Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

Help Boomers with their Money and Earn Mad Cash

I have the perfect idea for this! Really cool contest that pays you money for coming up with FinTech solutions for baby boomers!

I love FinTech. I love apps that help people save money and apps that help people make it to payday without going broke or taking on massive amounts of debt. In 2015, when I was picking an event to volunteer for at FinCon, I made it a point to hop on the FinTech competition.

Largely, FinTech is aimed at millennials. It makes sense. We were the first generation raised with the internet, so we’re tech savvy. We also tend to be fiercely brand loyal. We’re a generation that makes up a quarter of the population, and we haven’t even reached our peak earning years yet. We’re good for quick wins, but also great for the long-game if we can be secured as customers today while we’re still working on amassing our wealth.

However, nearly a whole other quarter of the population, with less than one million fewer people, controls 70% of this country’s disposable income. They’re older, though, and therefore not seen as the same quick win as millennials in the tech sector.

These people are baby boomers, and despite being the largest generation at their peak, they have ended up largely under-served by the FinTech community. Creating apps and platforms for people who didn’t grow up with technology is more challenging and not perceived to be as sexy. But there are dollars to be made, and solutions to be created.

Baby Boomer Money Problems FinTech Could Address

Serving the under-served baby boomers means coming up with creative and intuitive FinTech that addresses the unique financial situations boomers find themselves in. These include:

  • Retirement. Many don’t have enough money for it. Besides 401(k)s, IRAs and pensions, you’re also looking at things like social security as real means of daily provision.
  • Wills and estates. We should all be taking care of this now, especially if we have kids, but for baby boomers, it’s more pressing of a generational issue.
  • Disability. The longer you live, the more likely this is to be a financial issue. Baby boomers are living longer and retiring later than previous generations, so it is a heightened financial concern.
  • Bucket lists. While it may be trendy for millennials to tick off their bucket lists before they turn 30, boomers took a more traditional approach. They worked their whole life, waiting for retirement to finally do all the grand things they had always dreamed of. Unfortunately, most of them haven’t saved enough money to make these dreams a reality. Are there ways we can change that now, to adjust their finances so they can achieve their dreams?
  • Spending on grandkids. Or anything, really. I only mention grandkids because I know my own children are largely spoiled by their boomer family members. But boomers, despite not having enough money saved, do still have a large portion of this country’s wealth in their control. (Maybe the seeming discrepancy is due to the growing wealth gap.) Are there ways FinTech could help them make those spending decisions in fulfilling,  yet wise, ways?

My list is by no means all-inclusive. There are other issues this generation faces financially. There are additional solutions that need to be created.

Your Creativity Could Earn You Mad Cash

There is a need for creativity to solve these problems, but knowing how to code an app isn’t a requisite for dreaming up creative solutions.

CO-OP Financial Services recognizes that need, and recognizes that this generation remains largely under-served. That’s why they’ve put together The Financial Longevity Challenge. The challenge invites everyone, techy or not, to submit their creative, technology-based solutions to some of the financial hurdles boomers face.

Have an idea? If yours is chosen as one of the best, you’ll get to split a $10,000 prize with other thought leaders. There can be up to five winners, meaning the prize will be $2,000 at least, but that’s only if there are five worthy ideas. You could end up winning more.

If you want to participate, be sure to get your idea in by November 27th.

Ready? Set? GO!

This Year’s Top Ideas

UPDATE! This year’s top ideas have been chosen! There were five of them, and they were pretty phenomenal, addressing a wide range of issues:


Originator: Natalie LeRoy, Chicago, Illinois.

Idea: This initiative seeks to help those over 50 who are looking to relocate or change their living situation to reflect their current life circumstances. Through a web and mobile platform, “Rightsize” will help users develop their ideas about retirement, housing and lifestyle and transition them into reality. Users are able to build a fiscal profile and check in with a self-guided map, get relevant information from the news and other users, as well as connect to resources and services.

The “Not So Retired Life” Podcast

Originator: Rachel Rosenbaum, Detroit Michigan.

Idea: This initiative seeks to empower individuals over 50 years old to re-frame the way they approach retirement so they can live a long, fulfilling life, in a financially-sustainable way. This proposed podcast will share stories of the real experiences of people in their late careers/early retirement. The plan calls for leveraging local journalists, entrepreneurs, credit-unions, and/or communities to find initial sponsors and interviewers.

All Generation Friendly ATM

Originator: Freddy Shimabukuro, Pueblo Libre, (Lima), Peru, in collaboration with the Peru Chapter of the OpenIDEO Community.

Idea: The Friendly ATM will give credit union members more confidence when using ATMs by allowing them to take time when setting up transaction details while they are at home. Once transactions details are confirmed, the transaction will be automatically brought up then next time the user logs-in to an ATM. This will minimize the time that credit union members spend in being vulnerable at physical ATM locations.

Leverage Trust to Create Personal Pensions

Originator: Wingee Sin, South San Francisco, California.

Idea: This initiative seeks to create personal pension products for individuals and distribute them via credit unions. It will support the dreams and obligations of 50-plus consumers by creating a steady income stream from their earlier savings. It will leverage the credit union client relationships and physical distribution network to offer individualized pension plans at scale.

Incubator Club for Credit Union Members

Originator: Lillian J. Warner, New York, New York. Warner is among a team of graduate students from New York University, under the tutelage of Anne-Laure Fayard, Associate Professor of Management in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation.

Idea: This team proposes an “incubator” for credit union members over 50, where they can pursue their small business dreams and connect with their community. In this way, people in this age group can remain active, develop a project they always wanted to work on and help someone by providing expertise. The club will provide support, resources and networking opportunities to its members.


What do you guys think? Have a favorite?

If you’re bummed that you missed it, no worries. This contest has been going on since 2011, so I’m willing to bet it will be around next year, too. Keep an eye out for it in the Fall!


Why Online Entrepreneurs Need a Plan B

Um, this was my Plan B. Important food for thought for all online entrepreneurs about the threat of net neutrality.

A couple of years ago, a regional work shortage pulled the rug out from under my hours at my day job. Luckily, I wasn’t a one-trick pony. I had this hobby called blogging that had turned into a side hustle in freelance writing and editing.

That hustle turned into my full-time job when that unexpected shortage happened. I was glad because, as many of us preach, it’s always good to have a plan B.

A lot of online entrepreneurs’ stories are similar. I use the word entrepreneur but really mean to include those who are self-employed (like me) or work remotely thanks the to the internet. We either lost our jobs or started making enough money online that there was no need to continue with old employers.

But do we have a plan B now? I’d argue that many of us do not. This was our plan B, and we’re proud of that. But not too many of us have an exit strategy should the floor fall out from our online journeys.

Net Neutrality and Online Entrepreneurship

Regardless of your politics, the placement of known advocates of the dismantlement of net neutrality into positions of power should be a huge wake up call. We’re in a time of massive transition in this country, and we don’t really know how things are going to turn out.

If net neutrality is dismantled, internet users will essentially have to pay for data like we do on our cell phones. Switching over to “WiFi” won’t save us anymore.

How sure are you that users will dedicate their precious data to browsing your site? Especially if you haven’t paid a premium to have your site load quickly with any given internet service provider?

How sure are you that your clients aren’t in the same boat?

How sure are you that you’ll be able to afford the data you need in order to complete your job–and still make a profit?

Another thing that could happen without net neutrality is that certain sites, likely those of larger corporations who have deeper pockets, will be able to pay service providers so that their sites don’t count towards a user’s monthly data allotment. AT&T already does this with their cell data.

I’m willing to bet there would be mega financial institutions willing to pay for their personal finance content to be sponsored. It would mean I’d have a much harder time attracting visitors to Femme Frugality, even though I’m proud of my content and think it adds a different value than that of those who are in the market solely to profit off of consumers.

Then there’s the manipulation of search engine results by different providers, and the not unrelated fact that net neutrality combats racism, classism and oppression of voices that would otherwise remain unheard.

You might feel confident in  your business model–maybe even confident enough that the loss of net neutrality doesn’t concern you.

But at the end of the day, are you willing to risk it? Are you willing to put all of your eggs in one basket labelled “online income”?

Analog Side Hustles

I’ve decided that 2017 will be the year that I pursue analog side hustles. I’ll be kickin’ it like it’s 1993–no internet allowed. Not for marketing. Not for production. Maybe to look up the occasional phone number and to do research while I still have access to a free web.

Some ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Art. Because it’s important in a time like this. And it’s marketable at the local level.
  • Writing children’s books. Because the husband and I have some pretty splashy ideas and my kids love the feel of paper between their fingers.
  • Maintaining ties at my old day job. I loved my old day job. It doesn’t pay as much as this does, but I still maintain it as a side hustle. I’d open up my availability should the internet become more closed off.
  • Print copywriting. If the overhead for online content becomes too high, I could always look at marketing my skills in print at the local level. I’m thinking for small businesses in particular, but I could look at print magazines, as well.
  • Opening a music studio. Between the husband and I, we could teach all kinds of music instruction.

Hopefully none of this comes to pass. Hopefully I’m wrong and paranoid and our judicial system will keep the other branches of our government in check.

But there is a chance that I’m not. Just like I didn’t anticipate the work shortage a few years ago, there’s no crystal ball that tells us the internet will look the same in the next year, four years or eight years.

I think it’s important that we practice what we preach, and don’t become one-dimensional simply because we’ve found a way to make a living online. We made it work with our initial Plan B’s, but it’s time to draft some new ones.

Stranger in My Native Land: Asian American Money

Today, Revanche of A Gai Shan Life  joins us for our weekly Friday series on women’s money issues in honor of Women’s Money Week, which will take place January 1-7, 2017. Revanche covers the xenophobia and racism she has encountered in her lifetime as it pertains to her finances as an Asian-American woman.

Please use the hashtag #WMWeek17 when sharing this story.

I never would have thought of the ways that prejudice can make Asian-American women feel like strangers in their native country--especially financially.

Stranger in a Strange Land: My Native Country

As a first generation American, I see my home country through different eyes than most. Not because I don’t consider myself American. Of course I am, as much as anyone who isn’t a First Nation native can be – I was born here, a natural citizen.

But I have dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin and no nose bridge to speak of, so the correct answer to “where are you from?” can be Japan, The Philippines, China, Cambodia–anywhere but here. California, or Los Angeles, are unacceptable answers. I can’t be from here. I’m not white.

Why does this matter? In some cases, it makes no difference. What harm do I suffer if the cabbie wonders if I’m from that one country he visited, or the other country whose cuisine he likes?


In most other cases, however, it matters a great deal, indeed.

The Financial Costs of Being a Target

It matters when you’re a target to profit from, based on your race. I saw this play out most immediately with Mom and had to get involved at a very early age. Her accent meant that vendors would dismiss her, disregard their own policies, overcharge, and fail to deliver. She had an accent and that made her stupid and unimportant, they decided.

Angry and frustrated sitting beside her listening in to one such conversation, I got on the phone, all of 9 years old but speaking in English unaccented, demanding that they honor the agreed-upon terms. Magically their inability to do so melted away. From then on, I made the phone calls, whether to renegotiate contracts, dispute billing errors or just to get simple information.

Being an Asian-American Woman in the Workplace

It matters when you hear and understand anti-immigrant rhetoric–when you realize that white or European immigrants are now acceptable, but the people who look like me or my friends are “immigrants taking the good jobs.” No matter that I’ve been a star in the workplace since I was 17; to those people, my race and my skin color define me, not my professionalism, work ethic or performance.

As Taylor pointed out, it’s tough enough to make it in the workplace as a woman with the wage gap. As a woman of color, racial stereotypes further impacts your ability to earn a living. So it matters a great deal when employers and colleagues consider you a “minority quota hire” on sight.

It matters when your first manager has a (well-known, internally) obsession with Asian women so his hires were dismissed as objects of his obsession. Work performance made no difference; they couldn’t earn raises or promotions because they were hired based on their appearance–nothing more–so far as the management was concerned.

A Long Way to Go to Eradicate Racism, Xenophobia and Prejudice

Twenty years later, the racism we face is still astonishing. Not more than a year ago, we were calling a mechanic’s shop regarding services and the shop owner declared he wouldn’t help people with accents. We don’t have accents, but he was suspicious and wanted to be sure, you see, that he wouldn’t have to deal with a lesser form of American. “Those people”, he calls them.

My white friends rallied to the cause, of course, offering to call him with their Canadian, British, Australian, and Scottish accents.

My perceived youth, completely normal for an Asian, still comes up when my performance is evaluated, more than my results. I still have to jump through more hoops than any other manager to ensure that I’m being taken seriously as a professional because my years aren’t worn on my face.

I am always mindful of the active racism that lingers in many fellow citizens when I look out for our money. I always get a second and third quote for services.

I’m not bitter about my particular journey, but I am frustrated that this is all old hat. I’m frustrated that my child will also be held up to a standard that takes into consideration zir racial appearance first, zir skills and results second–or last.

It’s not just Asian Americans

Despite all the barriers I’ve faced, the level of racism that I encounter on a daily basis is mild. Asians are the “model minority” so we don’t come in for the same degree of hate that other non-white minorities experience. We’re dismissed, demeaned, underestimated. But we’re considered harmless in the end. If you’re Hispanic or black, you always have to appear calm and collected, otherwise you’re a harridan or an angry Black woman.

I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to be them, I hear their stories and, to this day, I can only shake my head when people declare that we’re post-racism. The recent election, and the surge in hate for Jews and minorities since, clearly points up the fact that many Americans are in favor of racism.

Racism isn’t limited to the white residents of this country, of course, I’ve witnessed racism between non-white races, towards one another, and that also contributes to the wider harms done to our fellow citizens.

Xenophobia and racism are complex issues in this country and it’s critical to know that they are both present in the structure of this country.

It’s critical to know that people who object to hiring for diversity, stating they shouldn’t have to “lower standards,” are telling us what they believe: only a heterosexual white male can meet standards because that is the standard. Not skills, not experience, but race and sex. Anyone else, therefore, is naturally lowering the standard.

It’s critical to know that minority, women, disabled, LGBTQIA, any otherwise not standard issue white male candidates do indeed have the necessary talents and skills necessary to do the job. It’s our job to remove artificial barriers to finding them when you recruit new hires.

It’s critical to know that we have to actively dismantle our biases that point to hiring the people who look the same or fit the same “culture”, that manages to consistently avoid admitting minorities beyond the token woman, or token Asian, or token Black man, that consistently builds and maintains racist structures in which managers can refer to their colleagues as racial slurs.

These are complex issues. I can hardly do them justice here, but they’re worthwhile to tackle.

This country was built on the bones of Natives, with the blood of immigrants, and we must grow beyond what and where we are.

We have to start somewhere. We can’t avoid it simply because we aren’t able to solve it overnight.

Making it as a Woman in the World of Finance

So great that there are more opportunities for women in finances---now let's work to erradicate the sexism!

The world of finance was once an impenetrable male-dominated field. However, things are starting to change and there are many more job opportunities for women. The financial industry has a lot of great jobs to offer to women who are looking for the perfect career path.

What Types of Jobs Are There?

The financial world is quite large and there are plenty of opportunities for everyone when it comes to finding a career. If you take the time to find the right job that’s a perfect fit for you then you can make good money and have a decent life for you and your family. There is no end to what you can do if you put your mind to it, and the list of jobs is fairly long:

  • Asset Manager – Process that involves maintaining a client’s assets.
  • Mortgage Officer – Sometimes called a loan officer, this job’s objective is to recommend individual and business loan applications for approval.
  • Investment Advisor Representative – Manages and recommends to securities to clients.
  • Money Manager – Someone who is responsible for managing securities portfolio.
  • Investment Advisor – Someone that will help and advise you on what you should or should not invest your money in.
  • Financial Planner – Someone who helps companies and individuals plan and meet their long-term financial goals.

These are just a few of the jobs available in finance. A majority of these jobs have always been dominated by males, but as the years progress and things slowly start to change, more opportunities are opening up for women to take on these jobs and climb the ladder of success.

Obstacles for Women in Finance

As long as there are more people willing to take the steps to move forward, women will be able to take huge strides in the financial world and could make it to top executive status. That’s not to say it will be an easy journey; sexism is still more than present in the world of finances. But if women continue pursuing these lucrative job opportunities and fighting the good fight, we can work to battle internalized cultural stereotypes.

If more companies take the responsibility to make sure women know about career opportunities and let them know that there will be plenty of chances to advance in this field regardless of their gender, then the financial world will start seeing a lot of great minds working to make everyone’s lives far better than they have been in the past.

This post is brought to you and contributed by Abby Locker.

How to Claim Your Unclaimed Money and Avoid Scams

This totally happened to my husband! He had unclaimed money in the state treasury, but someone still tried to get him with this scam.

Do you have unclaimed money sitting around just waiting for you?

Believe it or not, you may, and you could find it sitting in your state treasury.

When a business or other entity tries to issue a payment to you, but they are not able to reach you, they don’t just get to pocket it. They have to deposit it with your state.

Maybe you moved and they didn’t know  your new address. Maybe you were set up on direct deposit and switched bank accounts. Whatever the reason for the discrepancy, the money must eventually makes its way to the state for safe keeping.

How to Get What’s Yours: Unclaimed Money

To check and see if you have any funds waiting, you can use this interactive tool to find the landing page for unclaimed money for your, specific state.

From there, you’ll be able to search your state’s treasury to see if there is any money waiting in your name. If there is, it will pop up with some basic information, including the last address on file and the name of the company that originally issued the payment.

You will not know exactly how much you have waiting for you, even if something pops up. In my home state of Pennsylvania, the treasury classifies funds as “over $100” or “under $100.” You won’t know the exact number until you receive the check in the mail.

Before you receive that check in the mail, you have to fill out some paperwork. You can print it out from your state treasury’s website or request that a hard copy be mailed to you. You’ll have to verify that you are the person who is owed money and sign the supporting documentation in front of a notary.

After the treasury has received your paperwork, they will issue you your long, lost check.

We did this years ago, and while we didn’t turn anything up for ourselves, we did find something for my mother-in-law. It turns out she had a final paycheck waiting for her from a past employer. She had fought them over it at the time, but got tired of the battle. Apparently they eventually realized she was right, but not before losing contact with her.

It was nice for her to receive a legit paycheck in retirement!

How to Avoid Scams Related to Unclaimed Money

Recently, the husband received a letter in the mail. In this letter, the company told him he had unclaimed funds amounting to around $2,000. They did have a specific amount, which I’m not sure how they got, but I’m not sharing his personal info on the internet.

To claim them, all he had to do was fill out the enclosed paperwork certifying that they would get a 15% cut. That would have been around $300.


They weren’t completely misleading—he did have unclaimed money waiting for him with the state treasury amounting to the same figure that they laid out. But they didn’t disclose that he could get the money on his own—without paying anyone commission—simply by going to the state’s website and filing the paperwork himself.

Which we did. It turns out that big check was an insurance claim that he had fought for and subsequently given up on, even though they really owed it to him. The insurance company eventually figured that out, too, though I’m not sure how they “lost touch” with him since he’s had continuous policies with them for years.

There was an added bonus we discovered, too–an over payment on school district taxes.

The moral of the story is two-fold:

  1. Check your state treasury’s for unclaimed money regularly. Just because you don’t have money in there today doesn’t mean you won’t in six months.
  2. Never ever release personal information or pay someone a commission to file simple paperwork for you. If they say they’ve got money for you, there’s no reason you should have to pay them to access it. Do some digging, find out where the money is and go get it yourself.
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