Tag Archives: family

Online Stock Tips? Buyer Beware.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on February 4, 2009  about new social networking services that allow users to share investing and trading tips. It is a great way for like minded people to build a community and share ideas. In many ways the idea is not new – we have seen chat rooms, message boards, and the like before. However, these sites operate more like Twitter where messages are limited or truncated to a preset number of characters and people only build ‘followings’ only if they have something of value to say. The idea definitely is progressive and timely as many people are seeking ways to build or rebuild wealth in a deepening recession.

But buyer beware! There are a few things to keep in mind or questions you ask yourself before you throw your money into any investment based on the advice of someone – especially someone you don’t know.

No one knows where this market is headed – let alone any individual stock. The current financial crisis is evidence that not even the pros on Wall Street have a handle on the markets. This could be one of the riskiest times to put your money into the unknown.

Speaking of unknowns, who is providing the information on the stock? What is the track record of this individual? I always seek advice from someone who has been successful in whatever subject they are discussing (not just money). So, if the person dishing out the information retired from an investing career, it might be worth considering. Otherwise, be careful.

Be realistic. We have seen with the Maddoff scandal – and countless other examples – that if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Yes, we have heard this before, but the tough economic times are giving life to more scams and con artists than ever before.

Is the timing right for you? Given how hard the markets and our portfolios have been hit, is now the time to put your hard earned money into ’stock tips’?  We all are eager to make up for our losses, but there is (still) no quick fix. Building wealth is a lifetime endeavor. Don’t get yourself into deeper financial straits by trying to make up for the market meltdown. We all are hurting.

Final thought. Personally, I would rather see my financial or investment adviser tracking and researching the markets. I worry that someone who is texting stock tips or using social networking services may not be focused on the right activities. Markets move rapidly. Information changes even faster. I need and want an informed adviser – not a good sales person.

Copyright FELA, Inc. 2009
Ms. Career Girl, a Financial Education & Literacy Advisers company
www.themindsetforwealth.com

How Technology Changed Dating

I had a great lunch with John Head yesterday in which we somehow got on the subject of dating and389361140_129554721e_m technology.

The topic came up after we discussed John’s experience with interviewing, hiring and firing Gen Y’ers who all seemed to have huge entitlement issues. John had some funny stories about Gen Y’ers. My favorite story was about a young male employee who refused to take down pictures of himself smoking marijuana from his Facebook page. Since the lad refused to take the pictures down, John asked him to disconnect with all company employees and clients as an alternative. The young man didn’t like this request either, and ended up quitting his job instead. Wow!

The point of his story was that in today’s world, your private life is no longer private. At any time, anyone can follow you on Twitter, Google you or check out your Facebook page. How does this new level of transparency affect dating and relationships?

I must admit, a few of my relationships ended due to things I found out via technology. I’ll let your imagination run wild with this one, but I will say, “Thanks a Million Technology!” you just saved me a lot of time and heartbreak.

Technology makes being shady easier AND more difficult at the same time. It’s so easy to strike up conversation with someone new via text or Instant Message and unexpectedly become sucked in. Yet it is also SO easy to get caught. All it takes is your significant other finding a few shady emails, or being confronted by your boyfriend’s mistress through a Facebook message…

2409341265_93268f3b43_m1How has Technology affected your dating and relationship experience? Do these scenarios sound familiar?

• When meeting a new guy, you text for two weeks before you meet in person or talk on the phone because it’s less scary.
• You are constantly distracted by your cell phone/PDA while you are out. Then you wonder why your guy doesn’t call you much the week after your date. Perhaps he thought you were totally uninterested in him AND rude.
• You use technology as an easy out rather than picking up the phone or dealing with an awkward situation in person.
• You find yourself trying to interpret text messages, Wall Posts, and Facebook Pokes to the point that you start to feel a bit crazy.
• You meet a cute guy at the bar one weekend and are now text buddies with him. You just got out of a serious relationship and have no desire to actually make this into anything, yet you enjoy the distraction from reality and keep it going just for fun.

Technology presents a whole new dimension of confusion, drama and complication to our love lives. Technology can be a friend and foe at the same time. On the bright side, we can assume that if something shady is going on technology will most likely bring it to light. On the downside, it’s easy to get mixed up in the implied meaning behind technology. My vote? When in doubt, pick up the phone and avoid technology in your love life as much as possible!

How Do You Stay Organized?

 By, Jessica Lawlor

As a student and future career woman, it’s extremely important to learn the fine art of organization.

Here are the three main ways I stay organized:

1. Planner– I write down everything in my planner: school assignments, meetings, appointments, weekend plans. I check each item off as I complete them. My planner is weekly, so I am able to look at the entire week ahead. I use my planner as an overview of everything I need to accomplish in a week.

2. “Everything” notebook- I have a medium sized notebook that I carry everywhere with me that I have fondly named, “my everything notebook.” Each week, I create a detailed to-do list with absolutely everything that needs to be accomplished before the week ends. I love the sense of accomplishment when I cross an item off the list. My to-do list differs from my planner in the fact that my list is more specific. I also write down possible blog ideas, story ideas, and general notes to myself in the notebook.

3. Google- I can’t even express how much Google has simplified my life. I am obsessed with my Gmail account, and use it to keep my e-mail organized. Gmail allows users to create labels for different activities or tasks. For instance, I have a label for homework, PRSSA, PRowl Public Relations, internship, and sorority. When an e-mail comes in, I tag it with a label, and if I ever need to find that e-mail again, I know exactly where to look.

I also love the ‘archive’ feature. I leave everything in my inbox, until I’ve replied or done whatever the email is asking, and once I’m finished with it I archive it. If there is something in my inbox, it means its unfinished business or I need to reply.

Also, the Google calendar feature is a heavenly application that allows you to color code activities, meetings, or events and place them on a calendar.

These are only three small methods I use to stay organized, so I took to my Twitter account to find out how some of my followers keep their lives together.

@daydreamwriter says, “A planner and a desk calendar.”

@mattsnod says, “My life exists on my iPhone. I’m so forgetful, I’d be lost without my iPhone synching my life.”

@jamielovely says, “Color coded tags in Gmail saved my life! It’s the only way my inbox stays somewhat organized.”

@courtney903 says, “There is ALWAYS a to-do list on a dry erase board in the house. That way I can erase and add and it never looks overwhelming.”

@jennips says, “I started using a DayTimer planner last year. I’ve been using it & it helps me keep track of things better so I get less sidetracked.”

@tomokeefe1 says, “Calendar, stickies, bookmarking, writing things down, and periodically cleaning everything up! Oh, and having a good memory.”

@heatherhuhman says, “Organization is all about knowing what you have to get done and by when – prioritizing is key.”

@kpricester says, “I keep a constantly updated calendar on iCal that I keep synced with my smartphone. And I plan every minute of my day, including TV.”

@jesshatchigan says, “I use Excel to track progress/action on multiple ongoing projects, and make daily to-do lists.”

What are the ways that you stay organized?

Jessica Lawlor is a public relations student at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She is currently the Director of Public Relations for PRowl Public Relations, Temple University’s first and only student-run PR firm, and serves on the executive board of Temple’s PRSSA chapter.

Follow her on Twitter: @jesslaw
Check out her blog: PRowl Public Relations blog

Surviving Adult Children

I came across an interesting press release about a new website for parents who are dealing with immature adult children, called SurvivingAdultChildren.com. It sounds funny that there is now a support group for parents whose adult children still live at home with them, but as we’ve heard it is more and more common for Gen Y’ers to come back home and sometimes never leave. This is an interesting debate for me, because it is one I can see both sides of.

3020643003_76909156d1_mTo illustrate the website’s purpose, there was a video that shows a mother vacuuming, and then her 26 year-old son comes out at noon and basically says “I’m still sleeping Mom! Can you stop that!? Oh and can you help me with my car payment and cell phone bill this month too?”  Eek!!

Now that I do NOT understand! But the point is that there is enough of this happening in America for there to be a whole community created around it. According to the website, adult children who are living at home are causing a serious financial strain on their parents. It also says that some parents are afraid to let go out of “fear of rejection, losing contact with grand children and even physical abuse.” Seems a bit strange, no?

So my boyfriend and I got into this debate yesterday as we both have friends and relatives who still live with their parents. Luckily none of our friends or family are like the 26 year old in the video though! Both of us also lived at home for a while after graduating college and felt it was beneficial to get us started.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the topic:

• If you’re living at home so you can buy more purses, shoes and clothes that is not cool.
• If you’re living at home to save for a down payment on a condo/house, that is awesome! Just make sure you are really saving that money instead of taking your third trip to Vegas this year.

• If you are unsure about your career path or how long you will be at your current job, it might be smart to live at home so you aren’t locked into a lease.  Just remember that eventually you will have to take a risk and decide on something!
• If you live at home, you should pay “rent and utilities” to a money market account so that you become used to the financial burden and budget that living on your own will require when you DO move out. I would prefer if you couldn’t touch or see this money market account so you can’t tap into it. Remember, when you move out, you can’t “borrow back” your rent/mortgage payment.
• Make sure you are working towards an established goal otherwise before you know it the months and maybe even years will pass you by and you will have nothing to show for living rent-free.
• If you are living at home to pay down debt, put your debt payments on auto-debit from your checking account so that each month a pre-determined chunk of your income goes towards those. Don’t wait for the bill to come and “decide how much you feel like paying this month” otherwise you will never get rid of it.

Beware of the Newest Credit Card Game

ABC’s Good Morning America aired an interesting segment today about credit card companies that are looking at the places people shop to determine credibility.  So for example, if the credit card company’s data shows that a high percentage of people who shop at XYZ Store don’t pay their bills on time, some companies are using this as a reason to significantly cut customer’s credit limits without warning. 

The subject of the segment was a man named Kevin Johnson, a 29 year old who owns a PR Firm in Atlanta and has stellar credit (a 764 FICO score).  He had been a loyal American Express user when he received a letter saying his credit limit was lowered from $10,800 to $3,800.  Ken says he rarely kept any balances on his credit cards and has always paid on time.

This new twist is called “behavioral analysis” or “behavioral scoring” and it seems quite unfair.  Apparently this is just another way for credit card companies to assess their risk during the recession.  It’s a bit strange to me, especially for those who are trying to save money by shopping at a discount store or for those who have always been loyal paying customers. 

The other weird part of the story is that American Express received more than $3 billion in taxpayer money from the “Troubled Assets Relief Program,” yet they are choosing to cut off great customers like Kevin Johnson.  It is the Kevin Johnsons of the world who are paying the taxes to fund thse bailout programs…

I guess the moral of the story is that in a battle between a single consumer and a huge credit card company, the credit card company is going to win.  During times like these, we as consumers need to remember that we can’t count on using our credit card company’s money to get by.  They have the right to revoke our privileges at any time.

Read the whole story here for more details.

Nicole’s Review of Suze Orman’s “Women and Money”

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As featured on justthrive.com!

Only Suze Orman could talk about two topics as sensitive as Women and Money so honestly and accurately. In her eighth book, Women and Money, Suze uncovers the mysterious stumbling blocks that so many women face when it comes to their finances, “It doesn’t matter if I am in a room full of business executives or stay-at-home moms, I find the core problem to be universal: When it comes to making decisions with money, you refuse to own your power, to act in your best interest.”

Women are typically the givers of the world: they are always putting others before themselves, nurturing their families, and sacrificing for others. Suze is NOT suggesting women replace “nurturer with narcissist.” She says, “I simply want you to give TO yourself as much as you give OF yourself. By taking care of yourself financially, you will truly be able to take care of those you love.” She asks why women don’t show their money the same attention they show every other relationship in their lives and claims it is because women have a dysfunctional relationship with money.

It is this dysfunctional relationship that has intrigued me personally to start a business to help educate women about their finances. My belief is that it is not intelligence or information that women lack, it is a mental “block” that is holding women back. Suze points out that so many women feel they must be all things to all people, “mother, wife, dutiful daughter, supportive friend, school volunteer, cheerleader at home and at work.” With the demands of life, it’s easy to keep denying the importance of learning new things that may be uncomfortable or hard to face. It is much easier to deny that money exists, say you are just “too busy” or blame others for your financial shortcomings.

My favorite chapter of Women and Money is called “The 8 Qualities of a Wealthy Woman.” I like it because it sheds light on what many women are not doing and clarifies how changing our thoughts and behaviors will improve our relationship with money.

For example, numbers 1 and 2 are harmony and balance. When you are in harmony, what you think, say and do are aligned. How many women do you know who say, “Oh I’m fine!” or “Ok daughter, you can have that new ___” even when they don’t feel that way or can’t afford it. That leads us to quality 3: courage. Courage gives you the ability to make sure your thoughts, feelings, and actions are aligned. So many women fear that if they say no, they may hurt someone else or not be loved as much. Suze points out, “It’s so much easier to hurt yourself than to hurt someone else, isn’t it?” When you think logically about that statement it is so true, yet women do it several times a day.

I believe that courage is important because it allows women to set boundaries with quality number 4: generosity. Women are known for being too generous with their time, support, love and money. Suze points out that the act of generosity must benefit the giver as much as the receiver, or it is not true generosity.

Quality 5 and 6 are happiness and wisdom. Quality 7 is cleanliness, which is really just another word for organization. And lastly, number 8 is beauty, which is a combination of the other 7 qualities.

Notice I haven’t gone into any detail about the technical side of money in my review. Suze Orman and I could sit here all day and tell you about the importance of saving, investing, and organizing your finances but if you don’t have a relationship with money first, you will never stick to making good decisions with your money. Just like losing weight, we have to get to the bottom of what is really causing that “stumbling block” in order to conquer it.

Money and Love

As featured on womenco.com!

For those who follow my writing, you know that I love drawing parallels between things that seem unrelated at first glance. Let’s investigate the ways in which women handle money affects their romantic relationships.

The way women think about money can be very emotional and typically transcends into every aspect of their lives. An underlying theme for many women is dishonesty. Women are often dishonest with themselves about money, saying they don’t need to worry about it or face it. Many women tell themselves “it will work itself out later”, or assume that eventually a guy will take care of it for them.

Women’s relationships with money tend to reflect their relationships with themselves and their romantic partners. We’ve all heard that the #1 cause of divorce in the United States is MONEY. It makes sense. For example, in a time of crisis, some women blame their husbands for not taking better care of things and not planning properly. Managing and planning finances is a lot of pressure for one person! Once something urgent happens, the downward spiral of arguing and personal attacks begins.

What about women who were taught that “money is the root of all evil”?  Last time I checked, if you want to provide opportunities to your family, you need money. If you want to care for your sick relatives, that healthcare costs money. If you want to send your kids to a better school or live in a safer neighborhood, you will need money. There is nothing greedy about wanting to take care of your family. Why are so many women conditioned to think that discussing money is inappropriate?

Are women afraid of being “too powerful?”  If women were brought up to believe in Cinderella stories, and taught that “money is a man’s job” or that “money is evil,” perhaps women are afraid that if they take control of their finances, they will be seen as too greedy or self-centered.

Women love getting others’ approval and making people happy. Are we afraid that if we get smart about money, we won’t be loved as much?

I am here to say that you can have a relationship with money and with your partner at the same time. In fact, psychologists say that “when a woman becomes financially independent, she gains self-assurance and peace of mind, and her relationships become healthier and more mature.” (Stanny, 50). Psychotherapist Annette Lieberman says, “those who take charge of their money develop the same qualities people need to enjoy sex: higher self-esteem, a sense of mastery, confidence and permission to enjoy pleasure.”

If your relationship with money is struggling, and you also hope to improve your love life, I hope you will relinquish the Cinderella myth and get real about your relationship with money. Stop waiting for someone with an extra piece of anatomy to take care of YOUR money and YOUR future. Stop blaming others for your relationship with money and start believing that YOU can do it!