you can be prepared. 
  5. Have a mimosa! Wrap up the meeting by letting them know you are  grateful for their presence in your life, everything they've done for you, and look forward to many more years together. Then, pour a mimosa and cheers to the good life.

Now, I'd love to hear from you! What are other financial topics you've covered with your parents?

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Talking money with your man

Hi gorgeous!

Happy Valentine’s Day. Whether you’ve got a boo thang, or you’re rocking the single ladies life, I hope you’re doing something special for yourself today. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a juicy mid-day break to go on a walk around the neighborhood or purchasing fine jewelry with your own money.

OWN your money voice on Money & Mimosas

If you are in committed relationship, this week's challenge to you is to proactively talk about money with your sweetheart.

Because, here's the thing ladies. Speaking up about money with your man is one of the first steps in becoming the true boss in your life.

If you truly want to own your destiny, you are going to need to learn how to articulate your values when it comes to money and how you are going to make your goals happen. 

  1. When was the last time you brought up investments and chatted with your man about your financial goals?
  2. Do you know what his and your investment portfolio contains?
  3. Are you aware of his long-term financial strategy? What is your strategy?

We all have different values, expectations and goals when it comes to money. And just like sex, you're going to have to communicate your values to your partner in order to be satisfied. Do I have your attention now?

Often times our values around money are based on our individual interests. I'll use myself as an example. While on vacation, I love to splurge on luxury hotel accommodations. Few things give me more pleasure than to wake up in a beautifully designed, spacious bedroom with heated bathroom floors, a sprawling kitchen with an island and a fabulous view from the 57th floor.

On the other hand, my beloved would much rather save that money and spend it on activities. Why? He's got an insatiable love for adventure and needs to be moving...constantly!

So, what do we do? Sometimes we compromise on the hotel to fit his budget and my needs. Or, I can choose to pick up the additional cost if I don't want to budge on what I want.

Boss ladies always get what they want. Period.

Me and Nick on vacation in La Paz, Mexico. 

Me and Nick on vacation in La Paz, Mexico. 

Boat ride in La Paz, Mexico.

Boat ride in La Paz, Mexico.

Whether it's traveling, household items, saving for a big purchase, wedding planning, eating out, how to decorate the home...learning about how each other views and values money is key to having open, honest conversations about money with your sweetheart. And just like sex, if you better understand each other's needs then you will both feel satisfied. 

So for this Valentine’s Day, own your BOSS status and chat money on your date with your boo.  

Not sure how to begin the money conversation?

Here are three steps to talk about money like a BOSS with your man.

Fun times in La Paz, Mexico. The locals are so awesome and the food is AMAZING!

Fun times in La Paz, Mexico. The locals are so awesome and the food is AMAZING!

 

  1. Share your money story. What did you both experience about money. Here are some prompts for you - Did you hear your parents talk about money and what were those conversations like? When did you first start working? Were you given an allowance? How did your parents spend money?

  2. Share your dreams and personal goals. Does one of you want to own a cottage in Tahoe and the other want a condo in the Hamptons? Who wants a private jet? Who wants to do more hiking trips?  Do you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig? Let the conversation roll naturally. You may be surprised what you learn about each other!

  3. Ask about investments. Get caught up on each other's investment accounts and long-term financial visions. Set a time for the both of you to chat with your financial advisor and talk through the questions you will ask them during the meeting. If anything seems confusing, now is the time to ask more questions and gain clarity.

Now I’d love to hear from you! What are some ways that you and your sweetheart differ when it comes to money? Let me know in the comments below.

 

And for more money tips that I only share in email, click here to join our weekly Money & Mimosas newsletter. 

 

Find your money buddy

Hi babe!

Today we’re chatting about the importance of having a money buddy. Someone that will hold you lovingly accountable to your money dates and financial goals. Talking about money ranks up with there with religion and politics--- we just don’t do it. It’s taboo to bring it up and women would rather share sex tips than insights on how to earn additional 5% on their investment.

When we don’t talk about it, we are robbing ourselves of learning valuable information from each other that will support our financial independence. Men do it all the time. In fact, one of my guy friends was able to negotiate a moving bonus that was double the amount that the company was offering. How did he know to negotiate for a higher amount? Because a mutual friend shared that he was able to receive that amount because it was the going rate.

A couple of months ago, one of my girlfriends texted me saying she needed some money chat time. I love supporting my friends with financial information whenever I can, so she came over that evening to sip champagne on my condo's veranda.

She was upset about her student loans. Her initial loan amount was $27,000. She had paid off $12,000. So her balance should be $15,000. Or so she thought...

She had paid $12,000, but her outstanding balance hovered around $25,000. How could that be?! I asked her if she had been paying attention to how they allocate her payments. What percentage of her payment was going to interest versus the principal?

As it turns out, most of her payments had only been applied to interest.  At the rate she was going, she would ultimately pay $60,000 on a $27,000 loan. I told her that she had to call her loan company every single month to make sure that the majority of your payments are being applied to the principal.  Otherwise, they will continue to screw her over. As we finished our bottle of bubbles, she felt relieved and ready to take action. Now, whether this was due to my advice or because of some liquid courage...

In either case, when you have conversations about money, at the very least you will feel less alone. And more than likely, you will gain additional financial wisdom and are more motivated to reach your goals. It could be about student loans, investment tips, how to price your services or ask for that raise.

 That's why it is so key to find your money buddy. Someone you can trust and someone who you know will hold you lovingly accountable to your goals. Besides, isn’t way more fun to do things with a pal?!

Me and my friend, Maggie, after she bought her beautiful home in California. Maggie had recently launched her business and we were brainstorming collab ideas and sharing advice on how to price our services. So much fun.in.the.sun.

Me and my friend, Maggie, after she bought her beautiful home in California. Maggie had recently launched her business and we were brainstorming collab ideas and sharing advice on how to price our services. So much fun.in.the.sun.

Your challenge for this week is to find your money buddy and have a money date.

Your buddy can be a girlfriend, your sister, spouse, mom...anyone! Here are five items for you two to cover during your first date. Grab a mimosa and let’s do this!

  1. Share your money story. What did you learn about money growing up? What were your experiences with money as a child and young adult?

  2. What are your BIG, BOLD dreams?

  3. Share what keeps you up at night. What are you most worried about when it comes to money?

  4. Share your goals. What are the specific financial goals you want to accomplish in the next 3 months?

  5. Snap a photo and check in on social with the hashtag, #MoneyandMimosas, so I can say hi and cheer you on!

For more tips on how to build your wealth and become the boss of your life, click here to join our weekly Money & Mimosas newsletter

Seven practical tips on saving up for your first home

Hi beautiful!

Buying a home is a goal many of us share. Having a place to call your own where you can remodel to your liking, not have to worry about neighbor’s footsteps above you, and finally be able to paint the walls bubblegum pink...or maybe that was just my five-year old self.  

Owning a home is what many people would call the American Dream. However, it should not be done lightly. Becoming a homeowner is a substantial financial undertaking and requires significant planning. If this is a goal of yours, it’s best to start saving up for the down payment and related costs, as soon as possible.

Here are seven practical tips on saving up for your first home:

Money & Mimosas photo.jpg
  1. Determine your ideal location and research the average home costs in the area. Your area may even have a first-time homebuyer plan that can help reduce some of the costs. Plan on having to come up with 20% of the home cost in cash for the down payment. You likely won’t need that much for the down payment, but it’s a good idea to have the extra cash cushion because there are other additional costs that many people forget. Which leads us to the second step...

  2. Calculate the approximate closing costs, moving expenses, and three months worth of insurance payments and maintenance costs. Often these costs are forgotten and can be not so fun surprise when they pop up.

  3. Transfer your credit card balances to 0% and/or ask your credit card provider to lower your interest rate. This will help you save money on the interest payments on your current account balances. Money that can go towards your down payment savings account.

  4. Open up a separate savings account. Be sure that the account is a high-interest earning account so you can make money on your money. Cha-ching! Check out Radius Bank’s high yield savings account. It’s APY* is one of the highest on savings accounts!

  5. Create a plan. Determine how much you need to save and give yourself a deadline. Remember, a goal without a deadline is just a wish. Then you can determine how much you need to save each month in order to reach your goal.

  6. Calculate your monthly expenses and see what can you eliminate. Cutting out expenses and being mindful of your spending choices will pay off in the long run. Some items you may want to consider are reducing restaurant visits, eliminating subscriptions or memberships you don’t use, excessive alcohol consumption or shopping sprees.

  7. Pick up a side hustle. Having another income source outside of your full-time position gives you the flexibility to go after ambitious savings goals such as saving up for a home. Consider selling products on Amazon, monetizing the blog that you’ve been working on or teaching fitness classes. If you already have a small business, brainstorm ways that you can increase sales? The sky is the limit when you dream big and take massive action.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Are you currently saving up for a home or have you already purchased your home? What is one tip you can share that can help others realize their homeownership dream? Leave a comment below.

For more wealth building tips that I only share in email, click here to join our weekly Money & Mimosas newsletter.
 


This post was in partnership with Radius Bank.

*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 12/19/17. Minimum amount to open account is $10.00. Rate tiers are as follows: 0.00% APY applies to balances of $0.01—$9.99, 0.05% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $10.00—$2,499.99, and 1.30% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $2,500 or more. Rates may change after account is opened. Fees may reduce earnings

How to save for your dream wedding

Hi beautiful!

Congratulations on your upcoming celebrations. This is truly a magical time to spend with your girlfriends, family and, of course, the love of your life. I want you to be your happiest, prettiest and most confident self during this entire amazing experience. Even if at times you feel overwhelmed with all of the decisions that have to be made- from what flowers to choose, which flatware to use, OMG - the dress!...

All of these decisions add to the cost of the wedding. The average wedding, according to a survey by The Knot, is $35,000. If you’re looking to have it in a place like Manhattan, you’re looking at something closer to $80,000. And if Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding is your inspiration, then the price tag will be wayyyyy more.

What's better than getting engaged and having a mimosa?! Congratulations, Cait, on your upcoming wedding! Check out all of her fun adventures @caitlinhosn on Instagram. 

What's better than getting engaged and having a mimosa?! Congratulations, Cait, on your upcoming wedding! Check out all of her fun adventures @caitlinhosn on Instagram. 

Most financial gurus will tell you to create a strict budget for your wedding. Of course, you want to make sure that you don’t add unbearable financial stress to your marriage. After all, money is the #1 reason why couples may end up in divorce.

But, I know that this is your BIG day. The day you may have dreamed of your whole life or ever since you fell madly in love.

So I say, have your cake and eat it too. Because every woman deserves to feel like a princess on her special day.

Here are some quick tips on how to save for your wedding.

  1. Research wedding costs before you create your budget. Often times, couples will set an arbitrary budget for the wedding without doing any research to see if the budget is realistic. For instance, you may think that you can hire a makeup artist for $150. But, their average wedding rate may be $1,000 in your area. Once you hear the price, you will feel defeated. As this happens over and over, tension between the two of you will increase as you continue to spend “over your budget”. But, if you knew that most MUAs cost $1,000 in your area, you wouldn’t be shocked. In fact, it would be in your budget. Therefor, sit down with your beloved and write out what your dream wedding would include. Then, research and total the cost.

  2. Ask, how can we afford this? It’s likely that your dream wedding will cost a pretty penny. Before you start chopping your budget to something that’s more realistic, brainstorm ways that you two can make the dream a reality. Is there a way you can make more money at work? If you have a side hustle, is there a way you can ramp up your sales? This is why I’m a huge fan of having a business- whether it’s full-time or part-time- because you have more control over your earning power and can create space for your dream big day to come true.

  3. Set milestone goals. Maybe you want to save $50,000 or $100,000 for your wedding. That’s a lot to tackle all at once. Break up the total into monthly milestone goals.

  4. Open a separate savings account. Keeping a separate account will help reduce your temptation to dip into it for other purposes. Also, it’ll be motivating as you watch it grow. One of the highest earning savings account is Radius Bank’s High-Yield savings account. For balances over $2,500, there is a 1.3% APY. *

  5. Sales and Saving. Soooo, I know that a sale on a pair of shoes is tempting. Not the shoes for the wedding. Just a pair of shoes that you just have to have. If you read my post earlier this month, you know that as long as the sale fits within your indulgence allowance then it’s fine to buy the pair. But, the money you saved on the purchase should be transferred to your wedding savings account. For instance, if it’s a $100 pair of shoes that is on sale for $40, then the $60 you saved needs to go into your wedding savings account.

  6. Go on a spending detox. What?! You just said I could have my cake and eat it too. Why should I go on a detox? Here’s the thing, love. Being financially fit is just like being physically fit. If you get your workouts in and eat healthy 90% of the time, you can have your cupcake and mimosas. Same thing goes with your finances. Especially if you’re saving up for a (hopefully!) once in a lifetime moment. I want you to have your dream day and in order to do that, you have to be mindful of your spending choices. Go through your monthly expenditures, and ask yourself do I really need this? Is there anything you can cut out during this savings period? Are there retailer newsletters you can unsubscribe from so you aren’t tempted to buy more clothes? Maybe you and your beloved can eat in more. Besides saving some money, it’s a great way to bond!

  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for discount. Ask and ye shall receive. Or as my friend says, closed mouths don’t get fed. When you’re purchasing items for the wedding, ask if there are any current specials or discounts. Lots of retailers and businesses offer AAA membership discounts, discounts for students, or other specials that they may not advertise. The worst they can say is no! 

And now I'd love to hear from you! What does your dream wedding look like? Let me know in the comments below.

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This post was in partnership with Radius Bank.

 *Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 12/19/17. Minimum amount to open account is $10.00. Rate tiers are as follows: 0.00% APY applies to balances of $0.01—$9.99, 0.05% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $10.00—$2,499.99, and 1.30% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $2,500 or more. Rates may change after account is opened. Fees may reduce earnings

One little trick to help you reach your BIG savings goal this year

Hi gorgeous! How was your first week of 2018? Still fired up and committed to being the BOSS of your money? I hope so, because your dream life is soooo close.

In this week's Wealth Wednesday post, I'm going to share one little trick for making sure you don't lose momentum when it comes to sticking to your money goals.

Have you ever set a financial goal, only to lose interest a few months later? Sometimes it’s not even your because stuff does happen. Like, the car has to go into the shop and there goes $1,000. Or your kid had something unexpected come up in school and there goes the $500 you were going to put away this month.

But sometimes, it's not semi-emergencies that knock us off of our money course. Rather it's shiny objects. Like maybe Tieks just released a new, limited edition pair of rose gold flats that you just have to have. Ooops, there goes the $250 you were going to put towards saving up for a house down payment. Times four because who can just buy one pair of Tieks at time? Self-control is so overrated.

Is it just me, but every time Tieks drops a new pair of flats, I just gotta have it.

Is it just me, but every time Tieks drops a new pair of flats, I just gotta have it.

Emergencies happen to all of us and are usually unavoidable. You should definitely have an account to cover those types of situations. However, when it comes to shiny objects, you should also have an account dedicated to satisfying those urges. I call this your indulgence account.

Having an indulgence account is a little trick for helping you stay focused on your big savings goal without feeling like you are starving yourself in the meantime.

It's like being on a 21-day cleanse diet. It's much easier to stay the course when you allow yourself a healthy chocolate bite at the end of each night. Otherwise, you're likely to binge halfway through the cleanse and chow down on all the french fries in sight.

Let's say your big savings goal this year is for a down payment on a house. Depending on where you live, that could be anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 or more. Which means you need to save anywhere from $1,600 to $8,000+ per month. That is a lot to chew on and can feel overwhelming. Inevitably you'll hit setbacks and feel discouraged along the way. And may abandon your goal all together. But, setbacks don’t have to lead to throwing the home of your dreams to the wayside...

Pressing pause and showing gratitude for your little victories on your financial independence journey is the fastest way to experience abundance.

Pressing pause and showing gratitude for your little victories on your financial independence journey is the fastest way to experience abundance.

If you make it a practice to treat yo self along the way, you will keep the excitement alive and find it much easier to stay on track. The key is to be mindful and structured about when and how you treat yourself.  Setting smaller savings goals and giving yourself an indulgence allowance is the best way to reward yourself as you work up to your bigger goal.

Beauty treatments are my favorite small indulgence to save up for- anything from a monthly massage, to a body scrub, lash appointment, facial...you name it.

A beauty treatment could be anything from a full-on spa date to a mani-pedi and bath at home. Little indulgences make your journey to financial independence enjoyable, and help you to regain focus on your goals.

A beauty treatment could be anything from a full-on spa date to a mani-pedi and bath at home. Little indulgences make your journey to financial independence enjoyable, and help you to regain focus on your goals.

The first step in building an indulgence allowance is to open up a separate account. By separating your funds, you are creating clear boundaries for your allowance. I really love Radius Bank's hybrid checking account for indulgence allowances. It has a .85% APY*, which is by far one of the highest interest rates for checking accounts within the United States.

The next step is to determine your monthly indulgence allowance.  Your allowance can either be a fixed amount or a percentage. If you are using a percentage, 5% of your gross income (this is income before taxes or expenses) is a good rule of thumb.

If you are using a fixed amount, divide your total by four. This is the amount you need to contribute to your account on a weekly basis.

Whichever method you are using, be sure to transfer the amount each week to your allowance during your #MoneyandMimosas date. Otherwise, if you wait, you may be tempted to spend it throughout the month on other items.

Money & Mimosas date.jpg

Small indulgences are a great way to press pause and reflect on the progress you've made on your savings goal. Otherwise it can feel like your spinning wheels and can easily get discouraged. The hybrid account also comes with a debit card that could be used specifically for these purchases. This is super awesome because there are a lot of online savings accounts that do not offer a debit card.

And now I'd love to hear from you. What will you be indulging in each month? Let me know in the comments below.

For more money tips, click here join our Money & Mimosas newsletter to make sure you never miss a Wealth Wednesday post.

 


This post was in partnership with Radius Bank.


*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 01/04/2018. Minimum amount to open account is $10.00. Rate tiers are as follows: 0.00% APY applies to balances of $0.01-$2,499.99, and 0.85% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $2,500 or more. Rates may change after account is opened. Fees may reduce earnings.

Tips on how to build a business that supports your lifestyle

This post was in partnership with Wells Fargo. Click here to read the full post

Looking for a life that offers more than daily routines or a rare overseas vacation, these business owners want to have more control over their lives, and their businesses. Rather than spend all their time trying to drive the business forward, they are content to run their businesses a certain way in order to generate enough income to live life the way they want to live it. Their goal, therefore, is for their business income to support their personal lifestyle goals. This type of business venture is increasingly being referred to as a lifestyle business.

Take Sylvia Esmundo. After a career in financial technology, she decided to follow her passion and turn her lifestyle blog into a full-time business. Sylvia shared her learnings from being a lifestyle entrepreneur.

1) What inspired you to launch your lifestyle site, Sylvie in the Sky?

A: I started blogging a long time ago, back in 2006, as a living journal of everything that inspired me — music, fashion, books, art, travel — and chronicles of my 20 something life. I paused for almost two years between getting married and having our son, Theo. And once I became a mother, I felt reinvigorated to start a new chapter of storytelling. There are a lot of mom bloggers and lifestyle bloggers out there, but not many that I truly related to, and very few Asian — let alone Filipino — ones. I wanted to be able to share my stories and hopefully be a source of inspiration and guidance for others like me.

2) How much time do you devote weekly to running your blog?

A: Not as much time as I’d like! I’ve been focusing on Instagram first, since it involves one photo and a small caption — my version of microblogging. I would say on average 5-10 hours a week. Daily posting takes no more than one hour to write, post, and to make sure I’m liking and commenting on other friends’ content to show support. On weekends I’ll plan my content for the next 1-2 weeks so my Instagram feed looks balanced from an aesthetic point of view, and I’m scheduling my brand campaigns according to their due date. The planning takes another hour. And finally, I’m always exploring the city and shooting new content, and I spend about 3-8 hours a week creating content.

I spend another 5-10 hours corresponding with brands for upcoming collaborations, attending events, etc.

3) For those that don’t believe that blogging is a “real job”, can you tell us about the skills it takes to be a successful digital influencer?

A: I view blogging as running my own digital publication, and I’m the editor-in-chief, head of marketing, head of sales, head of PR, financial analyst, and stylist/model/graphic designer/photographer, all in one. I need to understand who my audience is and what they’re looking for every week/month/season. I write stories and create visual imagery that will inform, guide, and inspire. I need to create and consistently evolve my site experience to be easy to navigate on any digital platform, especially mobile. I analyze my site performance to understand what content is performing best and worst to refine and maximize these areas of interest and opportunity. And finally I’m pitching myself to brands and negotiating campaign deals and contracts, while tracking my incoming revenue and expenses to make sure those are in line come tax-filing time. Now with all that said, who’s going to tell me that blogging isn’t a real job?

4) Could you tell us a little bit about how it generates income for you?

A: The smartest bloggers will create multiple revenue streams because it’s never wise to rely on one sole channel. For me, obtaining brand sponsorships from companies for native content campaigns on my blog and social channels are my biggest revenue channel. I also offer consulting services for content, digital marketing, and e-commerce strategy for influencers and brands of all sizes. Finally, affiliate marketing (marketing products from other affiliate businesses) is a growing area for me in which I recommend products that I love to my audience and they purchase them.

As you can see, it is possible to seamlessly integrate your business into your life. And by doing so, it allows you to enjoy more aspects of life while still earning an income. Before you embark on this journey, take some time to:

  • Determine the goal that will drive your business decisions: Get clear on your values and what’s really important to you. Start with your tangible goal and ask “why?” as a follow-up several times to peel back the layers and ensure your real goal will surface. You have to be intentional with your business decisions to ensure that you are creating a company that supports that goal.

  • Find the inspiration for your product or service: Are you inspired by other people’s visions and goals for themselves? Perhaps your business can focus on consulting. Or are you more motivated by impacting your community? Maybe your business will focus on philanthropy. Use motivation as a guide for choosing what product or services you can provide and which clients you want to serve.

  • Stay grounded in reality: Every business is only as successful as its ability to solve a problem or address a yearning for its clients. Do your due diligence and talk to your potential customers. Ask them for feedback on your product and service, and be willing to adjust to meet their requests. Like any business, it takes time and effort to build a lifestyle-based company.

For more tips on how to build a business that supports your lifestyle, click here to join the Money & Mimosas weekly newsletter

Danetha Doe is passionate about helping entrepreneurs increase their net-worth and self-worth, and was named a next-generation accountant by Quickbooks. To learn more about her, visit www.danethadoe.com and download her free e-book, “The Money Guide for Women Who Love Luxury: How to Add $10K to Your Savings in 90 Days Without Going on a Budget.”

Budgeting against your goals throughout the year

This post was in partnership with Wells Fargo. Originally posted on Wells Fargo Works.

One of the more challenging aspects of running a company is determining how to best allocate the company’s revenue according to a budget. Oftentimes, a company will begin the year with one idea and, midway through, realize that they want to take a different direction. This can lead to uncertainty about how to best manage cash flow and how to adjust projections. 

The key with business budgeting is to always remember that a budget is a fluid document. It’s merely a guide for you to use to determine your next best move, and it is OK to adjust it throughout the year. 

Estimate your annual budget

When you’re creating your annual budget projection, you may want to consider applying the 60/20/20 rule. Generally speaking: 

  • 60% of revenue should be used for fixed expenses. This includes salaries, overhead expenses, reserves for tax payments, and the company’s profit goals. 

  • The first 20% should be dedicated to growth. This may include investing in marketing, advertising, and other initiatives to expand the company’s brand and reach. 

  • The second 20% should be designated for internal development. This could include R&D for products-based businesses or training for staff members to improve their skill sets and leadership abilities. 

Create quarterly budget goals

Every 90 days or so, you should aim to check in on your annual budget projection. To help with this, you also need to create four separate quarterly budgets. When planning your quarterly budget, work with your team to decide on the number one objective for each quarter. It could fall under one of three categories:

  • Growth: Pushing your business into a growth phase 

  • Stability: Remaining stable and consistent 

  • Research and Development (R&D): Increasing your service level with an advanced technology investment or internal team training 

RELATED: Need help setting financial goals for your business? Expert Ellen Rohr is here to help.

Adjust based on your needs

Keep in mind that the 60/20/20 rule is a guide. Depending on your quarterly objective, you may need to tweak these percentages. For instance, if you are developing a new product to bring to market, you will likely need to increase the percentage dedicated to internal development, and decrease your funds allocated to growth. 

Once that product has been created and is ready to go to market, you may reduce the amount devoted to R&D from perhaps 30% or 35% back down to 15% or 10% and re-allocate the remaining funds to growth. At this point, you might consider increasing the percentage of revenue dedicated to growth to 30% or 35% in order to pay an outside branding consultancy to help you package and position the product, work with a marketing agency to help you spread the word, and later work with an advertising agency to help you increase sales. 

If you are a service-based business, you may decide to focus on developing your staff at a specific point in the year, which will increase the amount of money that the company is using for internal development. 

The key to business budget planning is flexibility when it comes to your objectives and quarterly budgets. This will help drive your budgeting decisions and keep your business on track. 

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The secret to paying off your debt faster

If you are like the majority of Americans, you have a mound of debt that you are eager to pay off. In fact, the New York Federal Reserve released a report that the total household debt for Americans reached $12.73 trillion in 2017, surpassing the 2008 peak. Yikes!

From student and auto loans to credit cards, the increasing level of debt is a source of anxiety for many. According to the Prosper Marketplace Financial Wellness Survey, 44% of Americans rank debt relief as a top priority for improving their financial standing. Companies like Prosper can help you get your finances back on track by consolidating your debt, so that you can sleep better at night.

Paying off your debt is one of the first steps to achieving financial wellness. And while we all know to spend less than what we earn in order to pay off our debt, it may often feel as if this is easier said than done. As a financial coach, I have worked with hundreds of individuals and have helped them pay off nearly a half million dollars in debt.

One of my clients had over $70,000 in debt that she had been accumulating over the past fifteen years. Within one year of working with each other, she was able to pay it all off. We did this by slightly increasing her earnings and, more importantly, we worked on shifting her mindset. Because when it comes to finances, there is a little known fact that most financial advisors may not have shared with you. In order to experience a shift in your financial situation, you must have a mindset shift, first.

No matter where you are on your financial journey, it is important to remember that having a positive mindset is the key to getting to your next stage of financial wellness. And who better to know the connection of a positive mindset and financial wellness, than Oprah Winfrey.

“The great discovery of all time,” Winfrey once said on her TV show, “is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

 

And sometimes, as Winfrey says, it’s our own mindset that’s blocking the path forward.

When we have debt that continues to haunt us, we become frustrated and often spiral into negative thinking. You may say phrases such as “I am bad with money” or “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “being broke is just the way my life is”. These thoughts turn into beliefs that are sabotaging your ability to pay off debt.

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Imagine that you were talking to a young child and trying to teach her how to do long division. The first few times, she may get the answer wrong or take a long time to figure out how to do the problem. Would you yell at her to hurry up? Or tell that she is stupid for not getting the problem right? Of course not! You would gently show her a few mathematical short cuts. And encourage her by saying that she is smart and good at math. Why? Because no one is motivated by shaming or negative talk.

The same holds true for you. In order to pay off your debt, you have to encourage yourself throughout the process. You are not doing yourself any favors by beating yourself up and having negative thoughts. The key is to remain positive and become your own biggest cheerleader.

As you work on paying off your debt, here are five steps you can take to improve your money mindset.

Step #1: Write down all of the money mistakes you have made on a sheet of paper.

Step #2: Grab another sheet of paper and write "I forgive myself for ..." followed by each mistake.

Step #3: Go to a mirror and read the second sheet of paper out loud to yourself. Look yourself in the eye as you say, "I forgive myself for..."

Step #4: And then, tear each sheet of paper into a million pieces. Because the past is over. And now it is time to move on...to a much brighter future.

Step #5: Repeat these steps daily until you pay off your debt.

Now we'd love to hear from you! Is paying off debt one of your financial goals? If so, why is this important to you? Leave us a comment below.

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This post was sponsored by Prosper.

Women and Money: Tips for talking about money with your girlfriends

Imagine grabbing brunch with your girls. Giggling over mimosas, catching up on the love life situation (or lack thereof...sigh), getting the scoop on the latest shopping deals and...whether you should pull your money out of your 401k plan to invest elsewhere.

Ummm, what?

Although money may not seem like a topic you wish to broach on a day out with the girls, the fact is that women are not paying enough attention to their financial health. “Along with wage inequality, women retire with just two-thirds the money men have, all while living at least 5 years longer than men,” states Sallie Krawcheck, a Wall Street powerhouse and the founder of ElleVest, in an interview with CNBC.

On average, less than 30% of people feel confident in their ability to absorb a financial shock according to the Prosper Financial Wellness Survey. Furthermore, Fidelity’s Money FIT Women Study shares that while 75% of women wish to learn more about finances, only 47% felt confident to bring up money topics on their own.

The only way to become confident about money is to practice talking about it.

Similar to any area of your life, practice makes progress. Think about the first time you gave a presentation or tried a new workout routine. It may have felt nerve-wracking or uncomfortable, but you got through it. After you got through the first time, each experience afterwards was much easier. The same goes with talking about money. The first few times you do it, it may feel uncomfortable. But, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Especially if you practice  with other women who will support you through it.

Photo credit: Josh Isaacs Photography

And talking about money does not have to be boring. In fact, if women begin to associate finances with pleasurable activities- such as brunch or a girl’s night out- the fear around money will start to dissipate. Because obviously, any discussion over a mimosa is a fun discussion.

So, go ahead and send out a text to three or five of your girlfriends, and invite them over to your home to grab some mimosas and follow these steps for your monthly money conversations.

Month One- for the first get together, the intention is to have a conversation about how everyone approaches their finances and their vision of a dream lifestyle.

You can even turn it into a vision board party where everyone cuts images out of old magazines that showcase their dream life.

While you all are sipping on mimosas and playing arts and crafts, allow everyone to answer the following questions:

  1. Question One: Do you create a budget for yourself? Or just wing it?
  2. Question Two: What’s your big vision for yourself? How will money help you achieve it?

Month Two- the next gathering should be about about debt.

  1. Question One: How are you protecting yourself against identity theft? Have you checked out your credit report recently?
  2. Question Two: Do you give your kids an allowance? How do you teach them about money?
  3. Question Three: How much credit card and student loan debt do you have?

Month Three- as you all become more comfortable chatting about money, expand the conversation to include more specific questions about finances.

  1. Question One: What does retirement mean to you? How are you preparing for it?
  2. Question Two: Do you work with a financial advisor? How often do you meet with her? What do you talk about?
  3. Question Three: What are your investments? Which industries do you focus on? What have your returns been?
  4. Question Four: What is your monthly income?
  5. Question Five: What are your monthly expenses and what do they each total?
  6. Question Six: How do you and your life partner split expenses?
  7. Question Seven: What’s something new that you learned about money recently?
  8. Question Eight: Is there anything that is currently stressing you about money?

Continue to have these discussions on a monthly basis and watch your confidence around money soar.

And now we'd love to hear from you! How often do you and your girlfriends get together to chat about money? And what do you talk about? Let us know in the comments below.

Money & Mimosas provides financial education trainings and community support to women entrepreneurs. Click here to join our newsletter.

This post was in partnership with Prosper.

3 steps to improve your emotional relationship with money

This past week, I had the honor of leading my "Wealth and Wellness for the Independent Woman" workshop at Sensiba San Filippo, one of the fastest growing CPA firms in Silicon Valley.

During these workshops, I share data to support why women's lack of confidence with money is the biggest reason why we have the gender wage gap and financial inequality.

The key to boosting your confidence is to become aware, and improve, your emotional relationship with money. 

After walking through examples of how our family and cultural upbringing impacts our financial decisions, I facilitate a conversation where the group is encouraged to share personal experiences with money.

Photo credit: Elese Moran

Photo credit: Elese Moran

The conversation this past week was particularly passionate and we all left inspired to become more aware of how our emotional relationship with money is impacting our financial health.

Here are three steps you can take to become more aware of your emotional relationship with money:

  1. Write down all the thoughts that come up when you hear the word "money". Take note of any words that have a negative connotation.
  2. Reflect on your earliest experiences with money. Was it hearing your parents argue about money? Was it your parents telling you "we can't afford this"? Or was it your parents being very hush about it and not talking about it with you? Take a moment to think about how this experience impacts your current approach to money.
  3. Who is your model for money? Usually this is a parent or guardian. Think about their habits with money and how you are repeating some of those habits.

Similar to any area of your life that you hope to improve, the more awareness you have around why you have your current habits the easier it will be to change them. As you gain more clarity about your emotional relationship with money, your habits will begin to improve.

Now we'd love to hear from you! What were some of your earliest experiences with money? Let us know in the comments below.

For more tips on how to remove the emotional baggage you have with money, click here to join our weekly #MoneyandMimosas newsletter.

Three Wealth Building Tools For Women By Women

In today's post, we are spotlighting three amazing fintech companies that will help you manage and grow your wealth.  And they are all founded by women with a mission to change the conversation about money. Woo hoo!

The first company is Startwise. Started by two women founders in the Bay Area, they help small business raise funding by giving their peers the opportunity to invest in them. We love the emphasis on community building. And their newsletters have fantastic tips about how to grow your wealth.

The second company is WorthFM founded by Amanda Steinberg, who you may also know as the CEO of Daily Worth. WorthFM makes investing easy for women and is passionate about educating you through the process. Yay!

The third company is Banqer. Founded by Kendall Flutey, based in New Zealand. I am in love with this program because it's purpose is to help children with financial education. How amazing would it have been if we had all been taught about money at a young age?! Love it.

Take a peek below for Q&A's with each of the founders.


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Startwise

Founders: Grace Leung Shing & Catherine Yushina

1. Why did you decide to launch Startwise?

Both Grace and Catherine worked in a Venture capital firm when they met, they saw so many great companies with revenues and customers looking to grow their existing business. unfortunately, they couldn't get funding since they were not the typical startup that will have a quick exit. We started talking to entrepreneurs and brainstorming about different alternative options. Turned out there were not that many. So bridging the capital gap for small businesses became the mission. Including the people using revenue sharing model became the solution.

2. Who is Startwise geared towards?

We are a double-sided market, we focus on:

- Product businesses with a minimum of 1-2 years in operations and minimum of $200,000 in annual revenues looking to expand and grow their company to the next level.

- The people: US residents of various wealth level and financial experience, looking to generate passive income while aligning the money with their values.

3. What if I don't have a lot of money, can I use Startwise? How much money should I have to invest?

Yes! That is why Startwise is around. People can invest as small as $100 and up to $2200. If you want to invest above the $2200, then the maximum will depend on the income and net worth level, as regulated by the Regulation Crowdfunding rules. 

4. What makes Startwise different from other crowdfunding platforms?

We focus on revenue sharing instead of equity. We work with existing small businesses instead of idea stage startups. It is a great way to diversify the investment portfolio not only by including different type of companies, but also a different mechanism of investing. We've also built our own software that facilitates not only the full investment process but the repayment as well - easy and accessible. 

5. What is your big vision for Startwise? What is the lasting legacy you hope to instill through this platform?

A truly inclusive economy is our vision. Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy, they create jobs and generate income for the majority of the people in the country. Our dream is not only providing the alternative to business funding but also tapping into the wealth gap issue. 

6. What is your #1 piece of advice to a woman who is new to investing?

Be you! Because you are totally rocking it. Multiple data sources show that women business owners and investors have been outperforming men in generating higher returns and success rates for a while now. We take our time to get ready, to research, we use both our brain and our intuition, we are good in listening to the market. Stop doubting yourself because there is no reason you should. 


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WorthFM

Founder: Amanda Steinberg

1. Why did you decide to launch WorthFM?

We began in 2015. We launched in Feb 2017. The federal regulatory process is very complex. 

2. Who is WorthFM geared towards?

Women ages 30-55 with between $25,000 and $500,000 in investments. 

3. What if I don't have a lot of money, can I use WorthFM? How much money should I have?

You can begin with $50. We offer a free savings account that allows you to open an account with us, no matter what. 

4. What makes WorthFM different from other "roboadvisors"? How is it different from working with a financial advisor?

We educate you as you invest so that you become smarter and more confident as your money grows. The others only focus on your portfolio. 

5. What is your big vision for WorthFM? What is the lasting legacy you hope to instill through this platform?

Global financial gender equity. 

6. What is your #1 piece of advice to a woman who is new to investing?

Diversify across multiple asset classes. 


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Kendall Fluety

Co-Founder: Banqer

1. Why did you decide to launch Banqer?

The launch of Banqer came after a series of serendipitous events starting with me leaving my career as an accountant. I retrained in software and shortly after landed my dream job as a developer, but not before returning to my family home for a weekend to recharge. It was there that a simple conversation with my then 12 year old brother sparked the inspiration for Banqer and kick-started the journey. For the first time I realised both the impact in-class financial education could have on a child, and also a child’s capacity to comprehend a vast range of personal finance topics. Within four months Banqer was alive.

2. Who is Banqer geared towards?

Banqer is used by elementary and middle schools and our students range from six to thirteen years old. The platform is specifically designed to be used as an in-class tool (aligning to teaching standards and curricula), however we also get some parents using Banqer at homes as well.

3. What if I don't have a lot of money, can Banqer still benefit me?

Given our users are students under thirteen most don’t have a lot of money and yet Banqer is extremely effective. When it comes to financial education your financial position is merely a starting point and there’s not a threshold you need to reach in order to engage, anyone can. It’s also arguable that those with a lower net wealth will see the most radical proportionate increases in wealth from starting their financial education journey as well.

4. What makes Banqer different from other financial education tools?

The biggest difference between Banqer and traditional financial education tools/resources is the experiential simulation we create that mimics an economy. All financial behaviours are contextualised inside Banqer as students engage financially just like we do in the real world. By creating an environment as closely aligned to what they will experience later in life, the decision making process, consequences felt, and perceived risk are as realistic as possible. This creates an environment that feels real to the students, so it’s not so much considered a lesson but instead practical financial experience.

5. What is your big vision for Banqer? What is the lasting legacy you hope to instill through this platform?

Our mission is to see Banqer enabling students everywhere to be prepared for the financial world that lays ahead of them. Too many of us learn financial lessons by trial and error and often when it’s too late.

Banqer has the potential to improve financial literacy (we see an average increase of 16%), shape positive financial behaviours, and instill confidence in the next generation. The economic externalities of this are huge and that makes us extremely driven to provide Banqer to those who wish to use it.

6. What is your #1 piece of advice to a woman who is new on journey of financial education?

Distinguish the difference between a need and want early. Marketing forces spend billions annually to try and blur the lines between these, often specifically targeting women. Decide what you need in your life, and what is just noise and don’t let yourself be swayed. From there you’ll have a better understanding of what’s important to you and you can frame your financial goals around them.


For more money tips for the independent woman, be sure to click here and join our weekly newsletter. 

Our Top 5 Favorite Bookkeeping Apps for the Independent Woman

Oh, bookkeeping. The bane of every business owner's existence. 

But, we all know that keeping track of our monies is the secret to leading the carefree, glamour-filled lifestyle. As an independent woman, it is imperative that we know how to manage our books. And not end up in a BBHMM situation like Rihanna did with her CPA firm. More about that, here.

Often times, business owners wait until tax season to start thinking about their books. Leaving you in a frenzy trying to figure out where the receipt is for that random $87 charge way back in the month of the May. 

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Do your tax accountant a favor this year and let's burn all of the shoeboxes. Get a jumpstart on organizing your books by using an online program. Not only does this make filing super easy peasy, it also helps you stay on top of your finances throughout the year during your weekly money dates

Here is a list of the top five bookkeeping programs that I love for the independent woman.

  1. Quickbooks Self-Employed - a fantastic tool for freelancers and independent contractors. Best feature: Love that it automatically calculates your quarterly taxes, and allows you to send invoices on the go. Downside: customizing your invoices is very limited, which we know is important to our creative friends. Cost: Starts at $10/month and goes up to $17/month.
  2. Freshbooks- great tool for the self-employed and project-based businesses. Best feature: hands down the best invoice customization tool on the market. Downside: the financial reporting is limited, which may be an issue as you grow your business. Cost: Starts at $15/month and goes up to $50/month
  3. Xero Tax Touch- known as beautiful accounting software, this program's design is really easy on the eyes and geared towards freelancers/independent contractors. Best feature: easy-to-read report on your income, expenses and how much taxes you owe for the year. Downside: no invoicing capability, which is a huge downside for the woman on the go. Cost: $6/month 
  4. Sage Onegeared towards the small business owner on the go. Best feature: great inventory tracking capabilities. Downside: this product is a little too robust for the freelancer or independent contractor, and therefore not very intuitive. Cost: $25/month
  5. Kashoo- named the #1 accounting app on the iPad and really great for the traveling business owner. Best feature: works offline so you can access your data even if you are out of internet range. Downside: similar to SageOne, not necessarily an intuitive program for the freelancer or independent contractor. Cost: Approximately $17/month

And now we'd like to hear from you! Which accounting software do you use for your business and why? Leave a comment below.

For more accounting tips for the independent woman, be sure to click here and join our weekly newsletter.