Women in Finance Symposium

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

As I’ve discussed in the past, your career is closely tied to your financial health.  I try to go to networking events and professional panels whenever I can so that I can strengthen my ability to develop skills and move forward in my career.  Since March is Women’s History Month, I’ve found that many organizations have hosted events specifically geared towards helping women develop skills to advance in the workplace. 

Well, it looks like the U.S. government is also providing some help in this area.  The U.S. Department of Treasury is hosting a Women in Finance Symposium on Monday, March 29 between 10 am and 2 pm.    The panel will include Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair and many others.  The panel will discuss how they achieved success in the financial world and will answer questions submitted by students and young professionals.  Questions can be emailed to the panel at the following website: WomenInFinance@do.treas.gov.

You have until the close of business on Friday, March 26 to submit your question.  Treasury is also recommending that people gather for “watch parties.”   The symposium will be moderated by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo.

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Family and money (and Black Enterprise Magazine!)

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

There are always questions about nature vs. nurture.  Why do we do the things we do?  Is it our genes or is it our environment?  I believe we are shaped by both genetics and our surroundings.   So I believe that the way I deal with my money is a function of what my parents have handed down to me through their genes and through the way they raised me.

There is an article about me in the April 2010 issue of Black Enterprise Magazine (click here to read it!).  The article profiles me and discusses some of my money tips and how I have managed my money.  The article also discusses the influence my parents and more specifically, the influence my dad has had on my money management.  I grew up watching my dad mind his money, restrain himself from buying extravagant things and maintain a modest life style so that he was able to support his family, pay for  retire at age 60.  I still call my dad when making financial decisions because I respect his money management style.

How have you been affected by the way your parents or the people around you have managed their money?  Do you feel like they passed along information or skills that have made you a financial success?  Or have you had to overcome some bad habits and lack of information?

No matter where you started out, remember that you can control your financial destiny.

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New Year, New Look

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

You  may have noticed some changes to my website and my blog.  I’m revamping my website and separating the blog from the business site. 

I will continue to make changes over the next month or so but I will still be posting and you can still find me through www.allmanfinancialplanning.com (just click on the “blog” tab and then click on the link).  Or, you can come straight to the blog by typing in www.yourmoneyandyourmind.wordpress.com.   Enjoy!

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What To Do if You Lose Your Job

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Nancy Pascal

I recently conducted an interview with Nancy Pascal, a career coach.  I asked her to discuss career and job issues since jobs and money are so clearly interconnected.

I met Nancy in the summer of 2008.  I was a corporate attorney at a large, international law firm.  I realized that the work I was doing at the firm was not my passion and did not match up with my values.  While the firm had impressive clients who were creating ground breaking investment products, I felt that I should be doing more to help people rather than financial institutions.  As I was wandering from career book to career book in an attempt to stumble across my dream job, I met Nancy and began working with her to seek out a new, more fulfilling position.

I can honestly say that Nancy knows her stuff.  She is well versed in resume and cover letter writing.  But beyond the basic job hunting skills, she also has a talent for helping a person hone in on their skills and talents in a way that can help lead them to a fulfilling career.

I asked Nancy to list the most important things that a person should do immediately after getting laid off.

Kim: When someone loses his or her job, what is the first thing that person should do?

Nancy: No matter how shook up you are, ask questions about the situation and negotiate with your employer.  The time to negotiate is at that moment.

Kim: What if you forget or something prevents you from negotiating at the moment you get laid off?

Nancy:  You want to negotiate as soon as possible.  Once you are off the premises, it is much easier for your former employer to say “no” to any of your requests.  If you think you are going to be laid off, pay attention to what kind of severance packages have been handed out in the past.  And remember that you can negotiate anything.  If you need additional healthcare, ask for it.  You may not get what you want but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  And remember: you don’t need to sign anything on the spot.

Kim: So you can take an agreement with you?

Nancy: Yes.  You should take time to review it with a clear head so that you can think it over.  Also, try to get references in writing before you leave the office.  You have more leverage while you’re still there in the office.

Kim:  Once you have been laid off and you’re out of the office, what is the next thing that a person should do?

Nancy:  Decompress.  It’s ok to take a break.  You don’t have to immediately jump right in to searching for a job.  You should take some time to regroup and lick your wounds.  Even if you expect to be laid of or you hate your job so much that you want to be laid off, it will affect your ego.  You need time to deal with that.

Kim: What next?

Nancy: Set up a schedule and a routine.  Don’t get sedentary and don’t lose focus.  Set up a time to wake up and a time for lunch.  Try to stay structured.  Getting a job is your new job and you need to have structure to do this.

Kim:  So now that you have a structured day, what do you do to increase your chances at finding a job?

Nancy:  Make sure that you are up to date on all social networks.  Review your contacts and who you know to see if your network can help you find a new position.

Kim:  Any final recommendations?

Nancy:  File for unemployment ASAP.  People often wait or their pride gets in the way so they don’t file right away.  You don’t know how long you will be out of work and it’s best to file for unemployment as soon as you can.

Categories: Jobs Tags: , , ,

Getting Answers to Your Career and Job Questions

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s hard to manage your money when you don’t have any.  Unless you are born wealthy, your job and your salary have a lot to do with you ability to handle your finances. Maybe you are having difficulty managing you finances because you are struggling to find work that will allow you to financially support yourself.  Or maybe you are concerned about leaving a high paying job to pursue a less lucrative career.

There are a lot of new career and job issues that have popped up due to the changes in the economy.  In an effort to address these issues, I have asked Nancy Pascal, a Career Coach, to be my guest blogger for February.   Ms. Pascal is a career specialist who counsels individuals on career transitions.  She spent over ten years as a recruiter where she focused on diversity recruiting.  Ms. Pascal is sought after for her career coaching, her deep understanding of the employment marketplace and her ability to use such understanding to advise and match employers and candidates successfully.  Ms.  Pascal has conducted several workshops and has been invited to speak on numerous panels regarding career opportunities.

Throughout February, Ms. Pascal will post information regarding some commonly asked career questions and issues.  But, she will also answer your specific job and career questions.   Do you have questions about negotiating a severance package that you know is coming down the pipeline?  Do you need information on interviewing?  How about ways to deal with issues or conflicts with your current job or boss?  If you would like some answers, please send your questions to careeranswers08@aol.com.  Your information will be kept confidential so don’t be afraid to ask your most pressing career and job questions.

Categories: Jobs

Do You Need Financial Help?

January 27, 2010 1 comment

I’m not always sure what pops into people’s heads when they hear the term “financial planner.”  Before I decided to pursue financial planning as a profession, I generally believed that financial planners spent most of their time selling insurance or investment products.  And to be honest, this characterization is one of the reasons I did not pursue financial planning a long time ago.  I did not want to be a sales person and I wanted to focus on helping people rather than convincing them to purchase a particular product. 

But I gradually learned about different types of financial planners and I decided to open a practice where clients would not feel pressured to purchase products.  I wanted to provide no-strings attached financial advice to people who wanted to responsibly manage their money.   So I started a fee-only financial planning practice. 

So you may be wondering: is financial planning for me?  Some reasons to use a financial planner include the following:

  • You have no interest or time to manage my finances
  • You would like confirmation that you’re making the correct financial decisions given your goals  
  • You  have a special situation that requires more complicated financial analysis (e.g., chronic illness, special needs child, self-employed)
  • You can’t get your spending under control
  • You need help eliminating your debt

But if you’re still not sure or would like more information on what a financial planner can do for you, I recommend this New York Times article.  As the article mentions, wealthy families have relied on financial planners for years and ” paying for advice is as natural as paying the landscaper.”  But more and more non-wealthy Americans are finding that a financial planner can provide a financial checkup or financial guidance that can help them get on the right track.  Do you fall into any of the groups of people who could use professional financial help?

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How to Right the Wrongs

January 20, 2010 3 comments

Last week, I wrote about not letting credit run your life.  I stand by that, but that doesn’t mean that credit isn’t important for many aspects of your life.  Potential landlords and employers may check your report for judgments and delinquencies.  And most of us are aware of how important your credit score is in getting the best rates on a mortgage or a loan for a car or education. 

Because of this, it is important to regularly check your credit reports to make sure the information is correct and that you aren’t a victim of identity theft.  To do this you have to actually see your credit report.  Luckily, you have a right to a credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once a year.  To get your reports, go to www.annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228 or write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.  

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials for freecreditreport.com and freescore.com.  Ignore these sites.  www.annualcreditreport.com is the official website to get your free credit report.  The other sites often charge you for monitoring services and they aren’t always upfront about it (see a New York Times article discussing these issues here).

So, now that you know the right way to get your credit report, you are going to pull all three credit reports.  Look at each report carefully.  Is your name correct?  Birth date?  Accounts?  You’re looking for errors and you need to look carefully.  Does your report list accounts that you never opened?   So what do you do?  Who do you speak with?

  1. Write to each credit bureau (see the links above for addresses)
  2. Include your full name, date of birth, social security number, current mailing address, name and account number of the creditor and item in question, the specific reason for your disagreement and your signature
  3. Send the letters certified mail with return receipt

Click here for a sample dispute letter.  The information in italics should be personalized.

If the agency will not remove the erroneous information, you are entitled to include a 100 word statement explaining your side of the story.

So what do you do once you’ve seen the reports and confirmed that the information is accurate.  Make sure you regularly check your reports to make sure there isn’t any inaccurate activity listed.  You can pay to receive these reports throughout the year, but there is a more frugal way to watch your credit.   If you pull just one report at a time, you can check your report for free three times a year (e.g., pull one in January, pull another in May and pull the last in September). 

There are many steps in the process of becoming financially healthy and pulling and reviewing your credit report is a great place to start.  Keep in mind that your report is free, but your score is not.  You have a to pay separately for score.  But the first step is to review the report and make sure all the information is correct.

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