female breadwinner

For most of my life, my mother has been the sole breadwinner in our household. My dad has health issues and stopped working when I was a teenager.

Seeing my mom work hard and pay for everything on her own was simultaneously inspiring and frustrating. I admired her hard work and her ability to bring home the bacon, but I had often wondered if this what she signed up for? The baby boomer generation grew up with shifting gender and career dynamics.

Women were getting out of the kitchen and into the workplace. The feminist movement also brought out the idea of equal rights and equal pay. Because of these various factors, more and more women are becoming breadwinners.

And here I am finding myself as a part of this select group. I’m sure others would agree, but being a female breadwinner isn’t something you choose, rather it’s something that happens because of career choices, illness, or life events — and because you fall in love with someone based on who they are, not their income potential.

[ continue reading… ]

It’s one of the most dreaded moments in a long term friendship. Your friend calls you up, tells you her sad tale of financial woe, and then asks “Is there any way I could borrow X dollars until Y date?” No one likes being put on the spot like this — you feel like saying no will damage your relationship, but you know that money has a terrible habit of damaging relationships. So how do you handle such a request and still feel good about yourself and your friendship (and your own finances) afterwards?

If you need to say no…

If you cannot financially afford to help out your friend, then you have to say no for your own protection. Lifeguards are taught that the only thing more tragic than one person drowning is two people drowning. It’s the same idea with finances — the only thing worse than your friend having financial trouble is if her problems become your problems.

Remember first and foremost that you do not have to explain why you are saying no. Your friend is asking you the favor, and even Miss Manners would not require you to say any more than “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” However, depending on the strength of your friendship or the hardship your friend is facing, you might find yourself wishing you could help even if you don’t have the cash. Why not ask your friend if there are other ways you could help? If the problems are job or career related, offer to network for them or go over their resume. If the issue is credit card debt, offer to connect your friend with some credit counseling. If your friend simply can’t make ends meet this month, offer to cook some meals or even let her crash with you for a few days. The bottom line is that there are many ways to help your friend. You can make sure your friend knows you care without having to jeopardize your own finances.
[ continue reading… ]

love and money
Marc Anthony is credited with saying “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Many successful motivational speakers and businessmen like Warren Buffett tells young people to choose the job they’d pick if they didn’t need the money too.

But is it true? Does pursuit of a dream job always lead to success? There are plenty of people who don’t think so, and they’d warn you that blindly following this advice could not only lead to disillusionment, but becoming the proverbial “starving artist.”

Let’s face it – some of us have passions that aren’t very lucrative, but are rather known for low wages and long hours. Another problem is that most people’s dream careers fall within the same categories: the arts, environmental causes, and the nonprofit sector. This means highly competitive job markets that requires you to be extremely qualified and well-connected to be able to do what you love.

Skeptics of the “do what you love” mentality remind people that the definition of work is what you do to pay for the time and resources to do what you love. This doesn’t mean you should choose a boring 9 to 5 and settle for dreading Mondays, though. I think it’s possible to find a comfortable compromise between the two, and here’s how I recommend doing it.
[ continue reading… ]

neighbors make more money

You look out the window of your home each night after dinner, staring across the street at your neighbors. You long for their fancy cars, their manicured lawns, and even the vacations they seem to take several times a year.

You’re not alone.

I often look out my window, too — staring at the gorgeous homes and cars — wondering how they manage to pay for them. After all, we live in the same neighborhood, our kids go to the same schools, and their salaries aren’t that much more than ours.

There are several reasons that our neighbors can afford so many of the things we would love to have, but could never fathom splurging on:
[ continue reading… ]

One of the most exciting times of everyone’s life is entering the real word as a young adult. Finishing school, getting that first full time job, and venturing out on your own is always an important milestone everyone remembers. It signifies the start of adulthood and finally not being “a kid”. However, for many, the excitement wears off pretty quickly and you then get hit with one of the harshest realities of being an adult: managing your own finances.

Why is it so hard?

Budgeting and learning how to spend your money wisely for the first time is a challenge for everyone. And you’re bound to make mistakes. To make your transition easier, here are four tips to help you survive budgeting in the real world for the first time:
[ continue reading… ]

waste of money
One of the ways to find yourself in financial trouble is to waste your money. In order to get your finances back on track, you need to be able to identify money wasters in your budget, and then make an effort to stop spending money on those items.

Will you spend some time today to improve your financial picture? Here are some questions to ask yourself as you attempt to determine what constitutes a waste of money:

[ continue reading… ]