LA
Liz Alterman
2 months ago

No 401(k)? No Problem: Retirement Savings Strategies for the Free Spirit

money
401k
If you’re one of the growing number of #bossladies working independently in a freelance, consultant, or entrepreneurial role, you are blessed with certain advantages: autonomy, pursuit of passion, and freedom from routine, to name a few.

But one benefit you’re missing? No 401(k).

Not familiar with this perk? It’s an empl...
If you’re one of the growing number of #bossladies working independently in a freelance, consultant, or entrepreneurial role, you are blessed with certain advantages: autonomy, pursuit of passion, and freedom from routine, to name a few.

But one benefit you’re missing? No 401(k).

Not familiar with this perk? It’s an employer-sponsored retirement account that allows employees to sock away pre-tax dollars, lowering their taxable income and building a nest egg at the same time.

If you find yourself without this option, you’re not alone.

In fact, about 53 million Americans—or 34 percent of the total U.S. workforce—are independent workers, and this number is expected to surge to 50 percent by 2020.

Having a plan for how you’ll fund your retirement is key—unless you want to work well into your golden years. Here’s what to do if you’re self-employed.

If you are your own boss…

You can contribute 25 percent of compensation—up to a maximum of $55,000 for 2018 — to a simplified employee pension plan.

Wondering where to begin? Set up an account with an investment firm, such as Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, or Vanguard.

You have until the due date of your tax return in April to open and fund an SEP.

Long-term benefit: Contributions to an SEP are tax-deductible and grow tax-deferred, which means whatever amount you contribute to this account is sheltered in a nice little bubble from income taxes until you withdraw it in retirement.

If you want to bank a bundle…

You can potentially set aside even more with a solo 401k because you act as both employee and employer.

As an “employee” (even though you’re self-employed), you can contribute up to $18,500, plus 25 percent of your compensation as a sole proprietor (business owner). Cha-ching!

Just keep in mind that combined contributions can’t exceed $55,000 for 2018.

Long-term benefit: Like with an SEP, contributions to a solo 401k are tax-deductible (so you can reduce the amount you have to pay to Uncle Sam come tax time). But unlike an SEP, this plan also allows you to contribute more at lower income levels because you can set aside a percentage of income and an “employee” contribution.

If you’re not keen on paying taxes now…

An individual retirement account (IRA) will let you defer paying income tax on as much as $5,500 annually (if you’re under 50, otherwise the limit is $6,500).

Why would you want to defer? Well, besides the obvious immediate savings, you may find yourself in a lower tax bracket by the time you go to withdraw the funds because you’re retired.

Long-term benefit: You might be thinking, How will I ever be able to retire by contributing just $5,500 per year? Look at it like this: If you put away $5,500 each year with an average annual return of 6 percent, within 20 years, you’ll have $214,460 in your IRA. (Only more of a reason to start now…)

If you want to get the taxes out of the way…

Open a Roth IRA.

With a traditional IRA, you don’t pay income tax until you withdraw from the account. With a Roth IRA, you’re putting away post-tax dollars.

That means you pay taxes on the money as you contribute to the account, and when you decide to withdraw the funds decades later, you’re getting the entire amount, no more taxes applied (so long as you've held the account for five years, and you’re at least 59½).

Long-term benefit: Roth IRAs let your money grow (and grow, and grow!) tax-free until you’re ready to withdraw.

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Hey Nav.igator, just so you know, we have financial advisors reviewing our content, but our articles are only meant to be educational. Consider this friendly information, not financial advice (talk to a professional for that!).

MM
Maia Monell
2 months ago

Your Guide to Portfolio Diversification

investing
diversification
If you’ve ever listened to any financial planning ad (likely while watching CNBC), you’ve probably heard references to the ‘importance of a diversified portfolio.'

What the hell is Diversification? 

I’m glad you asked… Diversification is, put simply, the concept of having a wide variety of assets in your po...
If you’ve ever listened to any financial planning ad (likely while watching CNBC), you’ve probably heard references to the ‘importance of a diversified portfolio.'

What the hell is Diversification? 

I’m glad you asked… Diversification is, put simply, the concept of having a wide variety of assets in your portfolio. Yes, it’s exactly what you thought it was. 

So, why the hype? 

Diversification is an investing strategy that helps you reduce a serious amount of risk as it instructs you to not rely on one sole path and, instead, spread those hard-earned dollars across different opportunities.

Here’s some opportunities to consider: 
  1. Stocks across multiple sectors and economies
  2. Bonds
  3. Real Estate
  4. Cash (or equivalents)

Multi-Layer Diversification


In the interest (see what I did there?) of getting technical, let’s touch on this beautifully uncomplicated, yet seemingly complicated, concept of multi-layer diversification.

When it comes to stocks, multi-layer diversification means: investing in multiple companies across the same sector. For example, you might want equal shares in Uber and Lyft because you use both equally and understand things like, well, the value of competition. You might bet on Serena more times than Venus, but you would never count Venus out now would you? 

Great, Uber and Lyft it is. But say the tech sector isn’t exactly crushing it (see CNBC literally every day right now), you’d still be losing if you didn’t have investments in other, stronger sectors to make up this loss. 

To broaden your opportunity and reduce your risk, you go to Investopedia and decide to buy Mosaic in the material sector as that area performed well in Q2. Boom, you’re on your way.

Oh....one more thing, all those companies are in the U.S. To really win the diversification game, you’ll need to pick up a few investments in international developed (like the EU) or emerging markets (like India or Brazil). 

How much risk? 


Goal-Based Investing
Your investment goals, like work, are all about deadlines. What type of goal and how long before you need to reach that goal will be everything to your multiple investment strategies. 

For example, are you and your S.O. looking to buy that fab 2 bedroom, 2.5 baths in the next few years? You’ll likely need to access the investments you’ve made for that kind of expense. In comparison, your retirement ‘pot’ will be steady, patiently nesting beside you, growing in anticipation of your need for it much later on. That’s goal-based investing. 

The further from your goal, the more calculated the risk you can feel comfortable taking.

10 Good + 10 Bad Doesn’t Work
Diversification can help you battle some pretty bad shit. You remember 2008-2009, right? Another solid strategy to leverage? Rebalancing.

Say you have 50 percent in stocks and 50 percent in bonds. If bonds are crushing it and stocks aren’t performing well, your allocation isn’t 50/50. To rebalance, you’ll have to sell the GOOD bonds and buy some not-so-great stock to get back to equilibrium. 

This is what it means to  BUY LOW. SELL HIGH. 

Just like buying a house in a down-turn, you want to buy when the market is low to get the best price, in hopes that it will rebound (because...it always does) to then sell for a serious profit later. Oh, and remember to manage your goal-based asset allocation. Change your strategy based on your goals as your time frame speeds up (early retirement, alternative investment, etc.)

#Neverforget: Your gains & your losses should never determine your overall investment allocation. 

Managing risk

Ok, so you want to dive in but you’re also a tad risk-averse. No worries, so am I. It’s what makes women better investors once they take the leap. Hold onto it. Acknowledge its worth. And accept you’ll have to manage some risk to reap returns! 

Here’s a few things to know that might help you accept the reality of risk: 

All Weather 
There’s this portfolio called the All Weather Portfolio, which was created by Ray Dalio and introduced in Money Master the Game by Tony Robbin. It basically shows you how to create a completely diversified portfolio, designed to mitigate risk through varying economic strength. Here’s what that says: 

  • 40 percent Long-Term Bonds
  • 30 percent Stocks
  • 15 percent Intermediate-Term Bonds
  • 7.5 percent Gold
  • 7.5 percent Commodities

This breaks down the fact that stocks are three-times more volatile than bonds, making the amount of risk in a portfolio 3:1. FYI, there are a ton of different investment management firms that offer these All Weather portfolios. 

Efficient Portfolios
Put simply, an efficient portfolio is an investment portfolio that offers the highest expected return for a given level of risk, or one with the lowest level of risk for a given expected return. This can be challenging if the percentage of return is low. You can work around this by introducing the concept of Margin. 

Margin would allow you to take this portfolio which could yield 3 percent and leverage it twice to earn a 6-7 percent return. To double your return, you’ll need to borrow money from a brokerage firm at an interest rate of 1-2 percent. 

Now you have doubled your buying power. If you buy things that increase in value, you’ve doubled your money and can easily pay back the brokerage loan. However, with life comes risk. If you lose money, you’ll still have to pay back the loan. 

Futures contracts are another tool to use. A futures contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a particular commodity or asset at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future. Futures contracts are standardized for quality and quantity to facilitate trading on a futures exchange

Isn’t inflation a factor? 


Yes. Let’s take a second to discuss this. 

As a reminder, the value of our currency is determined by purchasing power, or the number of things/products/ services that money can buy. When inflation increases, the purchasing power of our dollar decreases. 

The inflation rate in the U.S. is 3 percent YoY. Meaning, your $12 Kombucha will cost $12.03 next year. Thus, your $12 won’t cut the cost of the same item next year as your money depreciates over time. That’s why we don’t throw it all in a checking account (giving us 1 percent interest). Your money becomes less valuable over time.

Instead, we invest it to combat inflation. One is still less than three. Thus, your money is losing value in that checking account. 

Hedging
When the team of white dudes on CNBC talks about hedging, they’re referencing this same effect of inflation. What we call Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities can ‘hedge’ against pending inflation. They’re indexed against it and are a low-risk investment because they’re supported by our government. 

The other, more volatile, investment category that can hedge against inflation? Commodities. They work as a hedge because, during periods of inflation, the price of commodities rises and so does your investment in them. 

As we approach retirement age, we’re told to reduce our investment in stocks and increase bonds because we no longer have the time to watch the markets rise and fall. But, because of inflation and our growing life expectations, we can’t reduce the percentage too low. 

We don’t know what that price tag for Kombucha will be in seven to 10 years. Instead, experts recommend keeping stock around 20 percent as another way to more safely protect, or hedge, against inflation. 

Recap

If you skimmed over most of this article (which I get because it’s inexcusably long), just remember this: 
  1. You want to invest your money across a variety of options, like stocks, bonds, real estate, and cash equivalents (like gold). 
  2. Remember diversification is multi-layered. You want to spread the percentage that you do spend in one sector around to cover your bases (remember mix tech with materials, etc.).
  3. Understand how to invest based on goals. You should have some tucked patiently away for your golden years and some ready to do adulting right. 
  4. Inflation is a real thing. Invest your money to make sure it grows over time. 

Questions? Comments? Better recommendations? Sheer bashing? Email us at hello@nav.it with your comments! 

Oh, and while you’re here, don’t forget to download our app in the app or Google store! Nav.it can help you determine how much you want to invest in these sectors. We can also help recommend some great coaches and advisors! Check it out. It’s free! 


WH
Whitney Hansen
2 months ago

3 Tips to Save Money This Halloween

money
halloween
With Halloween right around the corner (it always seems to come out of nowhere), I want to share some tips that will help you save money this holiday. These will help you not break the bank and still keep you from sitting on the couch indulging in all the candy you bought for the trick-or-treaters.

By the time you buy a costume ($60+), candy for trick or treaters...
With Halloween right around the corner (it always seems to come out of nowhere), I want to share some tips that will help you save money this holiday. These will help you not break the bank and still keep you from sitting on the couch indulging in all the candy you bought for the trick-or-treaters.

By the time you buy a costume ($60+), candy for trick or treaters ($10), go downtown for drinks and dinner ($50+), and pay for an Uber ride home ($20), you might be feeling like you are living la vida broka.

There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a costume just to go out for one night, wake up hung-over and feel like you wasted a ton of money. These tips will help you not do that. 

Borrow from your friends. 

This one is a big tip because we all have that one friend that spends a crap ton on a costume just to get that perfect look for the night and then puts it back into their closet never to be touched again. In fact, we all have at least five of these friends. We just aren’t asking each other if we can dig into one another’s closets.

Borrow a costume from you friends. They are likely not going to be a sexy witch two years in a row, so you can sneak in on that one, and save yourself 

Get creative (and leave shame out of the equation).

Some of the best, most hilarious costumes I’ve ever seen were made on a tight budget. A little bit of creativity goes a long way. Face it: you can pretty much be a “zombie” anything with some makeup, a YouTube tutorial, and practice. 

Opt for ways to use existing clothes, makeup, and friend’s belongings (which takes us back to tip one!) to put together your costume. One of my favorite creative costumes was when my sister was grapes. Freakin’ two packs of $1 balloons safety pinned to a purple sweatsuit that she found at a thrift store ($5). And it was HILARIOUS! 

Go after that halloween costume contest, and walk away with a shiny prize and happy bank account.


Host a themed dinner with your friends.

Forget going downtown for drinks and dinner; most places are going to charge you more for the “holiday” specials anyways. That will cost you a ton of money. 

Instead invite your friends over for a costume-themed dinner party. Get your friends to bring their favorite dish, come up with a signature holiday cocktail, award the most creative costume (which only encourages people to go the homemade costume route), and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid Halloween plan that won’t empty your pockets.

Or even thriftier, spend the night with friends (or by yourself, if you’re not a scaredy cat like me) watching scary movies (or Halloweentown..just saying).  Indulge in some candy + popcorn. It’ll still be far cheaper than going out. 


MM
Maia Monell
2 months ago

Navigator Spotlight: Emily Elmore

#women
aviation
October 5 marks International Women in Aviation day, so Nav.it reached out to retired Air Force veteran Emily Elmore, a powerful Nav.igator who now runs her own agency, The Motodoll. Check out what she has to say about thriving in the unique boy’s club that is the Air Force, and the boss babe moves she’s made in the face of fea...
October 5 marks International Women in Aviation day, so Nav.it reached out to retired Air Force veteran Emily Elmore, a powerful Nav.igator who now runs her own agency, The Motodoll. Check out what she has to say about thriving in the unique boy’s club that is the Air Force, and the boss babe moves she’s made in the face of fear and so much adversity.

What is it like being a female pilot? 

Flying is freedom. Flying drowns out the din and the chaos of the world below. I remember getting told I would be a pilot; I had no flight hours at that point so I had no idea what to expect. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time, (and subsequently, I’ve been in thrilling and terrifying situations in flight) but the minute I sit in the seat, it’s total calm. 

Being a woman is delightfully irrelevant in the cockpit. Plenty will tell you that’s not true, but I think my attitude on this is what allowed me to thrive in this male-dominated profession. Either you can fly the airplane or you can’t, it doesn’t care if you’re a woman. 

Regarding social dynamics, maybe 3 percent of all pilots in the Department of Defense are women, and that’s being generous. In my first squadron, there were two of us in a squadron of 180. At one point we had six, and that’s pretty typical. Many have suggested the competition would be fierce but it was collaborative and fun. We were capable, confident, unstoppable women who recognized that in other women and didn’t feel like we were shining dimmer because other stars twinkled nearby. 

Men have always been mentors, friends, and coworkers. I’ve encountered my share of knuckleheads, but more often they’re wonderfully supportive...so long as you can fly the airplane, haha.

How did you learn to thrive in this unique boy’s club? 

Airplanes don’t care if you’re a woman. Either you can fly the airplane or you can’t. The manual doesn’t change based on your gender, the same bullets are aimed at you in combat, you either have a successful mission or you don’t. Technology, in many ways, is a great equalizer. I wanted to be recognized as a great crewmember, someone you wanted flying your airplane. Consistent high performance earns respect when the stakes are high, which is true of military flight. 
You’ve probably heard “there are no atheists in a foxhole.” That’s true of sexists too. It’s definitely present when the stakes are low and men contemplate how a woman *might* perform (or might cause men to perform) in critical situations. Once you’re in it and fighting together as highly trained assets, sexism dissolves. That’s what I mean about gender being irrelevant in the cockpit. 

Performance in the cockpit (or the “box office” as we call it when women fly the jet haha) really levels the playing field and builds incredible friendships. 

How does your time in the Air Force impact the way you think about your business? 

There are three things that the Air Force gave me that are fundamental building blocks of my business. First, if you want something bad enough, make that bet on yourself and bet big. Sometimes the result is unexpected, but if you’re chasing big dreams the reward is usually very gratifying. 

My undergrad was astronautical engineering, but I fell in love with flight because of a required Air Force training event in college. It changed everything, and I gave a lot up just for a chance to compete for that pilot slot. I bet big early and I’m glad I did because within a few short years I was injured and unable to fly. After I was medically retired from the military I had a lot of job offers, but I wanted to build my own brand. There’s a lot of uncertainty and plenty of doubt in that endeavor, but it was important enough to me that I made that bet too.

Next, flexibility is the “key to airpower” and it has served me very well. That’s an Air Force mantra but it really has been my key to success. In aviation, we make incredibly concise, well-coordinated plans knowing that almost all of it will change in flight. Having that baseline allows us to confidently deviate from the plan and take risks that pay off and ensure mission success. My business is digital marketing; the pace is very fast and agility also pays dividends.

Finally, performance matters. Real life doesn’t have a lot of participation trophies. You need to perform reliably to be successful, but that should be aligned with your personal goals. Look at your objective and work backwards. What are you trying to achieve? Why? What are the tertiary effects of success or failure? How are you going to achieve that objective and how will you know you’re meeting those benchmarks? 

Along the way you’ll have opportunities to develop and empower the people that work with/for you. You have to take care of your organization, but high performance requires high performers. Take care of your people and they take care of everything else. The mission and the people are inextricably linked. You can’t prioritize one over the other for long before cracks threaten the entire organization. 

What’s your No. 1 ‘go-to’ piece of advice for women going out on their own? 

Don’t let fear get in the way of your dreams. I am not a fearless person, I’ve been routinely terrified. Move forward anyway. If you fail, so what? If you’re trying to get from A to C and fall flat on your face at B, the distance to go was just cut in half. You’re growing and accumulating lessons learned. Look at Jobs. He failed at Apple and created Pixar. Failing gives you space to create something new. Go create. 

What’s your greatest #moneymove? 

Youngsters: drop $5k in your retirement savings plan as soon as you can. Most people don’t start saving for retirement until they’re closer to 30. It doubles every seven years with a 10 percent return; the more you can drop up front at 22, the bigger the payout. You get another period to double compared with that 30-year-old. Before you invest in anything else after that, pay off your debt. Credit card or student loan debt has a higher interest rate than the rate of return you’ll get on most other investments. 


About Emily Elmore
I’m an engineer, motor enthusiast, and former Air Force pilot with a penchant for coding and creative design. When a catastrophic injury forced me from the cockpit, I accommodated my limited mobility by pivoting to data analysis. I built a team of designers, marketers, and web developers to form The MotoDoll LLC, a brand development and web design firm based in Pensacola, Florida. Read more
HE
Heidi Esau
2 months ago

How to Invest for Your Short-Term Goals

You’ve worked hard to get your finances to where they are now, and you’re not about to stop contributing to that 401(k) or building your emergency fund, but that doesn’t mean you’re not also dreaming of a trip to Thailand or a down payment on that new condo with a killer view. 

Being a true #dollardiva means setting aside money eac...
You’ve worked hard to get your finances to where they are now, and you’re not about to stop contributing to that 401(k) or building your emergency fund, but that doesn’t mean you’re not also dreaming of a trip to Thailand or a down payment on that new condo with a killer view. 

Being a true #dollardiva means setting aside money each month for the long-term goals and letting your extra change do some heavy lifting for you by investing for the short-term.  

Long- vs. Short-Term Investing

Your savings time-frame matters HUGELY when it comes to investing. Your strategy for the short-term (one to three years) will be a lot different than your long-term (10-30-year) strategy.  

The reason is simple: Most long-term investments (like stocks and stock-based funds) tend to be too risky for short-term objectives. Stock markets rise and fall, and if you’re unlucky enough to need the cash when the market’s tanked, you’re out that investment. 

Many funds also require lock-up periods for months or even years, during which you may not be allowed to withdraw your money without a stiff penalty. (Ouch.)

So what should I invest in?

Say it with me, high-yield savings. Traditional savings accounts don’t pay a lot in interest, but their online cousins sure do. In fact, some online banks offer significantly higher-yielding savings accounts than their brick-and-mortar counterparts (think: 2-3% interest payments as opposed to 0.01% from a big bank). 

And yes, they’re perfectly safe, as long as they’re FDIC-insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) always protects your original principal. That means you’re guaranteed to have at least the amount you put in and will likely also receive a small risk-free return as well. 

Is that my only option?

No, girl. The world is your financial oyster. You could also try:

Certificates of deposit (CDs): Banks often allow depositors to invest their cash for a specific length of time in a special deposit account called a certificate of deposit. CDs have a variety of terms ranging from three months to five years (Psst! You’ll earn a higher rate the longer you’re willing to lock up your money).  

The downside to these is that once you choose a deposit term, you are required to keep your money in the account or pay a steep fee for early withdrawal—kind of like a 401(k).

Or maybe you’re partial to:

Money market accounts: Money market accounts are based on your account balance, not the length of time you invest your money. They provide a slightly higher rate than a savings account (generally paying a rate similar to a CD).  
With a money market account, you’ll get an ATM card, checks, and deposit slips…but you will likely be limited in how many transactions you can make per month. 

The perk? If you find a better rate elsewhere, you can transfer your money from the money market without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget about…

Short-term bond funds: These are usually only managed by a professional financial advisor. Bonds tend not to be as stable as money markets, but they do offer the potential of a higher return, as their value fluctuates with market conditions. 

The trade-off here is that you won't have FDIC protection on your money and you will likely need to meet a minimum investment requirement.
Peer-to-peer lending websites: Websites such as these connect investors to qualified customers in need of a loan—essentially allowing investors to become the bank. In return, investors receive a monthly income in the form of loan repayment or interest.

With this option, you can start out small and increase the amount of money you are willing to lend as your confidence grows. Depending on the website, loans may vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.

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Hey Nav.igator, just so you know, we have financial advisors reviewing our content, but our articles are only meant to be educational. Consider this friendly information, not financial advice (talk to a professional for that!).


RH
Rainbow Huff
3 months ago

Harnessing the Power of Money Mentorship

#women
money
Whether you consider yourself a smooth Navi.gator when it comes to your finances or you haven’t the slightest idea on how to manage them, a mentor can help you on your financial journey.

The thing is, many people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding someone to share the current state of your finances. Or worse: you’re not sure how ...
Whether you consider yourself a smooth Navi.gator when it comes to your finances or you haven’t the slightest idea on how to manage them, a mentor can help you on your financial journey.

The thing is, many people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding someone to share the current state of your finances. Or worse: you’re not sure how much to let people know what you don’t know. It’s hard being vulnerable when it comes to money. But it can also be rewarding to get an outsider’s perspective when they’ve encountered the same things you are currently going through (or will in due time). 

Here are our top tips for finding the right fit for your money mentorship.

Understand the role of a money mentor.

Remember: A money mentor is different than a certified professional you’d hire to perform a financial service.  Money mentors may be morally responsible for protecting your information, but they aren’t legally obligated to do so. Mentors provide coaching, offer guidance and share helpful experiences. Do you need tips on saving money? Advice on investing? It’s critical to select a money mentor with demonstrated success or expertise in your financial areas of focus.

Set clear goals.

Before identifying a mentor, you have to be clear on why you need one. What do you want them to teach you? How can they add value to your journey? Mentors want to know specifically how they can help you. Answering questions like these will enable you to clearly articulate your mentorship needs and set goals. You can’t crush your goals if you don’t set any! 

Get uncomfortable.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone when you request a mentor. Connect with someone from a different industry, background or (our favorite) another generation than your own. This will expose you to new perspectives,experiences, and a lot of things you’ve probably never heard before (and that’s the goal!). Be honest about your financial knowledge gaps and areas of weakness, even if it makes you slightly (or very) uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean that you have to share your private financial information or ask your money mentor to do so either. 

If you cling to what’s familiar, it may be hard to broaden your horizons and expand your breadth of knowledge. Be bold and embrace the awkward money talk!

Respect your mentor’s time.

Don’t show up late or unprepared for meetings. Create a list of questions and/or topics for discussion before you meet to maximize your time together. If you have recurring meetings scheduled but no new items to discuss, cancel. Before you waste your mentor’s time, give it back to them. 

Most importantly, take action on the feedback or suggestions they share. If you don’t agree with something or have a different view, that’s okay. The key is to share that with your mentor so that they know you’re hearing them and you appreciate their perspective.

Give thanks.

Show your appreciation. If you’re meeting your mentor out and about, treat them to coffee or lunch. If that’s not an option, mail them a handwritten note. Whatever you do, it’s important that you acknowledge the time and expertise your mentor shares. A simple “thank you” goes a long way! And even better, share with them how their solid advice has helped you get closer to reaching your financial goals. Your money mentor will enjoy seeing positive results.


Be intentional and flexible.

Mentorship is no different than any other relationship; if it doesn’t add value or serve a purpose, you shouldn’t try to force it to do so. Be intentional about evaluating the relationship with your money mentor and don’t be afraid to move on if needed. They might decide that they’ve reached their capacity to help you and choose to move on as well. 

On the flip side, you may be prepared to start having discussions with a financial professional and only need to connect with your money mentor during “let’s catch up” sessions. You’ll need different types of financial advice and support throughout the various stages of Navi.gating your finances. Be flexible with the transitions that will inevitably occur along the way.


MM
Maia Monell
3 months ago

Meet Our New Co-Founder and CMO

#women
nav.it
Dearest Fellow Nav.igators, 

It’s so great to meet you. I’m Maia Monell, the newest member of our Nav.it team. 

I’m honored to be joining you as Co-founder and CMO to help support Nav.it’s mission to foster financial health and help you grow true, lasting wealth.

A bit about me:
Dearest Fellow Nav.igators, 

It’s so great to meet you. I’m Maia Monell, the newest member of our Nav.it team. 

I’m honored to be joining you as Co-founder and CMO to help support Nav.it’s mission to foster financial health and help you grow true, lasting wealth.

A bit about me: I spent the last few years running the marketing division of a sports tech app for professional coaches and trainers (BridgeAthletic). An avid athlete myself, I dove into sports to help support female athletes and coaches find their voice in a sea of male football fanatics.

I quickly learned that pro sports is one great big analogy for the gender inequality we all experience-- no matter what industry you hail from. It’s targeted communication toward the heterosexual male perpetuates stigma, bias and a pretty thick glass ceiling. 

And yet, helping pro coaches and trainers support more athletes, grow their businesses, and navigate the intrinsically male-dominated culture that is sports was like the perfect lay-up to my next adventure with you and Nav.it.

Just as sports and fitness try to educate a male consumer about the values of brute strength, Wall Street maintains their mantras of hunger, bullishness, and the sanctity of a boys club. The conversation won’t become equal until we value the female voice and your money mindset just as much as the male’s. That’s why I love Nav.it. 

Why Nav.it? We now live in a world where we value self-care and holistic health. However, we don’t always recognize our financial wellbeing as the real kale salad that fuels us. That’s why at Nav.it we’re bringing you the tools to make more informed financial decisions that will guide you down a path of financial and experiential freedom. 

Like my mom and me binging “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” I’m excited to dive right in. To start out, I’ll focus on three key areas: 

Innovation: We want to bring you the most compelling, relevant tools to help get you on the path to financial wellness. From management to goal-setting, your financial freedom starts with Nav.it.

Collaboration: One of the coolest things about the financial sector is the abundance of tools you can choose from to grow your wealth. At Nav.it, we’re focused on creating curated partnerships that will bring you, our users, great discounts and opportunities to best explore these many options.

Community: Get ready for our upcoming Nav.it community, connecting you with fellow women and men looking to nav.igate their finances on their terms. We’re also focused on bringing you the features you want and need. I promise not to spam you but look out for questions from my team, focused on bettering your experience across Nav.it. 

So join us on a path towards financial health, lasting wealth, and total freedom. Use Nav.it to learn to save money, make money and rule your own world. 












ET
English Taylor
3 months ago

Should You Work for Free? Knowing Your Worth as a Freelancer

freelance
money
When I first became a full-time freelance writer, I worked a few gigs at minimum wage, and even some for free. I said yes to everything. After all, I had no clients and a bank account that would dip below zero after next month’s rent was due. 

While many of these clients are now paying customers, some of them took advantage of me o...
When I first became a full-time freelance writer, I worked a few gigs at minimum wage, and even some for free. I said yes to everything. After all, I had no clients and a bank account that would dip below zero after next month’s rent was due. 

While many of these clients are now paying customers, some of them took advantage of me or the opportunity led nowhere. Even now, after years of experience, I still get asked if I’ll contribute for nothing in return. While the answer is usually a hard no, sometimes I oblige. Here’s why. 

I work for free to build credibility and learn. 


Right after I quit my corporate job, I offered to help a yoga teacher friend with her weekly newsletter. As I continued to pitch my services to other clients, I was able to list her as a reference and use the newsletter as an example of my work. 

Since I only had a few published articles, I agreed to contribute to websites and blogs for free in the early stages of my business. After doing this for a month or two, I had a long list of URLs to send to potential clients. I felt more comfortable asking to get paid when I could point to tangible examples of my value. 

Working for free when I was just starting out was also educational. I learned how to pitch, how to work with editors remotely, and how the digital content world generally works for freelance writers. 

But only until I find and establish my way.


Eventually, I had the credibility and confidence to start talking money and walking away with contracts. But I made the mistake of letting some of those free gigs linger for far too long.

Exhibit A: I offered to edit a kayaking website for free for five hours per week during the first four months of growing my business. But around month two, I had already secured paying gigs. Aside from the fact that I’ve never even been in a kayak, I could have spent these hours actually making money. (Honestly, the only perk that came from this experience was impressing my partner’s stepdad with my knowledge on the difference between a forward stroke and a forward sweep stroke.)

It can open doors to other business opportunities. 


Remember the yoga teacher? When a student inquired about her newsletter and asked for content marketing tips, she pointed him my way. Turns out, he was starting his own company and looking for help with email marketing. Fast-forward two years later: He’s my longest-standing client. Working for free when a client is particularly well-connected or when my articles will gain a lot of exposure often ends up helping me grow my business. And this isn’t just a tip for writers. 

“I often give jewelry to close friends or donate pieces to charity auctions,” says Los Angeles-based designer Lindsey Jacobs who has been in business for three years. “Ultimately, the press is worth it. A woman who won a pair of earrings at an auction reached out for 10 bridesmaids gifts a few months later. When my friend was wearing my necklace out shopping, a boutique owner asked her where she bought it. I now sell at that boutique!” 

Evaluate whether the brand or individual is well-known. When a prominent women’s health publication told me my first article would be a trial run, and I wouldn’t be paid, I still decided to contribute. When the piece was published, I had a top brand to add to my portfolio. This legitimizes my work and helps me sell other clients. 


EP
Erin Papworth
3 months ago

5 Ways Travel Can Strengthen the Relationship for a Couple

travel
relationships

Couples that travel together, stay together. If some famous person hasn’t said it already, let me be the first to make that grand statement. 

I have spent the majority of my adult life tra...

Couples that travel together, stay together. If some famous person hasn’t said it already, let me be the first to make that grand statement. 

I have spent the majority of my adult life traveling, and I have had the pleasure of not only traveling as a couple and seeing the joy that it brought to our relationship, but also knowing many couples that use travel as a form of couples bonding (and maybe some therapy).

Here are the top reasons travel can strengthen your relationship as a couple: 

1. You shake up the routine.

Travel is a moment to take yourselves out of your daily routine. This is also very helpful for couples who can connect in a new setting, with new energy. When you are relaxed and the stresses of real life seem far away, it opens space to discuss issues with a new perspective and take your time to explore topics that shouldn’t be rushed.

2. Travel conversations open new lines of communication.

Now, not everyone travels the same, so getting on the same page about the kind of travel that makes you both happy is a good first step. Is he a weekend-getaway type traveler? Are you an international explorer? It’s always ideal to work through your preferences, not only for your relationship, but for your wallet. This is a great way to understand your partner more and to express your needs and desires. Since travel is usually low stacks (you’re not buying a house or having a baby!), it can actually be fun to find your travel cadence as a couple!

3. You get to learn together and see a different side of your partner. 

I never would have known my partner had an adventurous palette, and had even eaten snake, if we hadn’t been in a random village in West Africa. At the time he was starving and was offered some fried crickets by our ever-helpful driver. As there was little else to consume in the area, he happily gulped them down. When I protested in disgust, he mischievously laughed and said: “this is nothing compared to the snake I once had!” And so, I learned more about him then, at the time, I wanted to know and decided not to kiss him for at least a day to ensure no random cricket legs got near my mouth.

4. It gives you a chance to talk about money.

Travel is a great and more neutral way to understand how each person in the couple manages money. The amount you’ll spend (or at least the way you want to spend your money on a trip) gives you an opportunity to express your budget comfort zones. Maybe s/he loves food and is willing to splurge, while you’d prefer to stay in a nicer hotel and eat street food. Working those styles out beforehand helps you plan out how much you want to spend and what you want to do before you go. It’s a great way to open a safe dialogue about spending habits in general too. P.S. Nav.it has a great budget tracking app that can help you both keep track of your goals! 

5. You make lasting memories.

When life gets back into a routine. When you have children in school and are beholden to summer holidays like everyone else. When your partner starts a business and she only has time to travel for work. At those points in your life, you will be so happy you have travel memories as a couple. It also gives you something to look back on and forward to. Once you establish travel as a priority within your relationship, you know you will do it again. Maybe not at the frequency of the early years, but you will do it again. If it’s the yearly excursion, or the monthly weekend getaway, the experiences you have exploring the world together will define your relationship and your memories throughout time.


WH
Whitney Hansen
3 months ago

How to Calculate Your Net Worth and Why it Matters

money
adulting
Net worth is this concept that a lot of people seem to forget is important. I see far more attention on credit scores than I do on net worth. And I understand why. A sizable net worth takes years to accumulate.

While I’m a big fan of tracking your net worth, keep in mind, your net worth is not your self worth. You are an incredible human and jus...
Net worth is this concept that a lot of people seem to forget is important. I see far more attention on credit scores than I do on net worth. And I understand why. A sizable net worth takes years to accumulate.

While I’m a big fan of tracking your net worth, keep in mind, your net worth is not your self worth. You are an incredible human and just because you’re net worth isn’t where you want it to be, does not mean you are a crappy person. Don’t ever forget that! 

We all have very different journeys and the important piece is to use your past experiences (and the stories of other Nav.igators) as fuel for your bright future.

What is your net worth?

Your net worth is a snapshot of your personal situation at a moment in time. It might fluctuate, but the important thing is the overall number should be increasing over time. Net worth is composed of two categories: assets (things you own) and liabilities (things you owe).

Some people don’t consider a home an asset and some people do. Frankly, I don’t care if you do or don’t as long as you are consistent in your tracking. For example, if you own a home, the value of your home is considered an asset, but the loan amount needs to be a liability. Make sense?

Let’s break down some common assets.

The assets that most people come across are:
  • Homes
  • Cars
  • Cash in the bank
  • Investments
  • 401k, 403b, IRAs
  • Raw land
  • Rental Properties
  • Valuables around the house (any antiques, jewelry, equipment that is worth some cash, etc)
In a nutshell, it’s anything you own that is convertible to hard cash. Make sure you use market value or blue book value for items. 

For example, if you aren’t sure what your house is worth, you can have it appraised, look at comps, or use the value listed on your latest tax assessment. For your car, use Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to see how much your car is truly worth. Investments provide you with monthly statements, so that should be fairly easy to locate.

The goal here is to be as definitive as you can by using the best numbers you can find. If your car is worth between $5,000-$7,500, use $5,000 for tracking purposes.

Let’s break down liabilities.

Liabilities are super easy for people to understand. It’s basically anything you owe money on.
Common liabilities that you might come across:
  • Student loan
  • Car loan
  • House loan
  • Credit card debt
  • Money you owe to your mom or dad
  • IRS debt

Any type of loan or anyone that is expecting payment from you should be included in your liabilities.

How to calculate your net worth.

Now that you have a better understanding of what numbers are included in your net worth, it’s time to figure out what your net worth is. You can get real nerdy and use a spreadsheet (my preferred method) or just jot down your assets and liabilities on a piece of paper.

Once you have everything written down, subtract your liabilities from your assets. That number is your net worth.

Let’s say you get into the numbers and your assets are $100,000 with liabilities of $150,000. Your net worth would be -$50,000. And for a lot of people just getting to net worth of zero is a really big deal.

Remember how I mentioned earlier your net worth is a snapshot in time and the overall trend line should be moving upward? For a lot of people calculating their net worth is a really important way to see if you are progressing.

I highly recommend updating your net worth on a monthly basis and looking at the trend line over the course of a year. Once a year, reassess the value of your assets and adjust as needed. Cars tend to depreciate fairly quickly, so the market value of your car will likely decrease each year. Just make sure you have that reflected in your calculations.

How do you know if you’re on track?

This is such a great question, and one that I hear all the time. While I don’t think you should compare yourself to other people, there are certain formulas that help you understand if you are financially where someone of your age and income ideally should be. Everyone starts at a different place, but this will give you a bit of context.

NET WORTH = [YOUR AGE – 25] X [GROSS INCOME/5]

If you are 28 years old making $55,000 before taxes then your target net worth at this stage is $33,000. (28-25=3) x ($55,000/5= $11,000).

This number might be way more than you have right now or way less than you have, but it’s a good target to see how you are doing.

If you want to increase your net worth.

It’s a two-sided equation and working on both sides makes a big difference. If you are feeling the pinch of having too much debt, then paying off your debt will directly impact your net worth in a positive way.

Additionally at some point, once you are debt-free, you have to start boosting your assets to grow your net worth. For example, I personally only have a mortgage on my liabilities, so each month that I make a house payment, I’m directly seeing this net worth amount grow. It’s super exciting! 

But I’m also at a point where boosting my assets makes a lot more sense. So I do my best to contribute more into my investments each month and am considering investing in rental property as soon as I save up enough money to do so.


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