BB
Beverly Bird
5 days ago

How My Emergency Fund Saved My A$$

money
emergency fund
I was living the dream, freelancing for a living and making a living. Writing all night, sleeping until noon, and checking my bank balance once a week or as compensation for all my labors spilled in.  

Saving was something for people who expected bad things to happen to them. Not me. I was on top of the world…until the company I wa...
I was living the dream, freelancing for a living and making a living. Writing all night, sleeping until noon, and checking my bank balance once a week or as compensation for all my labors spilled in.  

Saving was something for people who expected bad things to happen to them. Not me. I was on top of the world…until the company I was giving most of my time to shuddered and drew its last breath. I had $16 in my bank account the day I got the news. My rent was due in 13 days, and I didn’t have even hint of work on the horizon. 

I survived, but it wasn’t pretty. And I learned my lesson. Life doesn’t give you a warning before it decides to kick you where it hurts, so you better have your pads on, always. 

It’s not just about losing your job. 

When you think “financial crisis,” job loss is probably the first thing to come to mind, but I had a steady, secure stream of income the second time I hit the wall. I got slammed with an unexpected bill in the neighborhood of $2,300…which, coincidentally, was close to the balance in my checking account.

Since I’d lost my job two years later, I had a stash of cash set aside that time around. But I had to figure that out the hard way.

Think about it: Could you cover the cost of your car breaking down or a trip to the emergency room with your current savings? If not, you need an emergency fund.

What if you’re already broke? 

If every blessed dime of your paycheck already has a place to go before you earn it, tucking 20 percent aside to pay for an emergency can be a real stretch. So start with five percent, or even two. But start, because—trust me on this one—you won’t like counting Ramen noodles. 

Dump your spare change into a jar every night, or maybe even the one-dollar bills you have in your purse. Cart the money off to the bank at the end of the week. If that feels too out of the Stone Age, consider one of the many saving apps out there—Acorns invests your spare change for you automatically. (Psst! Coming soon, Nav.it will stash that cash for you too.)

If all else fails, free up some money from other areas of spending. Dedicate yourself to cooking one night a week instead of going out or ordering in. Skip the Starbucks. In my case, I toughed it out until Friday if I ran out of wine in the middle of the week rather than purchase another bottle right away. Also, side gigs to raise some cash are not to be overlooked. 

How much do you need? 

Lofty experts suggest that you have six to eight months’ living expenses set aside. More reasonable sources suggest three to six months, but a 2018 survey by Bankrate indicated that only 29 percent of adults have that much set aside in savings. About 25 percent of millennials said they had no savings at all (eek!). Let’s face it, even a month’s savings can be better than nothing at all. 

Where’s the safest place for your stash?

When it comes to an emergency fund, you might want to avoid the convenience of saving at your regular bank. It’s too easy to dip into the money if you’re reminded it’s there every time you go online. And don’t apply for a debit card for the account. 

At the same time, you want that money accessible so you can grab it if (and when) disaster strikes. Look for a high-yield savings account at another financial institution—the interest will help beef up your accumulated balance. 

Speaking of interest, you might want to shy away from certificates of deposit (CDs). The fixed interest rate is clutch, but you’ll lose at least a portion of your interest if emergency strikes and you have to take the money before the prescribed period of time has passed. 
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Jordan Adler
5 days ago

What's in a Decade? Women Offer Words of Wisdom to their Younger Selves

feminism
inspiration
One of the most important parts of growing into our lives as women is the ability to learn from our own past, as well as from the strong, independent, female forces around us.

When I was about 18 years old, my mother gave me a piece of advice that I’ve always remembered. She said simply, “Do everything you do with dignity, and you won’t...
One of the most important parts of growing into our lives as women is the ability to learn from our own past, as well as from the strong, independent, female forces around us.

When I was about 18 years old, my mother gave me a piece of advice that I’ve always remembered. She said simply, “Do everything you do with dignity, and you won’t have many regrets.” Though I certainly have not lived up to this sentiment all the time, and certainly have regrets, it always stuck with me. 

Though I may not have incorporated my mother’s advice when I was younger (“dignity” constantly lost to “one last round of Jameson shots" at 3 a.m.) now, as a 30-year-old-woman, my mom’s passing comment holds weight in my everyday life. 

Sometimes the best way to grow up is to *I can’t believe I’m saying this* listen to your mother. And if it’s not your mother, never underestimate how many other amazing women are around you, brimming with life lessons and acquired wisdom to impart on anyone ready to ask.

So I did. I asked several women of different ages what would be the most important piece of advice they would give to women 10 years younger than they are now. Here is what they said.

Nadia Imafidon, 27, Nav.it Editor 

Forgive yourself. Often. Love yourself stubbornly through every illness. And don’t be afraid to hold onto someone else. They see the sun in you.

Kimberley Cunningham, 29, Art Dealer

Don’t be afraid to be young.

My own two cents, 30, Writer/Editor

Life: Try to live in at least one other country before you have serious responsibilities (like kids, or a mortgage) and immerse yourself in other cultures vigorously. Even if it’s just studying abroad for a semester, do it. It will make your life fuller. Also, it’s never too late to go back to school. I got my B.A. at 26 and my Master’s at 30. You get to set the pace of your own life, so listen to your gut.

Love: Never relinquish your self-esteem or respect for the attention of another person. It will become a habit. Set your standards high (for lovers, friends, and yourself) and never feel bad about them. 

Amanda Page, 31, Nav.it Creative Director

When faced with a challenge or dilemma. Go with the most difficult choice. We tend to choose familiar suffering over the unknown, and I believe in challenging that every time. Going the difficult way always proves to be more rewarding. 

Samantha Strelitz, 31, Actress

Don’t let anyone dictate your value. Build your self-worth by exploring who you are through your interests and experiences. Find a way to learn more about yourself from the pain of disappointment, failed professional and/or interpersonal relationships and mistakes. Financial independence is paramount.

Jessica Asante, 37, Event Director

There is this amazing thing called auto transfer. It transfers money automatically for you every month from checking to savings. Do it. Now. Saving seems so daunting but even a couple of hundred bucks a month becomes thousands before you know it with how fast time flies in your 20s. And the time for buying real estate or starting a business or rearing a newborn comes FAST and money makes it easier. So just do it in a thoughtless way. 

That being said, stay in school. For as long as you can. You will work for the REST OF YOUR LIFE and if you are lucky it will be long. But tomorrow is never promised so learn as much as you can when you can–it always makes you better.

Lyndsey Powell, 40s, Free Agent

On work: I wished I hadn’t gone for the easy route by just enjoying myself for the now. I wish I’d put more effort into creating my future for a short time to have long-term gains and fulfillment.

Love: I wish I’d known back then that love was incredibly important and that finding a life partner was one of the most profound and spiritually rewarding things we can do!

And that children would add to the depth of joy life had to offer, by having my own family unit who would be my purpose and inspiration and comfort.

Wendy Rhodes, 52, Recent Graduate Student of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Class of 2018

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about what advice I would give my 10-years-younger self.  I’m 52, and the advice I would give a 42-year-old would vary vastly from what I would tell a 32-year-old or a 22-year-old. That being said, here is what I would tell a 42-year old woman: 

Do it now. Whatever the first thing was that came to your mind – do that. Do it right now, today. You are more than just a daughter, sister, wife, mother or friend. You are you. And you should be the star of your own life, not just a supporting cast member in everyone else’s. You are braver and stronger than you know. Trust in that. 

Lisa Resnick Doty, 54, Real Estate Broker

Always take time for yourself. If you have a job that is demanding don’t be afraid to take a long weekend here and there for yourself. Never settle. I know it’s cliche, but life is short. If you are not happy with your job and you have exhausted every way to make it better, then leave! And you know, [that goes] for your love life as well. Always take time for you. 

One more thing…Have the confidence to know you will be okay.

Ellen Sabbah, 62, Wellness/Spa Manager

Your body is a temple, treat it that way. Eat healthy, exercise often, drink water always and have a spiritual practice–meditation, yoga, some form of stillness. 

Be a lifelong learner. Read often, take courses, educate yourself daily.

Trust your instincts and follow your heart, but always take your brain with you. Practice this in life, love and career.

Save money always! Keep saving for a ‘rainy day’. Life can throw you off course and you want to be prepared.Don’t be afraid of aging, it had its own wonders as long as you stay curious and active.

Barbara Nadler, 87, Jewish Grandma Extraordinaire 

This is a revolting question. Is 77 an age? Okay fine. Sow your oats. Enjoy your life. 


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Danielle Desir
10 days ago

Things To Do Every Time You Get Paid

money
budgeting
Having money in the bank is always a great feeling. Perhaps that’s why every other Friday is my favorite day of the month (I get paid biweekly). I’ve found that the easiest way for me to manage my money--and not risk it disappearing without doing what I need it to do--is to break up my bills and saving goals by pay period.

I created a money routine that works fo...
Having money in the bank is always a great feeling. Perhaps that’s why every other Friday is my favorite day of the month (I get paid biweekly). I’ve found that the easiest way for me to manage my money--and not risk it disappearing without doing what I need it to do--is to break up my bills and saving goals by pay period.

I created a money routine that works for me, but this isn’t any old money routine. This payday money routine helps me maintain productive money habits as soon I get paid.

What is a payday money routine? 
While I encourage you to have regular money check-ins every month, I’ve found that I manage my money better when I create short sprints. Since I get paid every two weeks, I consider each paycheck a two-week sprint. The day I get paid (or a few days before), I figure out where my money is going for the next two weeks, and decide how much I use to pay bills, save, invest or pay off debt.

If you get paid weekly, consider managing your money in weekly sprints. If monthly, plan for the entire month. Make a plan that works specifically for you.  
Yes, you could say that you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. I live paycheck-to-paycheck because I assign tasks to every paycheck. That means that every dollar I earn has a job: spend, save, invest or pay off debt. And I always plan to have zero dollars left over at the end of a two-week sprint.

Move extra funds into savings.
The night before I get paid, I check my bank account balance. If I didn’t spend everything in my budget, I move any extra funds into my savings account. This goes back to the concept of zero-based budgeting. Zero-based budgeting is when you have $0 left over in your budget when you subtract your expenses from your income. 

Pay as many bills as possible.
Since I get paid twice a month, I split my two paychecks. One paycheck covers bills and saving goals from the 1st to the 15th of the month. The second paycheck covers expenses from the 16th to the end of the month. 

The day I get paid, I pay as many bills that I can for the next two weeks. I do this because the day you get paid, you have an influx of cash but that’s not necessarily all yours to spend because a lot of the money is already earmarked. 

I like to pay my bills the day I get paid because my bank account more accurately reflects my account balance the next day. Now that all of my bills are out of the way for the next two weeks, I can clearly see how much money remains.

Doing this gives me a much clearer picture of what’s going on in my finances and as a result, I can make more informed financial decisions, which ultimately prevents overspending. It also helps me avoid overdraft fees, interest fees, and late fees. 

Create a to-do list.
When you’re digging into your finances and making payments, you may realize that you have to follow-up on certain things. This may mean disputing a charge, transferring funds from one account to another, or opening a new bank account.

During my payday money routine, I always have a pen and paper handy so I can write down next steps. I might even take it a step further by creating a calendar invite just to make sure that I don’t miss any important dates.

Learn more about how to create money routines in Danielle Desir’s Back to Budgeting Basics course. She teaches you step-by-step how to create and maintain a budget, save money every money and crush your financial goals.
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Amy Matthews, Founder of Woman UnRuled
11 days ago

11 Tips for Work Life Balance and Success

success
work
As a leader, your team puts entrusts you with a lot of responsibility. We already know that you can handle it, but when you feel yourself (or confidence) start to waiver, come back to these 11 tips for work life balance and setting yourself up for success.

Start your day with a positive attitude.
Get out of your head and into your ...
As a leader, your team puts entrusts you with a lot of responsibility. We already know that you can handle it, but when you feel yourself (or confidence) start to waiver, come back to these 11 tips for work life balance and setting yourself up for success.

Start your day with a positive attitude.
Get out of your head and into your body--whatever that means for you. It might be going for a run or walk, taking a spin or yoga class or simply being quiet and meditating. Your intention is to be grounded, present, confident and ready to face the day. 

Stay true to who you are.
When I was 28, I had an interview with an executive who would eventually hire me for my first sales manager job. He asked me, how will I change if I make a lot of money? The truth is, my values have never changed, despite periods of my career where I’ve earned a lot of money.

Perhaps your lifestyle changes when you have more money, but your values don’t have to. You are the same person at work as you are at home so show up in business as your authentic self.

Don’t get caught up on the hours. 
Don’t stay in the office late because “everyone else is doing it”. I learned early in my sales career to never confuse activity with results. It wasn’t about how many sales calls I went on; it was about making sure each one had a successful outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, I spent my fair share of late nights at the office early in my career. But ultimately, it’s all about performance – how much you can make happen in a given timeframe, not the actual time you put into it.

Don’t be concerned about being liked.
Listen. We all want people to like us. But don’t make it a priority at the expense of realizing what you want to accomplish. If others are uneasy with your success or feel insecure around you, it’s not your job to make them feel comfortable. 

Of course, self awareness and grace go a long way. But in general: own your confidence, leadership and charisma, and be a role model for others around you.

Know what you want.
I’m one of those people that gets passionately attached to an idea. Once I do, I’ve been known to have an unrelenting focus to make it happen. The first step is creating a clear vision of what you want, and a strategy for how to get you there.

You can always change a plan, but if you don’t have one to begin with, it’s hard to change, right?

Ask for it.
Once you know what you want, ask for it. Whether you’re talking to your boss or a potential new client. “I’d like to manage a sales team focused on this vertical,” “I’d like to work with you,” “I’d like to be promoted to VP, and here’s why I’ve earned it.”

You can’t expect things you want to happen magically. You have to ask. If you don’t, you’ll never know what you could have gained.

Compete with yourself (and no one else). 
Many company cultures thrive on promoting competition among their workforce. I say, stay focused on the activities that will bring YOU the results you want. Giving your attention to others takes your eye off the prize of being the best you can be. 

And here’s the thing: your experience, values, strengths, skills, passions and DNA are totally unique. Embrace your individuality, and it will lead to your ultimate success. Don’t compete with others: compete with yourself.

Don’t expect a certain outcome
I’m a huge believer in having high standards, a clear vision, and specific goals to get you where you want to go. Simultaneously, I’ve learned to not expect a certain outcome.

Business expectations are a breeding ground for disappointment. Sh*t happens within your own company and often with your clients (expectations of a timely product launch or revenues coming in at a specific time – you get the drill). Be open to how situations unfold and always have a plan B. If you remain flexible, the outcome may be better than you anticipated.

Trust your gut.
Truth be told, you’ve got to learn to use your instincts to be successful in business, and that requires making gut decisions. If you’re waiting for someone to tell you what to do, you’re probably in the wrong role or place. 

The more you rely on your instincts and intuition, along with your life experience, the better you’ll be at making sound business decisions.

Speak up.
If you have ideas that can improve your company’s performance, announce them. Don’t endlessly offer information that hasn’t been requested (or you run the risk of driving your coworkers up the wall). 

But if you have feedback on ways to do things better, propose a thoughtful solution. The only way companies can get better is if employees and customers provide their honest, constructive feedback.

Go for it.
Fear is what usually prevents us from doing something that is uncomfortable, our inner critic asking “what if I fail?” Be aware of your fears and acknowledge them, but just don’t let them stop you from going after what you really want.

Change the conversation in your head to: “I might be intimidated, but this will work! I got this!”

From entrepreneurs to executives to professional women or women ready for a new career challenge, Amy Matthews has designed a tailored program for the Nav.it community. Check it out on Woman UnRuled.
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Whitney Hansen
14 days ago

How to Stop Impulse Buying and Blowing Your Budget

shopping
budgeting
Impulse buys are one of the top budget busters. We have such a hard time saying no to ourselves in the moment, because — as we like to tell ourselves– we work hard and damn it, we deserve to treat ourselves.

And we get it. You DO work hard! That’s why we need to start reframing our mindset to this: I work hard for my money. That’s why I don’t blow it on crap I do...
Impulse buys are one of the top budget busters. We have such a hard time saying no to ourselves in the moment, because — as we like to tell ourselves– we work hard and damn it, we deserve to treat ourselves.

And we get it. You DO work hard! That’s why we need to start reframing our mindset to this: I work hard for my money. That’s why I don’t blow it on crap I don’t need.

When you truly honor your money and recognize how hard you work to earn it, you start to make decisions differently. 

If you want to know how to stop impulse buying, this post is for you. After working with hundreds of people, I’ve learned a lot about weird little hacks or things we can do to keep us focused and on track with our finances by minimizing impulse buys.

Know the Opportunity Cost
If more people really understood opportunity costs, we’d all be more likely to be wealthy and living our dream lives. The concept is simple: for everything you say yes to, you are saying no to something else.

Let’s break this down in a really easy to understand example. If you choose to take on a larger mortgage, then it’s likely that you cannot put as much money into savings, take a sweet vacay twice a year, or channel your inner Joana Gaines and redecorate your house.

It’s pretty simple to understand, but where it gets difficult is the small daily expenses that compound over time. For example, every time you go out to eat, you might be saying no to investing more into your future. Sure it’s only $8 here and there, but $8 spent five days a week, over the course of 40 years, invested in index funds with a rate of return at 10 percent turns into $612,524.27. We’re talking about a $160 per month contribution over the course of an average career span.

Train your brain to see that it’s not just about the money spent today, but that it’s about the money you lose out on because you can’t invest it. This will help you change your mind about those last-minute impulse buys.

24-Hour Think About it Rule
Confession: During my early college days, I used to be a shopper. I loved going to the mall, browsing around, and spending money. I saw something, thought it looked cute, and walked to the register to purchase and go on my way. I didn’t even feel guilty about it either… until I looked at my bank account and saw that I had barely any money. 
I specifically remember blaming my utility bills for being too high, or complaining that my income wasn’t high enough. I did everything in my power to deflect responsibility and admit that the reason I had no money was because I spent money on stuff I didn’t need.

That’s where the “24-Hour Think About It Rule” came from. After seeing that I was spending money on things that I really didn’t need and wouldn’t impact my long-term happiness, I promised myself that anything I didn’t truly need could not get purchased for at least 24 hours.

So if I saw that cute sweater at Costco and it was only $35, I would have to go home, sleep on that decision, and if I still wanted it AND could afford it, I would buy it. I still do this today.

Pay in time, not money
At one of my jobs, I was making about $15 per hour. If I wanted to go out to eat and grab drinks with a girlfriend, that ultimately cost $30, I had to work two hours to pay for that one meal.

What if this was a $100 pair of jeans? That’s almost seven HOURS of work to pay for that one pair. Had I actually ran the math, and realized how long I would have to work to pay for a pair of jeans, I might have done things differently.

The key piece to remember here is that we don’t pay for things in money--we pay in hours of our life.

Online Grocery Shopping
The best thing you can do to avoid impulse buys is stay away from the grocery store. I know I’m not alone when I go grocery shopping, get home and realize I bought 20 things and only 3 of those things were actually on my grocery list.

Online grocery shopping is the solution for this one. We purchased an Instacart membership and we order groceries AND have them delivered to our door every Sunday from Costco. We both live incredibly busy lives, so when we get a day off together, we really don’t want to spend two to three hours running around from grocery store to grocery store and fighting the crowds.

It has totally changed the way we view grocery shopping and has significantly reduced impulse buys because we aren’t tempted to browse the aisles and add more to our cart.

Unsubscribe from Emails
I am a sucker for a great deal. Who isn’t? But instead of falling into the trap of simply spending money because you got an email that said there is a “50% OFF TODAY ONLY!” sale, don’t let yourself be tempted and just unsubscribe from all store/promotional emails.

You can manually unsubscribe from every email, or you can use my preferred method and use Unroll.me. Unroll Me allows you unsubscribe to hundreds of emails is just a couple minutes. It’s free and will save you big time if you spend money triggered by promotional emails.

Give Yourself Fun Money
Sometimes you just want to spend a little extra without feeling guilty or overly restricted. That’s where a fun money fund comes into play. Give yourself a little wiggle room in your budget and allow yourself to have $50-$100 for fun money. This is for truly whatever the heck you choose to purchase that seems petty or just for fun. (The Nav.it App can help you track how much “daily play money” you have in your budget.)

My suggestion: keep your fun money in cash and train yourself to ONLY spend that cash. When you’re out of fun money, you’re out.

Leave your Cards at Home
You can’t spend if you don’t have your card on you. A lot of people get concerned about this and say things like, “but Whitney, I might need to fill up on gas or stop by the store for a couple things on my way home.” Valid. But with a bit of planning this absolutely works!

I personally, leave my card at home when I can feel myself being extra tempted to buy things I don’t need. I have found that when I bring my coffee with me, fill up my gas tank on weekends, and actively do my grocery shopping online, there really isn’t anything that I need on a normal basis.

Be disciplined and try this tip out. It is guaranteed to work!

Remove your Card Info 
Online shopping is too easy. You go the website, browse around for a bit, click a couple buttons, and bam! You just made some impulse purchases. The whole goal of preventing or minimizing impulse buys is to put barriers between you and habits you don’t want. If you are an online shopper, the best thing you can do for yourself is removing your card from your computer.

If you are browsing Amazon and see all the things you think you need you might add it to your cart, but if you have to manually pull your card out of your wallet and type in the numbers, you *might* not be as likely to purchase the items.

Make it a bit harder for yourself by removing the card info from your computer AND your phone.

Keep a Running “Wants” List
One of the sheets in my budget is a Wants tab. Anytime I find something I want from a podcast episode or a YouTube video that mentioned some really sweet products (or even while browsing Insta) I will hop over to my budget and jot down the item, the cost and the store name.

Then, I will occasionally review my list and purchase one of those items if I still want it and can afford it. I try to time my purchases as a reward for accomplishing a goal. For example, I’m working on a new course “Become A Financial Coach” and one of my rewards for finishing the course will be an extended weekend on the beach.

Recognize that Sales aren’t Saving you Money
One of my friends loves thrift shopping. She came up to me one time and showed me all the amazing name-brand items she got at a consignment store and kept telling me how proud she was.

“Whitney, these leggings typically cost $120, and I only paid $45.” You might have saved money on the purchase, but if you weren’t planning on buying the item, all you did was spend more money that you didn’t want to spend.

Just remember- spending money is NOT saving you money.

Watch Your Mood
Do you ever find yourself spending money when you are bored, sad, mad, happy, or not confident? You’re not alone! We are all emotional spenders. The key is to become self-aware enough that you understand what emotions are your triggers.

My two primary emotional spending triggers are: boredom and lack of confidence.

In college, I found that I was spending a ton of money on coffee every month. I would get to campus, have about 30 minutes in between classes and buy coffee. My trigger was boredom. I had some down time and instead of doing something productive like studying in those 30 minutes, I would fill time and buy coffee. I didn’t need coffee. But it was something to do.

Whenever I feel insecure, I find that I am much more likely to go shopping. That’s my time where I want to buy makeup or clothing that makes me look and feel like a million bucks. Once I learned that my insecurity was causing me to spend money, I was able to channel that into better habits- like hitting the gym or listening to inspirational podcasts of self-worth.

Once you know your emotional triggers, you can avoid impulse spending when you’re feeling those emotions.

Tape your Budget to your Debit Card
When I was paying off debt and I had to get my finances in order, I found that having my monthly budget taped to my debit card was the reminder that I needed to stay on track. One time during tax season (I was a Staff Accountant), I was exhausted and burned out from working seven days a week (80-100 hours without a day off in three months). You better believe that I felt entitled to buying my SF-Vanilla Soy Americano from Starbucks.

When I got to my car, I opened my wallet and saw my budget taped to my debit card. It was a smack in the face reminder that I was working towards a bigger goal and I wasn’t the kind of person who didn’t commit to a goal fully. So I did the walk of shame back to my cube and drank the mediocre office coffee.

I didn’t care that taping my budget was cheesy to others. I personally felt that having my debt around for 10+ years was worse. Sometimes seeing that you don’t have money for impulse buys is all you need to get back in check.

Be Careful about the Impulse ‘Yes’
Yes, I’ll meet you for happy hour. Or yes I’ll go shopping with you. Yes, I’ll host dinner at my house.

These are all common scenarios that tend to bite us in the behind. When we impulsively say yes without planning for the items in advance, you find yourself spending waaaaay more than you initially planned. It’s important to say yes to experiences, but not if they are sabotaging your financial life. Be selective about what you say yes to. 

Remember, like we discussed earlier, everything you say yes to means saying no to something else. If you planned correctly, you likely already have a small fun money account that allows you to say yes to the occasional last minute happy hour.
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Nicole Negron
21 days ago

A Modern Woman’s Guide to Birth Control

health and wellness
women
I am a firm believer that every woman should have the right as well as the ability to access birth control should she deem it necessary. However, it’s still difficult to access comprehensive information about what women are putting into their bodies.

In my clinical practice, women are increasingly inquisitive about the possibility of coming off birth control. Som...
I am a firm believer that every woman should have the right as well as the ability to access birth control should she deem it necessary. However, it’s still difficult to access comprehensive information about what women are putting into their bodies.

In my clinical practice, women are increasingly inquisitive about the possibility of coming off birth control. Some of the most common occurances that drive women to considering coming off synthetic birth control are low sex drive, painful sex, weight changes, yeast infections, gut issues, and depression. This leads them to ask, What’s the best form of birth control for me?

There are gaps in our understanding of menstruation, and there are even bigger gaps in understanding birth control, and its long-term effects. Given our current political climate on women reproductive rights, women need to be aware of alternative options that are available to them to better care for their mental, and physical health. Self-knowledge is the path to body literacy.

Let’s explore my top three recommendations for natural birth control options in 2019.

Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM)
Although you're probably giving this an eye role, give me a second to explain. Where men are fertile every single day of the month, women are fertile only six days per menstrual cycle.

To avoid pregnancy, you can determine your five fertile days before ovulation by using progressive tools, such as Ava Fertility Bracelet, an FDA registered device that measures five physiological markers during the menstrual cycle, and identifies your fertile window in real time. It has 89 percent effectiveness.

You can also use Daysy (99.4 percent effective), which has an integrated thermometer that enables a precise measurement effectiveness. Daysy determines fertile and infertile phases of the female cycle and can be used for family planning.

During your most fertile days, you can avoid vaginal intercourse or use a barrier method for those five days leading up to ovulation. It’s pretty simple. FAM is a method I personally have been practicing for over 15 years.

Diaphragm (barrier method)
Caya is made of silicone rather than the latex of the old-style diaphragms and does not need to be fitted by your doctor. It is 88% effective. It works by physically blocking sperm from entering the uterus combined with an eco-friendly spermicide that kills sperm.

You can purchase Caya directly online or by prescription from your local pharmacist.

Copper IUD
The copper IUD is a wonderful option as it does not suppress ovulation or change your natural hormones. The copper IUD prevents pregnancy by impairing sperm motility. It is 99.2 percent effective.

There was one study that  found higher blood levels of copper in the IUD users, which impacted mood and other aspects of women’s health along with zinc deficiency.

Side note on ovulation: Ovulation is necessary for good feminine health. Ovulation is how you make progesterone, which is a natural valium for the brain during the week or two before menstruation. Ovulation is also responsible for mood, good metabolism and bones and necessary for an easy period.

If you're on the Hormonal Birth Control
There are long-term side effects of being on the birth control pill, including increased nutrient deficiency such as vitamins B2, B12, B6, zinc and folate. If you plan on starting a family in the future, stop taking the pill, and start taking a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin at least six months before trying to conceiving.

If you’re interested in learning more about your current form of birth control and what form of birth control is right for you. sign up for a free consultation to explore more options with Nicole Negron.
 
AL
Athena Lent
27 days ago

Bring the F.I.R.E. this 4th of July—A Guide to Financial Independence

savings
personal finance
Are your ears burning? That’s because F.I.R.E (financial independence, retire early) is sweeping the country as more women decide to live a life they love on their own terms.

I know, it sounds impractical. Aren’t we supposed to work until we’re ancient? But I’m here to share the skinny on how you...
Are your ears burning? That’s because F.I.R.E (financial independence, retire early) is sweeping the country as more women decide to live a life they love on their own terms.

I know, it sounds impractical. Aren’t we supposed to work until we’re ancient? But I’m here to share the skinny on how you can cut years off your 9-to-5 and go get that tan on the beach in the Bahamas instead (again, this is not fake, keep reading).

What does it mean to be on F.I.R.E.?
You achieve F.I.R.E. when your wealth, including savings and/or investments, can provide enough cash flow to make working an option and not a necessity (what a dream, right?).

There are two ways to become a financially independent boss babe: the four percent rule and passive income streams.

Skim off the top.
According to this rule, you can annually withdraw at least four percent of your investment portfolio to live off of without touching the balance (a.k.a. how much you put in). By leaving the balance, you’re creating a recurring income stream off the money you earn from the investment.

So how much do you need to invest? That depends on how much you need to cover your lifestyle for a year. If you’re currently living off of $50,000, you would take that amount and divide it by 0.04.

In case you don’t have your calculator app open, that comes to $1,250,000. Casual, right? Who doesn’t have a cool million to spare?

Get passive (aggressive).
Option two is to create passive income streams. It takes an initial investment, but then little to no ongoing effort.

Real estate is a great example of this. Once you buy a house, you can rent it out immediately. Consider what you’ll pay for the mortgage, property taxes, maintenance, etc., and check if the price you’d need to charge to cover all of your expenses and still return a profit matches the current market. If so, it’s time to start living that Airbnb host life.

If real estate isn’t your thing (or you find all that math downright scary), start smaller. Want something super easy? Create a printable to download off Etsy for a one-time fee.

This sounds overwhelming… 
You’re right, it does. How are you supposed to save enough money to purchase real estate, let alone grow an investment portfolio of over a million dollars? Girl, I hear you.

Just like Drake, you gotta start from the bottom.

First, give yourself a financial quiz. Are all your bills on time? What about debt, savings for a rainy day, and that shoe sale that comes once a year?

If you get an A, great job! If it’s looking more like a C or lower, get yourself situated before jumping into the F.I.R.E. 

Once you’re doing well financially, estimate how much money you need to stay there. Add up your monthly spending, then multiply it by 12. That’s the amount you need to be generating from investments or passive income streams to cover your living expenses for a year.

You don’t have to follow just one of the two F.I.R.E. routes, either. In fact, many people do a hybrid and become financially independent sooner than later. 

Are you feeling the burn yet?


RD
Robin Davis
27 days ago

Portugal’s Not Complete Without a Porto Travel Itinerary

travel
see the world
Sure, Lisbon is Portugal’s big bustling capital, but Porto has all the charm. And the vibe is way more chill—in a good way! Here’s why you shouldn’t skip the smaller city when planning a trip to Portugal.

The food scene is diverse and eclectic.
Porto has all the good traditional eats you’ll find in Lisbon, but also a trendy and innovative food...
Sure, Lisbon is Portugal’s big bustling capital, but Porto has all the charm. And the vibe is way more chill—in a good way! Here’s why you shouldn’t skip the smaller city when planning a trip to Portugal.

The food scene is diverse and eclectic.
Porto has all the good traditional eats you’ll find in Lisbon, but also a trendy and innovative food scene. One of the best meals I had was at Tapabento, a recommendation from the late great Anthony Bourdain. The food was incredibly fresh and the menu (which changes often) offered so many great options (like foie gras toast, oxtail empanadas, wild shrimp) we could barely choose.

Brunch at Rosa et al Townhouse was not at all what I expected. In a country where meat and seafood reign supreme, this bed and breakfast had delicious healthy meals featuring produce plucked from the land. Not to mention that the décor is Pinterest-worthy. On a warm day, have your meal outside in the garden and enjoy the lush scenery.

Save room in your luggage—it’s a book lover’s paradise.
It seems like everywhere we look, bookstores are vanishing, but bookworms, fear not! Porto has an infinite amount.

Live out your Harry Potter dreams at Livraria Lello, the bookstore that inspired J.K. Rowling! You’ll have to buy a ticket and wait your turn to take a picture on their famous staircase, but if you’re a true Potterhead, it’ll be worth it. (For me, the bookstore wasn’t as beautiful as the pictures made it seem online, but hey, do it for the culture.)

If you’re looking for a Portuguese author to round out your bookshelf, I highly recommend José Saramago. Pick up one of his books while waiting for your staircase picture (I recommend Blindness, an enthralling novel in which a country is hit with a plague where everyone has lost their vision).

Explore the Douro Valley and sample Portuguese wines.
Porto is located near/in the famous Douro wine valley, and along the riverfront are tons of wine houses that offer both tastings and tours everyday. Make sure you sample vinho verde (light, bubbly and crisp wine in a green bottle), a wine unique to northern Portugal.

Riverside lounging is a must do.
Porto has a well-developed riverfront area full of restaurants, bars, the aforementioned wine houses, and shopping. Go shopping in the artisanal market where you can buy everything from jewelry to home decor to linens. Or just lounge along the riverside. It’s one of my favorite things to do (and apparently the Portuguese feel the same way).

If you want to take a picture of the river, the best views come from the bridge. But be careful—it might look like a pedestrian bridge, but it’s not! Watch out for the train that comes barreling through every so often. Instead, take the cable car to get sweeping views of the river and the rest of Porto.

Relaxed vibes for a relaxing time.
There’s a reason Porto consistently shows up on the list of best places to visit. You don’t need an itinerary to enjoy yourself (though you’ll still have fun if you abide by one—I see you, Type As). 

Whether you’re lounging on the riverside, watching the peacocks in the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, or curled up in one of the many bookstores, it’s a trip you won’t regret. 
DD
Danielle Desir
27 days ago

Your Save For Vacation App

traveling
money
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the trip planning process, first things first, take a deep breath and let it sink in that you’re actually going on a trip.

Perhaps this is a trip to one of your favorite places in the world (Iceland is mine) or maybe you’re going to a new
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the trip planning process, first things first, take a deep breath and let it sink in that you’re actually going on a trip.

Perhaps this is a trip to one of your favorite places in the world (Iceland is mine) or maybe you’re going to a new country where you don’t speak the language. Either way, you’re planning a trip and that’s exciting!

While there may be a lot of prep work involved before you go, I will help you break down one of the hardest components: getting the funds to go on the trip. There are many tips and tricks to make saving for vacation simple and consistent.

And you can take advantage of a digital tool at your disposal. Think of Nav.it as your ultimate save for vacation app.

Different funds for different accounts
When it comes to budgeting in general, I recommend separating your money into multiple bank accounts. If you want to travel the world, one bank account that I highly recommend having is a "travel fund". A travel fund is simply a bank account where you save money for travel.

Why have a travel fund?
Having a bank account dedicated to travel ensures that you’re actively working toward your travel savings goals. It prevents overspending and undersaving, and at a glance, you know exactly how much you have saved up for a trip.

Your travel fund can be a checking account, a savings account or money market. Give this special bank account a nickname like “Weekend Getaway with Bae”.

Tool tip: Want to see all of your money in one place? Using Nav.it, you can connect your savings, checking and credit card accounts so you can see all transactions and saved up funds in one place and get an overview of your overall spending. 

Using this save for vacation app will help you decide how much you might be able to contribute to your “Weekend Getaway with Bae” fund (and if skipping a couple latte runs might help you reach your travel goals sooner!).

Why save for travel consistently?
After you open a bank account devoted solely to travel, it makes it easy to save for your next adventure each paycheck.

Determine an amount you can afford to save per pay period and automatically save that same amount each time you get paid via direct deposit.

Tool tip: Once again, if you’re using the save for vacation app to track your spending to decide how much you can put toward your travel fund, you can take advantage of the reminder setting in the Nav.it app.

If there is a category on your overall monthly spending that you want to reduce (lattes, brunches, impulse shopping buys), you can change the budget line total for the month, and then set up alerts to ping you when you’ve spent 50 or 90 percent of that line item.

Let the app do the work for you!

How I plan for my trips
When I first started traveling, I saved $25 each paycheck. Now I save upwards of $200 per month. Whatever amount you decide to save, remember to save consistently. Consistency is key to developing good financial habits.

Saving consistently also means that you’ll have money available to hop on a good flight deal or go on a spontaneous trip without having to worry about your finances. Woohoo! Sounds nice, right?

The key takeaway here, automate saving for travel.

Budget for your trip
Next, create a budget for your vacation. Put together a list of places you want to visit and use blogs to figure out how much it will cost you to get there, eat, and do fun activities.

Pro Tip: Budget Your Trip is a helpful resource for determining travel costs around the world. Add all of your travel costs together to set your vacation budget.

Tool tip: The save for vacation app has yet another feature to help you reach your happiness (aka travel) goals! On the Goals tab, set up your trip budget goal (the magic number you figured out above), and it will show you how much you need to save per day (or week, or month) to achieve these goals. 

Once you have a trip budget, start looking for flight deals! You’ve conquered a major milestone, Nav.igator!

On The Thought Card, Danielle Desir empowers readers to make informed financial decisions and embrace their innerfinancially savvy traveler. She also has a fun podcast! Check out The Thought Card podcast here!
AM
Amy Matthews
25 days ago

When Your Head and Your Heart Play Tug-O-War: Mind vs. Heart Decision

#women
mindset
We all have mixed feelings at times. I certainly do (seriously – who doesn’t!). You know, when it’s hard to choose or decide because your head is telling you one thing and your heart says another.

What the mind vs. heart decision looks like

Here are a few ways the mind vs. heart decision plays out:

“I’d love to pursue my ...
We all have mixed feelings at times. I certainly do (seriously – who doesn’t!). You know, when it’s hard to choose or decide because your head is telling you one thing and your heart says another.

What the mind vs. heart decision looks like

Here are a few ways the mind vs. heart decision plays out:

“I’d love to pursue my passion but I CAN’T.  I need the security my job gives me, even though it sucks me dry.”

“I’m super attracted to this person and we have so much fun together. BUT I have a different picture, they aren’t ‘who I thought I’d be with’.

“I don’t want to go to the party – it will be boring. Yet I’m OBLIGATED because I said I would go. I need to do the ‘right’ thing, that’s who I am.”

Our analytical mind guides us in many ways but often its advice is geared to the “shoulds” in life – how it “should” look, how you “should” be, what you “should” do or what things “should” look like. ​​​​​​​Shoulds drain our energy and are joy-killers. They keep us stuck, in question mode, or feeling ambivalent. 

Worst of all, they keep us from taking action on what we want most.

Nav.ing the mind vs. heart decision

​​​​​​To get your head and heart aligned, ask yourself these questions. 
  1. What thoughts, beliefs and feelings are getting in the way of doing what I really want?
  2. What does my heart say?
  3. Will I regret NOT doing this?
  4. What’s the worst thing that can happen if I go for it?
Write down your answers. Confusion will naturally diffuse once you start writing.

Trust that clarity will come. A NO can turn into a YES at any time.


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