Invest


“It’s important for people to look back before they’re able to move forward.”–Karen McCall

Karen McCall has a special place in my heart. She was the first one to tell me I was an underearner. And it really pissed me off!

“I am not,” I said defiantly. “I’m a writer!”

Talk about chutzpah!  Here was the leading pioneer in the field of financial recovery. And I’m arguing with her?

Of course, she saw right through my defenses and gently guided me to the truth.

I can honestly say Karen changed my life…in ways I couldn’t even have predicted at the time!!!

She stopped seeing clients years ago to focus on training Financial Recovery Coaches.

Now there’s BIG NEWS!

Jedi Master McCall (one of her students used this phrase, in an email to me, to describe Karen) is offering a special 3 month program…Financial Recovery Foundational Training…for anyone.

Yes, it’s a prerequisite for the Certification Core Training.

And it’s also ideal for professionals to augment their financial coaching skills.

But, for the first time…and here’s why I’m so excited…this training is open to ANYONE (you, maybe?) who wants to transform their relationship to money.

This is an amazing program. There is nothing like it anywhere that I know. It’s truly transformational! Karen, herself, will be teaching. And the sessions are on the phone.

You will be matched with a personal mentor, led through  your own money history, uncovering limiting beliefs, and given a tool box of “Financial Recovery’s underlying methodology.”

In other words, if you’re really serious about healing your relationship with money, this class was tailor-made for you!!! To learn more: www.financialrecovery.com.

This course will rock your world. Are you ready?

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;

that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau

Had a brief, but interesting conversation while shopping  in Costco with My Man and his son a few days ago. His son, a senior in college, is a sheer delight. He’s ambitious and charming, with a vivid imagination and a quirky view of life. We were walking down the home furnishing aisle when he made an announcement.

“I’m going to live in a Castle one day, “ he declared, and proceeded to describe how it would have a gym, a pool, a hula hoop court (he’s an amazing hooper!), and all the amenities castle’s typical have, including lots of turrets. The boy was dead serious.  I was intrigued.

“Good goal,“ I assured him, and meant it. But even more, I saw it as a wonderful metaphor for the big dreams many college kids have for life  after graduation.  Problem is, like most his age, he hadn’t really thought through how to make it happen.

“If you start now,” I suggested, “You can definitely make it happen.”  He asked for my advice. I was ready to give it, but standing in the middle of Costco, there were too many distractions.

So this blog is meant to help him (and anyone else) build a firm foundation under their future castles.

16 things I wish I knew about money when I graduated college:

1.     If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it. Delayed gratification is the gateway to wealth (and a sign of maturity).

2.     Despite what you’ve heard, money is NOT power. Money is simply a tool. The trick to getting the most out of any tool is to know how it works and to use it responsibly.

3.      Understand the miraculous power of compounding—where your money earns interest, then your interest earns interest, and then that interest earns interest, and before you know it, you’ve got a lot more than when you started.

4.     Make savings a habit. Every month, have a small amount–say $5 to $10–automatically transferred from your checking account to a savings account.

5.     Consistent savings, no matter how tiny, adds up quickly.

6.     Always have a Safety Net…just in case—accumulate at least 6 months of living expenses, to be used for emergencies only.

7.     Create a Fun Fund for short-term purchases, like a ‘gotta-have’ video game or a weekend getaway—open a separate savings account, or simply drop spare change in a jar.

8.     Begin now building good credit. Apply for a credit card and use it responsibly, which means paying it off every month  (refer back to #1!)

9.      Never, I mean NEVER, get into credit card debt (not for a castle or the carpet or even a couch).  Mounting credit card bills destroys your peace of mind and your quality of life. What good is a castle if you can’t enjoy it?

10.    Keep your checkbook balanced. Even better, put everything on Quicken. Clarity (knowing precisely how much you have) is power.

11.     Learn about investing. Take a class. The only way to make sure your money grows (enough to buy a castle and also maintain it!) is by putting at least some of your cash in long term assets (like stocks & bonds) that will grow faster than inflation and taxes will take it away.

12.      Never invest in anything you don’t understand. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re buying; you won’t know when to sell; and you can’t accurately evaluate the advice you’re given.

13.     Don’t put off investing until you’re older. If you start now, regularly investing small amounts (in mutual funds), that money will grow into millions. Really!!!

14.     Own and respect your value. Never settle for less than you deserve or desire. Always ask for more than feels comfortable.

15.     The biggest financial risk you can take is to ignore your money, and do nothing at all.

16.     Read biographies of wealthy, successful people. They’ll inspire you to think bigger about what’s possible, and give you the fundamentals for making it happen.

That’s my advice. But it’s certainly not a definitive list. I’d love to hear from others. What would you add?

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

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I remember, back in the 80’s — when I was struggling to understand money — I started an Investment Club.

Every month a group of about 12 friends got together, usually at my house. Someone brought treats, and we’d spend an hour or so discussing stocks… along with girl talk, gossip and romantic updates.  It was a great way to put the Fun into finances while doing some serious learning.  I really did learn a lot.

However, as I also learned, Investment Clubs can be complicated, time-consuming, and sometimes, contentious. They require co-mingling money, reaching a consensus on stock picking, and a serious time commitment, especially for the officers.

I’ve come to see there’s another— arguably better— way to combine socializing and studying.  Financial Book Clubs.  What makes them better? These clubs are less work and focus on far more than just investing.

I wrote an earlier blog on this topic… http://barbarastannyblog.com/page/7/ But I just got an email that brought it to mind again.  (Emails make such great fodder for blogs!) I was inspired… and I thought you would be too.

In my next post I’ll tell you about;  “One woman’s tale of Overcoming Underearning by joining a Financial Book Club”… stay tuned!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html

Twitter Barbara at: http://twitter.com/barbarastanny

Note to financial neophytes—don’t let theStart Reading The Wall Street Journal - Now! Wall Street Journal intimidate you.  It’s a fabulous learning tool…and offers some fascinating reading… for everyone, no matter how much, or how little, you know.  http://online.wsj.com/home-page

Sure it’s full of, what may appear to some, as indecipherable gobbly-gook, written in ‘broker-speak.’  But the WSJ is a very powerful resource, so ignore all of that and focus on the following:

1.      Peruse the front page.  Every once in a while there are some great human interest stories about the good, bad, and especially the greedy.  Plus, the side-bar on the left is like “Current Events for Dummies”… a collection of news snippets giving you a speedy update  to the latest news (financial and otherwise).

2.      Glance over the following two sections: Marketplace and Money& Investing.  A quick peek is all you need. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll pick up just by osmosis.

3.      Savor the fourth section (called by different names depending on the day of the week): Personal Journal (Tuesday-Friday); The Journal Report (Monday);  Weekend Journal (Saturday).  This section is loaded with easy-to-read,  often fascinating,  and always useful  tidbits….everything from fashion, sports and personal finance to restaurant, wine and  book reviews.

Let’s take Monday’s WSJ’s Journal Report (theme for this report was “Your Money Matters”).  The front page article was Best Online Tools for Personal Finance, and it was chock full of excellent (and free) website recommendations.

Even if the only thing you do is glance at the Wall Street Journal everyday for 3 months, you’ll be amazed at how much you learn!  Don’t be intimated.  The Wall Street Journal is a great resource, and a must read if you’re serious about upping your personal “financial awareness quotient”!   Try it and report back.
Barbara Stanny
The leading authority on women & money
www.barbarastanny.com

Does this sound like you?

“It’s a new year! I’m finally going to tackle my finances.  Yep, I’m really ready to get smart about money. Well…sort of.   I mean, I do want to learn…but it just seems so overwhelming.  Where do I start?”

Start with this article: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-newsReading up/savings-money-club-comeback-1264.php. Not just because I’m in it! The author, Dana Dratch,  does a fabulous job of explaining how to make  financial education fun! FUN????

Yes, FUN!  Invite some friends, bring some food, and start a Money Club.

“The idea has been around for years,” Dana writes. “A small group of friends, co-workers or, in some cases, complete strangers meet regularly to polish money skills, discuss money challenges and set concrete goals. Don’t confuse money clubs with investment clubs, in which members focus on investing skills and may even make investing decisions as a group or pool their money. “

Dana also interviewed Ginita Wall, the co-founder of www.wife.org (which I believe is the best financial education site on the internet for women) and a major proponent of money clubs. Ginita created the site; www.TheMoneyClub.org, where you can download a  free Leader’s Guide for “individuals interested in starting a club, and a menu of lesson plans for meetings.“

Money clubs are exploding in popularity. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s in a money club…got any tips or advice for the rest of us?

If you’ll excuse me, but I’m frustrated and I need to vent! Yet another study has come out that tells us, according to an article in US World & News Report: “financial institutions are failing to connect with female customers, a group that will soon control 60% of the wealth in the US.” Duh! http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/ConsumerActionGuide/HowBanksShouldTalkToWomen.aspx

Allianz Life Insurance revealed what every study for the past decade has discovered: most women want to learn about retirement planning and investing. But “(Women) are telling us that materials out there are difficult to understand and that they find them boring. Some even compared them to reading a foreign language,” says Sherri DuMond, vice president of marketing solutions for Allianz.

This is news? Maybe to the industry. Certainly not to women.

The problem is that financial firms simply respond with more of the same materials, but couched in what one advisor in the article called “female-friendly metaphors.” For example: “Updating your 401(k) every six months…is like putting your winter clothes away in the summer, she says, and making stable investment choices is like purchasing your first black or blue suit.”

If the financial industry asked for my advice (and no one has), here’s what I’d tell them.

It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty! Don’t just focus on the facts of investing. Get personal. Dig deep. Talk about her fears. Explore her resistance . Delve into the real issues, like family messages and cultural conditioning. I always say doing the outer work without paying attention to the inner work only perpetuates the status quo.

Am I all alone here? Or am I being foolish to think that if financial advisors were trained appropriately, they could learn to actually talk about emotions? Let me hear from you!


Those of you familiar with my work know this about me: I’m a big fan of using financial advisors.

The reason: we women are so busy, many of us of don’t have the time, interest, or knowledge to manage our own money (and do it well). Of all the women I’ve interviewed, the ones with the highest networths didn’t necessarily earn (or inherit) the highest income. But the whopping majority did work with financial professionals.

The challenge: how do you find a trustworthy financial advisor?

The strategy: Ask for referrals from people who are happy with their advisors. Or go online to find names of advisors near you. Try these sites:

www.napfa.org — National association of Personal Financial Advisors

www.garrettplanningnetwork.com — the Garrett Planning Network of financial advisors who work for an hourly fee.

www.cfp.net — the website of Certified Financial Planners

The solution: Resist the urge to sign up with the first advisor you meet. Interview at least 3. Ask questions such as these, then go with your gut instinct:

1. Would you tell me about yourself?

2. Do you specialize in certain types of investments?

3. Who are your clients?

4. How do you charge for your services, and what costs might I incur working with you?

5. How often do you communicate with clients, and how often might I expect to hear from you?

6. Have you ever been involved in any lawsuits, arbitration, or disciplinary problems?

7. Is there anything you want me to know about you that I haven’t asked?

Need more help? I’ve written a booklet filled with great advice: Finding A Financial Advisor You Can Trust. You can order it on my website.

I’d love to hear your tips about finding an advisor.

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