Category Archives: Think

Will a 6 Figure Salary Make You Happy or Cause More Stress?

Twenty years ago, when rapper Notorious B.I.G. famously asserted, “Mo money, Mo problems,” he spoke to our frustrations about how life can become complicated, and relationships strained, when we climb the ladder of success. Did money bring Biggie happiness?

Maybe not, but that doesn’t have to be the case for everybody. There’s a lot you can do to ensure that your pursuit of professional success isn’t a joyless, stressful experience but rather a happy one with positive outcomes. Here are a few ideas to help you get your cake and eat it, too.

Do What You Love

It’s not work if you love it, right? It might be hard to imagine for those of us stuck in cubicles all day, but there really are people out there who truly love their jobs. These lucky folks can’t wait to get up each day and start working. For some, the underlying mission of the work is what brings them back each day. For example, teachers aren’t typically paid a ton of money, but many love their profession because of the difference it makes on the lives of children.

Other folks have started their own companies, and they thrive on the responsibility and challenge of making all the key decisions. So maybe it’s time to think about what you or your company provides the world, as well as your place in the corporate hierarchy. Are you able to make an impact on others, or do you just punch the clock? Are you merely a cog in the machine, or do you turn the wheel?

Get a Life

Even if you make the big bucks, long hours at the grindstone can be unhealthy and debilitating. An improved work-life balance will help reduce stress and make you feel stronger and better prepared to deal with the inevitable trials and tribulations you face each day.

To get things turned around, start by asking your boss if you can work from home 1-2 days per week. Tell her that you’ll actually get more done because you’ll be able to translate those commute hours into productive work time. And with the wide array of video conferencing tools available today, like Zoom, Skype, WebEx, Google Hangouts, and Gotomeeting, as well as collaboration tools like Slack, InVision, Trello, and trusty old Google Docs, you’ll be just as plugged-in as ever.

After you’ve reduced or even eliminated that nasty commute, your next task is to carve out some “me time” and fill it with activities that are inspirational, fun, or simply relaxing and stress-free. Volunteering for a charity or nonprofit is one way to lift your spirits. You don’t need to be a Buddhist to agree with the Dalai Lama, who has said, “Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”

Alternatively, you could take up a new athletic activity, like running or tennis, or sign up for an art class at your local community college—really, you can do anything as long as it gives your mind a break from the stresses of work.

Remember, work should be a means to an end rather than an end in itself. There’s nothing wrong with working hard in order to afford a home for your family, but if you’re climbing the ladder just so you can put a fancy nameplate on your desk, you may have gone astray.

Save Money

We live in a consumer-driven society, full of advertisements and social incentives to keep up with the Joneses. But the Jones family doesn’t really exist—they’re a figment of our imagination. Blindly chasing them just puts us on a treadmill to nowhere.

The next time you’re about to buy an expensive item, ask yourself, ‘Is this a want, or is it a need? Do I really need this now, or would it be better to save the money in an interest-bearing account and use the money to help me attain my long-term goals, like attending school, buying a safer car, or putting a down-payment on that first home?’

When you start increasing your saving, you’re able to worry a tiny bit less about your next dollar. That peace-of-mind is like thermal insulation for your home: you might be able to live without it, but it’s a heck of a lot cozier inside when dollars aren’t flowing through the cracks.

Value your success

For many ambitious people, the drive to succeed is so overpowering that it blinds them to their accomplishments. After they’ve climbed one ladder, suddenly another appears that must be climbed immediately, at all costs.

There’s nothing wrong with ambition, of course, nor with wanting to be successful. But unless you take time to smell the roses, or the spray of the ocean at your beautiful home on the beach, you’ll never be able to fully appreciate your achievements. Like a shark that never stops moving, you won’t be able to relax for fear you’ll sink to the bottom.

For us humans, that’s really no way to live. So before you turn the computer back on after dinner, take a breath, reflect on your success, and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve done great!

 

 

This content is compensated and contributed by the good folks at CPA Review Courses–an online resource dedicated to helping professionals pass their CPA exam on their first try. They provide invaluable reviews, tools, and study tips to fast-track the success of future Certified Public Accountants.

Irish Sayings that Inspire Financial Wisdom

What a fun blog post! Loving these Irish sayings that inspire money smarts.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  Today I thought it would be fun to look at some Irish sayings, proverbs, limericks and proverbs to see if there was any financial wisdom we could glean from them.

Irish Sayings About Managing Your Household Finances

Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house.

It’s important to be a nice person and do nice things.  But not if you don’t have yourself taken care of first.  If your house isn’t in order, you won’t be able to help others..at least not sustainably.  No guilt if you’re working to improve the situation of you and your nuclear family.

Enough and no waste is as good as a feast.

Providing for your family doesn’t necessarily mean having lavish things.  Having enough and being grateful for it is more than enough.  And if you have extra, maybe you could go slate your neighbor’s roof or something.

Most eclectic St. Patty’s Day Parade I’ve ever been to in Raleigh, NC.

Irish Sayings About Money and Business

He that is of the opinion that money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.

What can’t money buy?  True love.  True friendship.  Respect for one’s character.  Even in the business world, it is sometimes necessary to do things simply out of the goodness of your heart  with no expectation of monetary reward.  People will like you for that.  And that may bring you more business and thus more money. People tend to dislike the profit-obsessed.

A fool and his money are easily parted.

Don’t be an idiot.  Or you won’t have any money. I could get into this on a much deeper level, but I feel like the surface meaning is pretty encompassing.

The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse.

This could apply to straight up bribes.  Which is not good advice.  I feel like it could also apply to government or companies, too.  Cater to the people you want as customers or constituents. If you’re doing right by them and their personal economies, you’ll have repeat customers, or votes.

Irish Sayings About Life and Death

The keening is best if the corpse left money. 

I’ve noticed that the older a family member I talk to is, the darker their sense of humor. Irish or not. I find humor in this one, but probably because of the generation I belong to, I stifle my giggles as I feel it’s inappropriate or insensitive.

“Keening” essentially means mourning, so if someone dies, the funeral’s going to be a lot more fun if they left you a windfall.  My grandmother told me that, at least in the early 20th century, Irish-American people generally were not in coffins or funeral homes for the viewing/funeral.  There was a big party and the body of the deceased was sat in a chair.  The person who got drunk enough fastest ended up dancing with the corpse.  Creepy.

There once was a Irishman, who thinks.
Stead of spending his money, on drinks.
It was just his bad luck
He got hit by a truck 
Stead o boozein with mates, 
me’thinks.

At first glance this is horrible, horrible advice.  Your money is never spent well on boozing.  But I think the underlying point is worth noting.  Enjoy your life.  Don’t hoard your money and forgo life’s experiences, especially friendships and the time spent with said friends.  You never know when you could go.  Then you’ll just be a corpse dancing at a party with some drunk guy who just inherited a windfall.

Irish Sayings About Grit

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

Love this one!  It can apply to so many areas of life, but absolutely personal finances.  You’ll never reach your goal if you just vaguely daydream about it; you have to take action.  Only then can you see your goals and dreams fulfilled.

The tiredness leaves but the profit remains.

Don’t quit just because something is hard, whether it’s training for a marathon, working for a promotion, or paying off your debt.  It will be worth it.  And it won’t be hard forever.

 

Favorite Irish sayings, limericks, proverbs, or blessings anyone?

Behavioral vs Economic Rationality

NOVA: Mind Over Money
I was watching this PBS special called Mind Over Money the other night. year. Yes, it’s still applicable.

It was about the economy. And how everyday people’s spending habits factor into economics itself.  It focused a lot on the stock market, but it was really interesting on a smaller scale, too.

PBS’ Mind Over Money Overview

The show presented two different views on economics:  rational economics and behavioral economics. Rational economics is the system we’ve been using for a while…at least 50 years. You could also say we’ve been using it since the days of Adam Smith.

It assumes that before anyone buys anything, they weigh the outcome of their purchase carefully. Quality, utility, and desire are all factored into these crazy long and complicated equations subconsciously in our heads, meaning we always think about how long the product will last, how useful it will be to us, and how much we really want it vs. need it.

This economic rationality theology assumes that we are all rational spenders. Always. Economics as we know it depends on it.

Behavioral economics says that the populous is mostly made up of emotional spenders.  Things like competition, want to be of a higher social class than we actually are, and the desire for immediate gratification factor into our decisions when we buy.

In this model, there are some rational spenders, but the majority of the market is made up of emotional spenders via the behavioral rationality model.

The documentary  talks about how back in the day (like up until 25 years ago,)  the people on the floor of the stock exchange would be yelling, screaming, and competing. These professionals would more often be emotional spenders than the people who work there today.

With the internet and programs that allow us  to major in the pseudo-new field of economics, more of these professionals do research using complex equations which they learned in school while studying economic rationality than in the past.

That means that the people who handle stocks today are more rational spenders than their predecessors.

The film comments on how that effect(s)/(ed) the stock market in recent years. I’m not going to get into that aspect of it. I took one economics class in college that I pretty much slept through.

Not proud.

But I’m not going to pretend like I know it all now just because I watched one PBS special.

What I would like to get into is a reflection on my own spending habits. I’d also like to invite you to join me.

Do we operate from a place of behavioral or economic rationality?

I tend to believe more in the behavioral model than economic rationality.

I also feel like I am one of the few who is anal-retentive about my money. I want to know where every penny is going. If I see a really cute dress, I don’t just buy it. I look around the whole rest of the mall and then decide if it’s still something I need.

If it is, is it worth the money I’d have to fork over to pay for it?

Most usually it’s not. That being said, I have a very western/American sickness. I get this huge high from buying new stuff. Every once in a while, I give in to the behavioral model.

When I say once in a while I mean like once a  year–maybe.

But when I do, I get so happy. I feel like it should bother me. I know it’s wrong. But in that moment, I don’t even care that I’m being an emotional consumer. It feels too good to care.

Typically, when I participate in this indulgence, I later experience buyers’ remorse. It’s been rare few occasions when the spending guilt didn’t lead me to return the items I didn’t truly need.

That being said, I know I’m one of the few that waits to remove tags from my emotionally-charged retail purchases, and one of the fewer who actually returns them within return policy windows.

I truly believe that’s why the stock market is doing well, today, in 2017. The uncertainty of our country’s future has so many people stressed TF out that they’re engaging in emotional spending–providing a temporary boost to retail profits.

Am I an emotional or rational spender?

My spending profile:  Rational consumer with the extremely rare emotional shopping trip thrown in. Typically resolved by buyers’ remorse.
Your spending profile:  ?????

I’d love to hear your answer in the comments! Remember that Femme Frugality is a judgement-free platform. Whatever your answer, we’re interested in exploring your why–without condemning you in any way, shape or form.

 

 

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Overcoming Financial Obstacles as a Black Woman

Today I am so happy to welcome Chonce Maddox of My Debt Epiphany for our next installment of the Intersectional Women’s Finances Series. Today Chonce will share with us her experiences with finances as a black woman in America, including overcoming generational poverty and combating the wage gap–twice.

As a black woman in America, there are so many financial obstacles. Love how she overcame so many!

Growing up I was always told that I had to work twice as hard and be twice as good in order to be successful.

As a black woman in America, I learned about racism, stereotypes, and this nation’s horrific past as I aged.

I never thought much about how being a black woman affects my finances until I started becoming more conscious about improving my financial situation.

Getting Hit Double Time By The Wage Gap

The gender wage gap is something I used to pretend didn’t exist. When I entered the workforce, I didn’t like to talk about money or earnings as I thought it was unprofessional.

When I got a job, I didn’t negotiate or even question my starting rate because I didn’t want to be seen as greedy or unappreciative of the opportunity.

Then I read this statistic and realized that there’s a minority wage gap as well:

According to a study conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), black women made 63% for what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2015. This means that it can take a black woman nearly 8 extra months to be paid what the average white man earns.

When I landed my first job out of college, I started out earning $28,000 per year. I was the only woman in the office. Even though I liked my boss and he seemed fair, I couldn’t bring myself to ask my white male coworkers what they were earning to see if I was being compensated fairly.

Instead, I made sure I spoke up for myself and earned my worth. Each year, my boss gave each employee an annual review and offered a pay raise.

I made sure I came prepared to negotiate a higher hourly rate each year.

As the popular saying goes, ask and you shall receive. Over the course of their careers, women lose out on $500,000 simply due to their failure to ask for a raise.

Statistically speaking, men are usually better with money than women. But I believe that’s because some women lack financial confidence which can make negotiating and earning more difficult.

Note from Femme: Many of the financial planners I know confirm that their male clients tend to be more tuned in to investment strategies and building wealth than their female clients. It’s also interesting to note that we, as a culture, may be perpetuating this cyclical lack of financial confidence by the way we discuss these matters with our daughters.

What Would Be At Stake If I Settle For Low Wages

The gender and racial pay gap is messed up no doubt. But I know I can’t sit around not doing anything about it. I choose to speak up, back up my claims, and demand what I’m worth.

Now that I work for myself, I have the freedom to charge clients whatever I want. Sometimes, it feels super awkward to ask for a raise or raise my rates, but I know it’s the right thing to do as the cost of living and inflation goes up every year.

It was also a mindset shift I had to make. I knew that if I didn’t start earning more, I would never break out of generational poverty.

My parents grew up in the inner city. Their parents didn’t have any wealth and couldn’t afford to send them to college so they didn’t go.

My parents did a great job raising me as best as they could. But they worked blue collar jobs and couldn’t afford to financially fund a college education for my sisters and me as well.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a full free ride to college but some savings would have been helpful. Instead, I knew I’d have to take out student loans. I was fine with it and knew it was necessary if I wanted to take a different approach to getting ahead.

For minority groups with low wages, I feel like so much is at stake. For starters, it’s harder to save and invest when you aren’t earning as much as a man or someone as a different race.

If you choose to go to college, you’ll likely have to take out student loans and it will be harder to pay them back upon graduation due to your low wages.

Having low wages and taking longer to build wealth will really slow things down in terms of getting your nest egg in order and leaving something behind for your children to build on.

Just look at how the average African-American household’s net worth compares to other races.

More Stress, More Work

In terms of black culture, it’s common for women to juggle household tasks, raise children, and maintain a full-time job (if not 2 jobs).

Both my mother and mother-in-law work two jobs. I did, too, at one point. This is not specific to African Americans alone or even women for that matter, but it is more likely.

According to research from the National Institutes of Health, historically, the labor force participation of Black women has been higher and more stable than that of White women.

This doesn’t mean that black women are earning more, but it can mean more stress. According to the study, black women have not reached economic equity with other ethnic/gender groups and tend to be more stressed as a result of the burden.

As a former single mom, I can relate to that stress. However, knowing these statistics and deciding to do something about it is what has allowed me to propel forward.

I know I’m at a disadvantage and the odds are stacked up against me. There’s the gender and race wage gap along with discrimination in the workplace.

However, I believe that there is more than one way to reach success. If I can’t get in by the front door, I’ll try the back door or the window. There are still many career-fields and opportunities for black women to succeed and improve their finances and I hope to explore more of them.

 

Chonce is a personal finance blogger and freelance writer who enjoys sharing debt stories (as she and her husband work their way out of $40,000 in debt) along with talking about saving, budgeting, conscious spending and improving your financial house. In her spare time,she enjoys working out, playing sports with her son, cooking, and thrifting.

Do Good in a World Full of Bad News

The news has been dragging me down lately. Nice to see a way to do good through Charity:Water!

Guys, I don’t know about you, but the world has been a rough place for me since January 20th.

Refugees being turned away from our doors. Leaders in the highest ranks firing people for  dissenting opinions. The very real potential of net neutrality being dismantled. The richest of the rich with no qualifications or experience being placed into positions of power that jeopardize the most voiceless of our population: disabled children. The very nature of reality being questioned–not by philosophers, but by our government.

It’s enough to send you into a panic attack.

Despite my attempts to avoid this constant stream of bad news, it keeps on filling my feed. I have to admit, I’ve occasionally engaged with it. Because I have a hard time keeping silent on things that matter so incredibly much.

In a world full of bad news, I feel like we all deserve a little good. I think we all need the opportunity to do a little good so we don’t fall into the dark madness that has been the past few weeks.

A powerful way we can fulfill that need is through our monetary resources. A powerful way we can curb our despair is by recognizing how fortunate we truly are, despite our struggles.

Without further ado, here is the good news.

clean water for uganda

Ladies in Media Charity:Water Drive

I’ve teamed up with several amazing women in the personal finance media space to raise money for communities around the world that don’t have water. Every day, about 1,400 children die from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

As far as public projects go, a surprisingly small amount can change this situation for an entire community. For just $10,000, a community or school can have access to clean water via drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters.

Am I asking you to donate $10,000?

Psh. No.

But if you’re looking to do some good in the world, I would ask you to consider donating a much smaller amount that fits into your budget. Because with our powers combined, we can tackle this problem.

There are 13 women participating in this drive, and if each of us have 16 readers who contribute $50 within 60 days, we’ll not only reach our goal–we’ll exceed it.

clean water for india

What happens after we reach our goal?

The operational costs of Charity:Water are fully covered by private donors. That means 100% of the $10,000 raised will go directly to this project.

After we reach our goal, Charity:Water will send us photos and GPS coordinates of the community we helped, which I’ll be sure to include here. (So bookmark this page!)

This won’t help solve the crazy political problems we’re facing right now, but it will help a school or community in desperate need get access to clean water.

If the order is reinstated and we start turning people away again, at least we’ll be able to help those who aren’t as fortunate as we are to live in a community with clean water–the most basic of all basic needs.

clean water for cambodia

Okay, I’m in. Where do I donate?

Thanks, rockstar. People like you restore my faith in humanity.

You can donate here. You can use this same page to track our progress.

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