After the grueling pace of graduate school, obtaining that advanced degree and finding a great professional career path, many women can finally turn their attention to other life choices. One choice they’ll be faced with is what to do with the substantial student loan debt. More importantly, how do they balance enjoyment of life while paying off those looming loans, as well as all the other pressures women face? Women hold nearly two-thirds of the current student loan debt in the United States, and “women working full-time with college degrees make 26 percent less than their male colleagues” according to a study by the American Association of University Women. That means that as a busy professional woman, you are not alone in feeling the challenge of trying to balance career, life and your loans.
There are times when imagining the worst-case scenario helps you prepare most effectively for the best case. The transition of a family or closely held business is one of those times. Harvard Business School reports at least half of all companies in the U.S. are family businesses — and just over half of all publicly listed companies in the U.S. are family owned. But the most-cited family business statistic is from John Ward’s seminal study finding only 30 percent of firms survive through the second generation; 13 percent survive the third generation and only 3 percent survive beyond that. The Family Business Institute identifies a major cause as the failure to imagine and plan for worst-case situations that could dramatically affect not only ownership succession, but management succession planning and leadership development.
Your marriage isn’t working. You respect each other but have drifted apart over the years, for whatever reason. Now you and your spouse have decided to divorce and close this chapter of your lives. You’ve heard the stories and perhaps witnessed a few horrors through friends or family who have divorced. That doesn’t mean you need to have the same experience.
If you have ever recycled at home, avoided products made overseas by sweatshop labor, grown your own vegetables, supported gender and racial diversity, or owned a fuel-efficient car, then you may be surprised to discover your investments can be working against your values. Do you know what’s in your portfolio? How can you find out what your money is supporting? Old and new values investing Evaluating your portfolio using traditional socially responsible investing or SRI analysis has been around for a long time. The process involves an investment style that includes or excludes companies in a portfolio based on screens using social, moral, ethical and religious criteria.
Flowers … chocolate … 401k? Let’s face it — talking money and financial planning with your significant other on a “date” may not be your first choice for spending quality time together. Even in the best of relationships, discussing money and finances can send two people running in opposite directions. Yet, establishing the habit of scheduling an annual financial date night nurtures your long-term relationship and future together.
Your annual physical checkup and health screenings are scheduled. Your dental checkups, and perhaps those for your spouse and children, are on your calendar or smartphone. Yet many people fail to schedule time for a regular financial-health checkup.
Retirement plans demonstrate the wisdom of the proverb “two heads are better than one” — a proverb that always brings to mind the music from the classic Sesame Street video. Now, the “two heads” can be you and your spouse, or you and your financial advisor, but you can also benefit from encouraging a dialogue between the income-you and the spending-you. Your retirement spending plan
The spending side of you can be a lot of fun. Start with what you’re spending right now on a monthly and annual basis for every category. (If you don’t know for sure, start tracking and patterns will emerge.) Next, take your current consumption level and develop a version for your spending in retirement.
The financial headlines can be hazardous to your sleep health in retirement. It is easy to get the jitters and start worrying that you should do something, anything but stay on your current financial course. Yet it rarely makes sense to panic and sell your holdings. Over the years, I have developed a list of five ways to help you avoid the sleepless nights in retirement that financial headlines can bring.
At the wedding, who thinks those two little words “I do” might suddenly lead to the four words “I want a divorce”? No one expects to get divorced. But now that you’ve heard (or uttered) those four words, what do you do? Divorce happens
Take a deep breath and know that you are not alone. Divorce happens, and it happens to a lot of people.
The holiday season is upon us. While many families will enjoy each other’s company amidst the festivities, there will be some who experience awkward moments or learn surprising facts about a loved one. In fact, this time of year can be quite character-revealing. Perhaps you will learn some new tidbits about certain relatives that cause you to second-guess certain estate planning decisions you have made. Have you ever joked about cutting someone out of your will?