Category Archives: Think

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 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, 

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?

Discrimination & Business: #WomenRockMoney

What a great initiative! I didn't know just how badly the odds were stacked against women in business. Definitely pitching in to do my part after this read!

Did you know that as of 2016 there were 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States?

True story. Since 2007, the economy at large has only seen an increase of 9% for the establishment of new businesses. But women-owned businesses? Forty-five percent growth.

Businesses run by women have seen a 37% increase in revenue since 2007–ten percentage points higher than the economy at large.

Women aren’t just quietly leaving, establishing new businesses in lieu of being someone else’s employee.

They’re rocking it once they head off on their own.

Women in Big Business

While women are owning the small business sector, it’s a different picture when we look at inclusion in larger sectors. Only 2%-6% of venture capital dollars go to women-owned businesses. And only 8% of venture capital firms have female partners. To top it all off, women-owned businesses are granted only 4% of commercial loans.

Beyond the obvious ridiculousness of this circumstance, it has been proven time and time again that companies with female CEOs or chairmen significantly outperform the broader market. While the world market has seen returns of 11% since 2009, women-led business have seen more than double the growth–25%.

Want to learn more about women and finances? I happen to be writing a book on the very topic: The Feminist Financial Handbook. Sign up for the newsletter to get updates and be one of the first to get a copy!

What the heck is going on?

In a word:


But it would be foolish to think sexism was the only type of oppression at play.

All that growth of women-led small businesses?

Not all of it is for positive reasons. One reason people leave the W-2 grind and head out on their own is unequal pay and marginalization in the workplace. It stands to reason that women would start working for themselves or taking charge and employing others.

This is especially true for black women, who are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in our country. When you consider the added barriers that racism imposes, it’s not surprising that so many women are taking control of their own destiny.

Another form of prejudice that forces women out of these positions is heteronormativity. While office politics are one factor in this oppression, discriminatory state laws play a large role, as well.  From 2005-2014, over one million jobs created by LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs moved to states with inclusive laws and policies for the demographic.

One. Million. Jobs.

What can we do about it?

When you look at these numbers, it’s easy to get discouraged. Angry. Desolate.

But rather than wallowing in that despair, it’s important to recognize that there are things we can do about it if we channel those negative feelings to fuel positive action.

Speak Out

You don’t have to have a huge platform to address systemic oppression. You can address it in your everyday life. When you hear your aunt, co-workers or friends make comments that further reinforce othering, say something about it. Culture changes one opinion at a time.

Stick Up for Each Other

If you have privilege, use it. We’ve seen some high-profile cases of this in Hollywood recently. Perhaps the biggest comes from Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. When Chastain realized that women of color got paid far less than white women, she tied her co-star–Spencer’s–salary to her own, ensuring equal pay.

Invest in Women-Owned Businesses

This leads me to that hashtag in our title today. For those of you who don’t know, today is International Women’s Day. To celebrate I have teamed up with a large group of female personal finance bloggers for the #WomenRockMoney movement.

We’ve got t-shirts and tote bags and the whole deal. As a matter of fact, if you purchase one of these totes or tees, 100% of the proceeds will be split between two amazing organizations: Women’s Money and iFundWomen.

Women’s Money is an organization that runs financial education workshops for women nationwide in both English and Spanish.

iFund Women is a crowdfunding platform that invests in women-owned businesses to get them the capital they need to grow. Essentially, they’re working to rectify some of the horrific statistics we learned about above.

You can give or get involved with either one of these organizations independently, but if you’d like to do so through our movement you can get one of the t-shirts or tote bags here:

Women Rock Money Charity Initiative

End Financial Stress Now

My money script is definitely Money Avoidance. Love the tips this author gives for combatting the negative parts of money management. What's your money script?

I’m all about a good psychological hack–especially when it pertains to managing my finances.

That’s why I was thrilled when Emily Guy Birken offered me a free copy of her book–End Financial Stress Nowto read and reflect on. This tome was heavy on the scientific aspect of our financial psychology. It cites a ton of different studies which reveal our biases and focus on behavioral microeconomics.

Mind Hacks to End Financial Stress Now

If you’re like most Americans and can’t even when it comes to thinking about your money, this book is an incredibly helpful guide for finding some ways to convince your brain to do the right thing–even if it doesn’t want to.

Emily shares a myriad of these hacks of these in the book, but I wanted to pass along a few that really struck me.

Make Smaller Purchases More Frequently

Last year I learned that taking smaller, but more frequent vacations actually gives us more satisfaction than taking a big luxe one.

End Financial Stress Now taught me that the same thing applies to our purchases. We’re way more likely to be happy if we use our money to buy ourselves small things more frequently than we are if we use that same money to save and make one big purchase.

This might sound like an excuse to go on shopping sprees more frequently, but that’s really not the right way to approach it. I loved the example Emily used of having a standing movie date with your bestie every week as opposed to purchasing that super sexy (and expensive) car.

I love this trick because stuff loses its luster, but memories only get better with time. Spending on the latter is a smart way to go about pursuing happiness.

Money Scripts

Emily breaks down four common money scripts in her book:

  • Money Avoidance
  • Money Worship
  • Money Status
  • Money Vigilance

Citing the work of Dr. Bradley Klontz, she delves into these scripts–or stories–we’ve told ourselves about money since our early informative years. She examines how they sometimes overlap and highlights different ways you can combat the negative effects of each one.

My dominant script is money vigilance.

Small Barriers

Another crazy interesting section of the book talked about how we often get tripped up by small barriers lodged within large tasks. For example, I have a myRA. They stopped taking contributions in December. I’ve been getting a lot of notifications from them that I should do something about the money sitting in the account.

I really should. But I haven’t.

I don’t currently have a Roth IRA, and to roll that money over I’m going to have to open one. It’s really important to me to find socially responsible investment options since the money won’t just be in government bonds anymore. And I’d like to use a low-fee robo advisor to do that.

That’s a lot of research and effort, but because of my money vigilance script, I feel like all of it is necessary.

If it’s so necessary, though, why haven’t I done it?

Because I feel like it’s one big, messy, complicated task. And I’m a pretty busy person.

But I took Emily’s advice and broke the seemingly huge task down:

  1. Research best SRI robo advisors, taking expense ratios into account.
  2. Don’t get bogged down by all the research–do it for one hour and then stop.
  3. Open a Roth IRA with my intended robo advisor.
  4. Transfer funds.

This weekend I got through steps one and two, which is much more than I’ve gotten done in the months since I learned they were closing down the myRA program. The small obstacle of doing preliminary research was holding me back.

The Decision

I decided on WealthSimple. While their expense ratios aren’t the lowest, they’re not insanely high. And they have the most diverse SRI options I could find in a robo advisor–at least one that lets you open up a Roth. Plus, I get one year of portfolio management for free.

MyRAs functioned identically to Roth IRAs for tax purposes, so I have to see if I need to open a Roth or simply transfer the myRA. I’ll be making a call on Monday to figure out what I should do.

Later this week, I’ll actually do it.

By breaking the task down, I reduced the stress of each small barrier and was able to keep my vigilant financial habits in check so they did not become destructive via overwhelm and procrastination.


Definitely. This is a super interesting read for those who like psychological hacks. I’ve shared three with you today, but there are so, so many more. If you want to get out of your own way and fix your money, pick up a copy today.


If you had to make an off-the-cuff guess, what would your money script be?

5 Ways to Save the Planet with Your Money

Implementing these over the next couple of days! Big ways you can do your part to help the environment by using your wallet.

As I write, a massive front is passing over the Arctic, bringing the warmest temperatures ever recorded to the region. Meanwhile, Europe is freezing.

Our planet is not messing around. And these are just harbingers of things to come.

How can I save the planet?

I have agonized over this very question for years. Yes, you can recycle. Compost. Drive less. Try to give up your car altogether.

But these things either add up to so very little or are so insanely difficult that they’re discouraging. In the end, you feel like you’re doing nothing.

In my quest to do better, bigger things, I’ve stumbled upon a few reasonable and higher-impact steps we can all take as average, everyday consumers to help save the planet–with our money.

Get Green Energy for Your Home

Obviously, if you’re a homeowner, you can invest in some solar panels. If that upfront investment is too large, though, you can also rent them. The company installs the panels for free, and then charges you an agreed upon monthly premium for the energy and panels themselves. In the end, the costs come out not as dissimilar as you’d imagine.

Not a homeowner? Me, either. But you can still go green with your energy. Many states will let you choose who produces your energy, and some of those energy providers are 100% green. For example, my energy provider uses solar and wind  energy harvested from local farms to power my apartment.

I pay a very slight premium for this–between $10-$20/month more than what my electric bill would have been otherwise. (I don’t have gas in my apartment.)

However, I have had some readers tell me that in their region, switching to a green energy provider actually saved them money.

Build Green

If you’re building your own home, you should take the structure’s carbon footprint into account. We now have the technology and means to build carbon negative buildings. That means the buildings not only don’t put anything bad into the environment, but they also suck up some of the nasty carbon that others are putting into the atmosphere.

You don’t have to build a cobb house or build underground to be green. I had the pleasure of visiting one of these carbon negative buildings, and it looked and functioned just like any other building. There was electricity. AC. Four square walls. Running water.

There were gardens on the roof, but other than that, as a visitor you wouldn’t know it was a green building unless you were told.

If you’re going to invest money into building a new home anyways, there are ways to do so and give more to the planet than an Energy Star fridge.

Green Your Investments

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is when you only invest in stocks or mutual funds that meet certain ethical standards. Maybe you don’t want to be investing in companies that use child labor. Maybe you don’t want to be investing in companies that profit off of tobacco, alcohol or gambling.

And/or maybe you want to invest only in companies that are taking massive steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

SRI is not without controversy. Even though you can purchase SRI index funds, the fact that someone is making moral decisions before including a stock in the fund indicates to some investors that these funds are actively managed–which is typically not a good thing when we’re talking about investing.

But here’s the question:

At the end of the day, are you comfortable investing in companies that are slowly killing the planet just so you can get a bigger return on your investment?

And a followup question:

What good is your money going to do you if your habitat becomes unlivable?

By investing in companies actively working to do better, you’re voting with your wallet for companies that are actually responsible. And when money speaks, it is heard.

Vote with Your Wallet

Investing isn’t the only place you can vote with your wallet. You can support companies making green efforts by evaluating where you shop and what you buy on a day-to-day basis.

A lot of companies will market themselves as green in order to attract customers, but not all of them are committing in a way that matches their words. A good place to find larger brands who are actually trying is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s Power Forward report. Here, companies’ efforts are rated on science rather than marketing.

Support Planet Over Profit

There is a lot of economic pressure to destroy rainforests–the lungs of our planet which consume carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. These habitats are so important to all of us, can help filter out all the ill crap we put into the air, and have been on the decline for decades thanks to deforestation.

The pressure comes from the fact that the people living in these regions can make a lot of money off of selling the natural resources forests provide.

For example, the tiny country of Bhutan does a great service to the world by preserving its rainforest and providing water to one-fifth of the world. The country isn’t just carbon neutral–it’s carbon negative.

It has a plan to continue doing that–to continue keeping global warming at bay for as long as possible for the rest of us–but there’s one problem: their economy doesn’t produce the capital they need to continue their work.

So they’re raising money through the WWF. Donate.

There are other efforts to pay people to not sell these natural resources–to fiscally reward them to conserve the environment even when doing the opposite would be quite profitable. These are called carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets have a history of being shady; maybe the money you’re donating is going to the right place, or maybe it isn’t. That makes it important to work with an organization you trust before purchasing one of these offsets.

A great place to find legitimate carbon offsets is this list compiled by Climate Action Reserve.


What are you doing to help save the planet? Leave your answers in the comments!

The Earned Income Credit: Why It’s Not Cool to Hate on Poor People

Whoa these are some pretty bold but admittedly persuasive arguments. Low-income people are the ones who benefit most from the EIC--major corporations are! Also, I wasn't sure if I'd qualify for this credit since I'm middle class, but it turns out I do.

The Earned Income Credit (or EIC) is a tax credit that’s available to low-income Americans. As it’s a credit and not a deduction, filing for it often results in people getting a refund, and a large refund at that.

It’s been called the biggest cash-assistance program in the country. And you don’t have to be on welfare to get it.

But before you get outraged about this credit that you work so hard and pay taxes to supply, consider this:

  • The people receiving the EIC (or EITC) are working and paying taxes, too. The amount you get refunded is proportionate to the amount you make. It drops off after reaching a certain income, like a bell curve.
  • It’s been argued and proven through research that it actually encourages work rather than collecting welfare.
  • It’s also been argued that it’s a minimum wage subsidy. It’s no secret that big companies own our government.  This tax credit has been issued and renewed by Republicans and Democrats alike over the years. (Think Reagan and Clinton just to name a couple.)

    Instead of raising minimum wage, the government compensates people who live on wages that can’t even accumulate to higher than the poverty line at full-time by giving them back a chunk of money every April. Companies don’t have to pay their workers as much as a result.

    The biggest beneficiaries from this credit are not the low-income recipients, but the mega corporations that aren’t required to pay their workers a living wage.

The minimum wage vs. the cost of living is so disproportionate right now that many states have proposed to raise it to a rate where anyone working  a full-time job would make enough to be above the poverty-line.

Would this be better or worse for low-income workers?  Would it disqualify them from receiving the EIC? Would the raise compensate for the refund lost? It would all depend on how much you’re making and how the tax law changes impact you over the next couple of years.

Want to claim this credit, but don’t know how? Or think you won’t qualify? You’d be surprised. Get free help with your taxes from the VITA program. Or, if you prefer filing online, check out MyFreeTaxes, which is free even for middle-income earners and small business owners.

For example, if you’re one of those imaginary people popping out babies to get the most out of the system, you know that right now you max out your EIC “earning” opportunities with three children. I wouldn’t have a baby this year simply for tax purposes.  Because next season you’ll max out at two.

UPDATE: Since the writing of this post, legislation passed that extended the 3 child limit.

Low-Income Households Aren’t the Biggest EIC Beneficiary

But proportionately there are so few people who work the system as opposed to people who are in the system because they’re really trying to make life work.

The biggest problem in our government spending isn’t the poor.  The bigger problem is the rich who would impose subsidies on everything from sugar cane to the everglades to the minimum wage so that they can make even more money.

And that’s on both sides of the aisle.

Have a little sympathy for those celebrating a brief relief from their struggles this spring.

Featured on JLCOLLINSNH:  VITA, income taxes and the IRS