Women and Money

Getting Comfortable With The Uncomfortable

curtisfinancialplanning.comGetting Comfortable With The Uncomfortable. (Or, How CrossFit is like Investing)

In the past year, many people I know have taken up a new exercise program called CrossFit.  When I see someone looking particularly sinuous and sleek I don’t even have to ask anymore – I know their regularly visiting the CrossFit gym.  My super-fit  friend Molly Fuller, co-founder of Hands On Gourmet, describes the workout like this: “garage gym, no frills, down and dirty, super intense work outs, barbells, dumb bells, pull up bars, barely any equipment, no mirrors…”.  When I asked Molly what motivates her to stay with it even if it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable she said, “my passion for getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

Being a investment advisor, I couldn’t help but think how much this sounded like investing, particularly when Molly told me about one of her primary reasons for starting CrossFit: “I don’t ever want to be that old lady that has trouble getting up from a seated position, hopefully air squats will ensure that I’m not.” This statement reminded me of my women clients who admit to fears about becoming a “bag lady” because they aren’t sure if they are investing appropriately or saving enough for retirement.

Some things in life that seem the most uncomfortable are really very simple.

If you want a fit body and good muscle tone, you need to work out regularly. If you want your money to work for you and grow for your future, you need to save and then invest it appropriately.  Both take patience, discipline and a good strategy. In the case of working out, if you push yourself too hard,  you’re risking injury or if you take it too easy the waistline won’t budge.  With investing, if you’re too conservative inflation will eat up your savings, if you take on too much risk, volatility can cause you to lose sleep at night.

How can you get comfortable with the uncomfortable when it comes to investing? Follow these simple steps:

  1. Live within your means and save at least 15% of your income.
  2. Build an emergency fund of 6 months to one year of living expenses depending on the stability of your income sources.
  3. Invest using an asset allocation strategy in a highly diversified portfolio appropriate to your age, time frames, risk tolerance, and financial goals.
  4. Rebalance your portfolio periodically to maintain your chosen asset allocation.
  5. Be disciplined, patient and start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable!

More Resources:

Read the 10 Simple Truths About Money

 

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A Spreadsheet for Your Happiness

I came up with a brainstorm in my usual place (the shower) one morning. I had been thinking about the cash flow work I do with my clients and how it almost always initiates a discussion about what they want more of in life.  It usually goes like this: We review the fixed or essential expenses like mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance premiums and then we talk about their  discretionary expenditures:  things like entertainment, dining out, travel,  and hobbies. Many times my clients are frustrated because they want more of these pleasurable activities and things in their lives but don’t know whether they can afford them. Or, in the case of couples, one party wants more of something and the other doesn’t!

This dilemma is one of the key reasons that many seek out a financial advisor. In my experience people want a financial plan for three reasons:

  • To track progress towards short-term financial goals, i.e. college education for children or buying a home.
  • To ensure that there will be enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
  • To find out whether they can afford more pleasure in their lives enjoying the things and experiences they love.

Back to the brainstorm: This is why I decided to write The Happiness Spreadsheet– it’s an ebook and a workbook. It leads the reader through the work of creating a spending plan for their discretionary dollars that I call The Happiness Spreadsheet. Why would a spreadsheet (of all things) help to make someone happier?  Because in order to figure out what you most want and what you can afford, both sides of the brain-the right/emotional  side and the left/analytical side need to be engaged to come up with the answers. Because there are dollars involved, it means trade-offs, and by putting the numbers down on paper, it is easier to see what trade-offs need to be made in order to fulfill your dreams.

If this idea sounds intriguing to you, there are several ways you can learn how to create your own Happiness Spreadsheet. One, you can buy the ebook on Amazon here. It’s only $3.99.  Or, you can sign up for a Happiness Spreadsheet workshop. The first one is April 28, and at the moment is full, but you can sign up on the waitlist. Those who don’t get into the first class will be emailed about the next class. Or you can email me at cathy@curtisfinancialplanning.com to explore other ways we can work together.

If you do buy the ebook, please be sure and give me feedback on your experience!

More resources for your Happiness quest:

From the Money Crush blog:  Why Budgeting Isn’t Just About The Number

From Oprah: Five Things Happy People Do

From Brain Pickings: How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love

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Revisiting: Contrary to Popular Opinion, You Were Not Born to Shop

shoppinggirl Contrary to popular opinion, you were not born to shop. If you are a woman who loves clothes and fashion (c’est moi) this may be debatable. However, most of us have to curb our enthusiasm for adornment lest we wreak havoc on our cash flow and personal net worth.

Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies that allow me to indulge my fashion passion and still manage to stay current on credit card bills, invest and save money. It’s all about stretching those dollars to stay within budget. You do have a clothing budget, don’t you?

Here are my top five strategies for smarter clothes shopping:

(I like to support the local economy, so most of the retail establishments mentioned below are in the San Francisco Bay Area. But most metropolitan areas will have similar venues—you just have to go out and find them!).

Strategy #1: Take a cue from chic French women and maintain a small but high quality wardrobe. Artfully use accessories to create different looks.

How? Find designers and shops that suit your fashion sensibility. Patronize these places—buy less, but buy what you love. As an added bonus, if you become a loyal customer, you’ll be invited to special sales and sample sales. My personal favorites:

FIT: www.fitclothingrockridge.com/. FIT is a small clothing boutique in the Rockridge district in Oakland. Joyce Gardner, the owner, carefully curates her stock to satisfy her local clientele. She carries selected labels such as Schmacher, Cop Copine, Yoshi Kondo, Diane Von Furstenberg, Three Dot, Velvet by Graham and Spencer, and Pete. She packs a lot of style in a small space and her employees are adept at pulling looks together. She holds special sales and gives first dibs to her best customers.

Catherine Jane: https://www.facebook.com/CatherineJaneSF. Catherine Jane is a San Francisco designer who has an eye for gorgeous fabric and fit. She creates wonderfully feminine clothing with her own unique flare that will flatter your figure. Tip: Her sample sales are full of outrageous bargains.

The reward for buying high quality, timeless fashion is longer wear and thus less money spent over time.

Strategy #2: Find consignment shops whose buyers are very picky and who echo your style sensibility.

Yes, these are pre-owned and pre-worn garments. If you don’t have a problem with that, it’s a great way to add pieces to your wardrobe at good prices. Here’s how consignment shops work: Women bring in their current, gently worn and seasonal items and the store buyer selects which pieces work for her store. Then she splits the sale price with the seller, usually 50/50 or 60/40. Prices are generally 1/4 of retail prices.

My personal favorite consignment shop is Mirabel (3251 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland). This store is full of fashion gems. You will find labels such as Marc Jacobs, Burning Torch, Velvet by Graham and Spencer, Diane Von Furstenberg, Prada and Missoni as well as a carefully edited selection of Banana Republic, J. Crew and H&M. Occasionally there will be truly great finds (like an Isabel Marant leather jacket I found recently).

Added bonus: If you don’t want to buy, you can always sell clothing that is gathering dust in your closet.

Strategy #3: Find a fashion stylist to audit your closet and help you shop.

If you love clothes but hate to shop or feel like you make a lot of expensive buying mistakes, hiring a personal stylist may be the perfect solution. She can save you both time and money and you’ll look great with minimal effort.

Great Find: Urban Darling. www.facebook.com/urbandarling/

Stylist: Lisa Deane. https://www.facebook.com/urbandarling/

For more tips on working with a stylist, check out my previous post, “Save Money By Shopping in Your Own Closet with a Wardrobe Stylist.”

Strategy #4: If you don’t like going to shops, bring the shop to you!

There are clothing lines that are sold only in private venues. If you host a party, not only do you get to invite all your friends, you receive 50% off your items depending on how much others buy. Personally, I like the CAbi (Carol Anderson By Invitation) line. And my favorite CAbi consultant is Erin Saul who lives in Oakland.

Great Find: CAbi. www.cabionline.com/

Strategy #5: Use the Internet to find sales on items you crave.

You see a gorgeous pair of shoes at Bloomingdale’s. You can’t afford them. Go home and do a Google search using the specific brand name, style and color. You may find that the shoes are on sale somewhere else. In addition, you can ask retailers to match prices if you find them lower on-line. Don’t be afraid to ask.

I think these five strategies will give you a good start on smart clothing shopping. But, if your closets are bulging and think you might have a shopping problem you may need another kind of help. Jill Chivers, a former shopaholic, has created the “My Year Without Clothes Shopping” program for people like you. Her program offers a fun and safe way to “break the cycle of unconscious and compulsive shopping” and to be more in control of your money. Check out her website: www.myyearwithoutclothesshopping.com

I would love to hear of any tips or strategies you have to be stylish without breaking the bank. Please share your thoughts!

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Women and the Media, Revisited.

Miss Represention LogoLast week, I attended a screening of Jennifer Seibel Newsom’s new film, Miss Representation. It was a fun night out with the girls on a beautiful summer evening, but the movie’s content wasn’t uplifting, nor was it meant to be. The film documents the role of media in today’s society and how it marginalizes women through its pervasive emphasis on sex and violence  and its tendency to air content that is disrespectful to our women leaders.

Unfortunately, this “stuff” sells. The media is trying to capture as many eye-balls (and ears) as possible to maximize profits and the more provocative the content, the better. Some of the worst offenders are the most visible – talk show hosts or political analysts who get away with name- calling and worse, especially during political campaigns. The film has some clips of the likes of  Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh spouting some nasty commentary in regards to women candidates. Who can forget the Hilary bashing during the 2008 campaign with much airtime about the tone of her voice, her hair and attire?

Imagine the impact on the younger generation in the U.S. who are continually exposed to these viewpoints? My friends and I, who are past the bloom of youth, reacted to the film similarly at first – so, what else is new? But we realized after some discussion that this documentary is an excellent wake-up call that all-is-not-as-it-should-be and that perhaps we should get over our complacency and be part of the solution.

After all, women have power. They make over 80% of consumer purchases in the U.S. – from soap to cars to houses. Women also control a lot of private wealth – $14 trillion at last count (out of approximately $55 trillion). Women make up 51% of the U.S. population. In contrast, within our most powerful institutions – media, government and business – female representation is shockingly low. Only 3% of women hold clout positions in the mainstream media, only 17% of seats in the House of Representatives and merely 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

How can women use their buying power and majority to help more women get promoted, elected and recognized? Wouldn’t it be great if instead of the explosive growth in cosmetic surgical procedures performed each year on American girls (more than tripled between 1997 and 2007) there was this kind of growth in the number of women in our legislative bodies? Wouldn’t our dollars be better spend on education instead of liposuction?

Becoming a conscientious consumer is one way to stimulate change. Some ideas:

  • Buy products that support, instead of offend, your values.
  • Select media (movies, television, games,magazines,books) that portray positive messages about gender.
  • Support men and women political leaders with your vote and/or dollars who fight for the ideals you believe in.
  • Go see Miss Representation! Bring the children and men in your life.
  • Take the Miss Representation pledge.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”   Alice Walker

Related Links:
Blog post from Sally Around the Bay: “Money Honey
Blog post from Small Change: when deju vu draws the same blank
Blog post from Tam Holland: The Week of Representing

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Book Review: Small Business Taxes Made Easy, 2nd edition, by Eva Rosenberg.

Small Business Taxes Made Easy book cover As a financial advisor, I’ve read my share of tax books. So, I poured myself a strong cup of coffee, made sure I wasn’t too comfortable and opened Small Business Taxes Made Easy by Eva Rosenberg. After reading the first few pages, I realized that this tax book was different. First of all, I enjoyed Eva Rosenberg’s voice. She is friendly, knowledgeable, and savvy. She has obviously worked with many small business owners and understands us. You feel like she really cares about your business – No wonder she is referred to as the “TaxMama.”

But it’s not only her unique voice. The book is organized in a very logical and helpful way. Each chapter, beginning with Chapter 1: The Small Business Checklist, has a To-Do List and Questionnaire to review before you read the chapter. At the end of each chapter is a complete list of resources to make it easy to get even more information and do research on the topic at hand. If you are short on time, you could get a lot of information by just reading these two sections. However, it would benefit you to read through the chapters. Rosenberg is a tax expert and there are many gems of tax wisdom contained in the chapters where you will find yourself thinking, “Oh, I didn’t know that,” or, “Great idea, I think I will incorporate that tax strategy into my business.” It’s a workbook, so get out a pen and take notes where needed!

The book is really a small business bible, not just a tax book. The chapter titles tell the story: Business Plans You Know and Trust; Entities; Record Keeping; Income; Common Deductions; Office in Home; Vehicles: Everyone’s Favorite Deduction; Employees and Independent Contractors; Owner’s Fringe Benefits, Retirement, and Tax Deferment; (the dreaded) Estimated Payments; Online Businesses; and Audits. Ms. Rosenberg really wants you to set up your business right, from the start, for growth and profit! And we all know that taxes play a big part in the outcome.

You can download worksheets from www.YourBusinessBible.com that will help you stay on track as you complete the tasks in the book. She provides a different password to the site each month that you can only retrieve by owning the book. Clever!

I plan to keep this book nearby as a reference for those questions I often get from my business-owner clients. And if you are a business-owner yourself – whether you’re just starting out or not –  This book is a must-read.

Please note: This book was provided to me free of cost by McGraw-Hill. Even so, this is an honest, objective review of the book!

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Women and Money: Women Have Unique Financial Planning Needs

Carol Moretti (seated) and Lisa Deane
Carol Moretti (seated) and Lisa Deane
Carol Moretti (seated) and Lisa Deane

In my living room sat an architect, a CPA, a healthcare executive, a innovation consultant, a marketing and branding expert, a retired attorney, a writer for the Huffington Post, a clutter coach, an interior designer, a home staging specialist, a jewelry designer, a technical writer, and a newspaper columnist. We were joined by an IT manager, a freelance interactive producer, an owner of a cooking-party company, an owner of a company specializing in culinary health education for kids, a development director, a yoga instructor, a marketing consultant, a personal fashion stylist, a trade marketing manager and a business student. All women. All interesting and accomplished.

Women are as diverse as any other group of people in their career choices and in their lifestyles. But women also share distinct attributes: They are great communicators, relationship builders and nurturers. They also share unique financial planning needs. For example, many women are concerned that they will be old and poor and alone. Look at these facts:

  • Eighty percent of American women will find themselves the sole keepers of their personal finances at some point during their lives, However, most of those women feel financially insecure, despite controlling more wealth, having more education and being more involved in financial decisions.
  • Women still make less than men make in similar occupations.
  • Women’s careers are often interrupted by family needs, such as childcare and eldercare, which limits their opportunity for income and retirement savings growth.
  • Many women fear losing everything and becoming bag ladies (and it doesn’t seem to matter how much money they have or make).
  • Two-thirds of women over age 65 rely on Social Security as their primary source of income. Consequently, women are twice as likely as men to live out their golden years at or below poverty levels.

In my living room, we nibbled bites of grilled salmon covered in sesame seeds, ginger chicken, and artichoke frittata while sipping champagne cocktails. Everyone listened attentively to presentations on serious topics such as the 2010 tax relief act and the new healthcare law, but also to fun topics such as the top ten wardrobe essentials and how to save money on your wardrobe. In between speakers, we women did what we are great at: connected, made new friends and perhaps got a business lead or two.

About Cathy Curtis
Cathy Curtis, the writer of this blog and owner of Curtis Financial Planning, specializes in the finances of women, their families and their businesses. You can find out more about her on her website
www.curtisfinancialplanning.com and follow her on Twitter @cathycurtis, on Facebook Women and Money and on LinkedIn Women and Money.

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Girls Gotta Do Business

photo: Alison Covarrubias,Julie Abrams,Cathy Curtis,Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa
Alison Covarrubias,Julie Abrams,Cathy Curtis,Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa

It was my pleasure to moderate a panel of women who have made it part of their life’s work to help and support women entrepreneurs. Julie Abrams as CEO of Women’s Initiative; Alison Covarrubias as Co-Founder of The Hatch Network; Baat Enosh of  NCWIT and Women 2.0 and Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa as a Director of Savor the Success.

We started our discussion by exploring the popular notion that women will “rule the world” and that the economic recovery will be largely led by females. We went on to discuss the challenges women face securing funding for their companies, the conflicts inherent to being a parent and running a company, and the unique circumstances that women of color face on their road to successful entrepreneurship.

The panelists agreed that a gender war wouldn’t do anyone any good, but that bias still exists. Until influential men become more balanced and realistic in their opinions about women’s abilities, change will be slow – particularly in the area of venture capital funding. The fact that so few women are partners at venture capital firms is a roadblock,  as people tend to invest in people they are most comfortable with and more women V.C.’s invest in women owned businesses.

On the positive side, studies indicate that women-owned businesses are run more efficiently, achieve a higher return and are focused on more than just the bottom line  – usually with an additional mission benefiting the greater good in some way. The current recession may be the catalyst that women need to be recognized as leaders with unique qualities that are necessary to gain an edge in our increasingly competitive and global world.

You can view the entire discussion on a series of youtube videos, here are the links.

Opening Comments and Introductions of Julie Abrams and Alison Covarrubias

Introductions of Baat Enosh and Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa

Women Will Rule the World?

Funding Your Business

Can Women Do It All?

Final Words of Wisdom

Please comment and share your views!

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Events: The Ascent of Women Series at the Commonwealth Club of California

The Ascent of WomanThe Commonwealth Club is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum, established in 1903. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Club hosts speeches, debates, and discussions on topics of regional, national and international interest. Some of the world’s most interesting people have appeared before the Commonwealth Club in its 107 year history.

Currently, the Club (in addition to its regular programming) is hosting a series entitled The Ascent of Women which will explore the lives of women today.  There are 30 programs planned beginning on July 30 and extending through the end of August 2010. Many of these programs will be of interest to Of Independent Means readers so be sure and explore the list.

I will be moderating two of the programs which I will highlight here:

On Friday, July 30, Outliers and Outperformers: Women in Fund Management – this event will be a  panel discussion and will focus on the role of women in the fund industry today and how more women can reach the level of fund manager.

The panelists are:

Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments
Ivka Kalus-Bysticky, Portfolio Manager,The Pax World International Fund
Luz Padilla, Head of Emerging Markets Fixed Income, Doubleline
Mary Ellen Stanek, Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer, Robert W. Baird & Co.
Cathy Curtis, Investment Advisor, Curtis Financial Planning – Moderator

If you would like to attend, you can click here to reserve

On, Tuesday, August 3:  Girls Gotta Do Business-The Rising Force of Women Entrepreneurs. This panel discussion will focus on the exponential growth of women-owned businesses, some of the struggles women face as they grow their businesses and how more women can succeed as business owners.

The panelists are:

Alison Covarrubias, Co-founder, The Hatch Network, SF
Baat EnoshEntrepreneur Alliance Program Director, NCWIT; VP of Operations, Women 2.0
Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa, Director, Savor the Success, SF Bay Area
Julie Abrams, CEO, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment
Cathy Curtis, Financial Advisor, Curtis Financial Planning – Moderator

To reserve for this program click here.

Check back as I will be blogging about both discussions!

Hope to see you there.

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Women And Money: Primp Your LinkedIn Profile

Manage the Brand That is You.

Kim Kochaver
Kim Kochaver
Last night, I hosted a LinkedIn workshop at my home for members of the Hatch Network a modern business school for entrepreneurial women. Our guest speaker was Kim Kochaver, a Trade Marketing Manager for LinkedIn.

Kim gave a fast-paced, gem-filled presentation on how to nurture your LinkedIn profile, build your network and then leverage it. Because many of the women in the room were LinkedIn neophytes, we spent most of the time on primping profiles, which is what I will share with you in this post.

Why should LinkedIn be important to you?
Because 60 million other professionals are using it. It is THE social media site for business networking. And most importantly, (as Kim stated so effectively last night) it is a growing phenomenon that our career or business success depends on managing our own personal brand. LinkedIn gives you an excellent platform to do just this.

Start managing your personal brand with an optimized profile.
Above all, Linked in is a site meant for doing business and making professional connections. The profile layout is straightforward and simple with fields to let people know who you are, what you do, your professional  memberships and interests. The following are a  few tips to help you set up an effective, professional profile (click on “settings” in the upper right corner of the your LinkedIn homepage to start editing). Definitely post a picture of yourself.

Choose a head-shot style picture. This is not the place for a picture of you on a beach in Mexico. If you can afford it, hire a professional to take a head shot. You can use it many other places.

Write a summary that is brief and interesting. Write it in paragraph form, not bulleted like a resume. Cutting and pasting your resume is probably not a good idea – do you find resumes interesting reading material? Highlight your specialties… Choose the experience or personal qualities that most represent your brand. If you don’t like to write about yourself, enlist the help of a professional writer/editor to help you.

Choose a custom Public Profile URL.  Kim recommends using your name since your employer or business could change. You will always be you. For example, my URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathycurtis

Choose custom names for your websites by ignoring the default “my website”, “my blog” and choose “other.” By choosing other you can name your links whatever you like. Another great tip: rotate your links and websites depending on what you want your contacts to know about you. For example, Kim has a website link called Get LinkedIn’s Audience Stats and Follow Kim on Twitter.

Edit your Public Profile. The default public profile is too basic. At least include your picture, headline, summary, specialties, websites and interests. If you peak a viewer’s interest the more likely it is they will go on to read your full profile increasing your chances for a connection.

Use the Network Updates box to promote yourself and your business. Some ideas for effectively using this feature: post new blogs you have written; post event info, let your contacts know about special projects you are working on related to your business or job, if you are openly job hunting, let people know here. Network updates is a great tool to remind your network of what you are up to on a regular basis.

Take Advantage of LinkedIn Applications
LinkedIn has added several applications and there are more to come. Here are a few that are easy and fun to use and further the goal of building your personal brand:

Reading List by Amazon:   You are what you read?  Let your contacts know more about you by what you read. You can post your reading list and write recommendations for books you like.

My Travel by TripIt, Inc:  Fill in details of your upcoming trips. The application then let’s you know who lives or works in that area or if one of your connections is travelling there too. Think about the opportunities to meet business contacts while on the road?  Or solicit helpful comments about places you are going?

WordPress: This automatically syncs your wordpress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile. Expand your readership and contact list.

Tweets: Integrates your twitter account with LinkedIn and allows you to choose tweets for posting on LinkedIn.

SlideShare Presentations:  If you are particularly proud of a presentation you have created, you can now share with your connections. This is an effective way to highlight your particular knowledge or expertise and show off your slide-making skills. Think about the opportunities for connections with potential clients or employers!

Once you get your profile primped up to perfection, you can step up your network building activities and then start to leverage your network. In closing last night, Kim challenged us all to log-on to LinkedIn and spend a couple of hours carefully going through every section under “settings’:  Profile settings, email notifications, home page settings, RSS settings, groups, personal info, privacy settings and my network. There are many important choices within these sections that you won’t want to miss.

I’ve primped my profile, have you?

Primp your LinkedIn Profile:  Your Brand is Depending on You.

Do you want to manage your money (and life!) better?

The Happiness SpreadsheetIf you want to think differently about the relationship between your spending, your values and your happiness, then sign up to get your FREE copy of The Happiness Spreadsheet.

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A Savvy Young Woman Charts a Brave Course

As a financial planner, a lot of my work for clients is centered around careful and strategic planning. I help people gain a clear perspective on where they are right now. I work to understand where they want to go in the short term (“We want to go to Paris next year.”) and in the long term (“We want to retire comfortably in Napa Valley.”). Of course, there are many variables to any financial planning effort – there’s budgeting, saving for a college fund, buying a house, putting money away for a vacation home, etc.

As part of our work, financial planners must take into account our clients tolerance for risk. Personal financial goals, risk tolerance and, a clients age, will be among some the factors that shape any plan. Along the way, a financial plan has to be reviewed and tweaked to accommodate changing conditions — as in the economic meltdown in 2008. Good, sound financial advice – whether to stay the course or to make adjustments are key to long term success.

In financial planning, as in life, some of the best laid plans have to have some built-in flexibility to meet conditions on the ground. Or, as our story will show, on the sea.

Meet Jessica Watson – Sailor, Savvy Planner, Risk Taker

Jessica Watson - Youngest Around the World Solo Sailor
Jessica Watson - Youngest Around the World Solo Sailor

When we talk about planning, tolerance for risk, adjusting to changing conditions, sheer courage, and staying the course, we could hardly find a more inspirational example than Jessica Watson, a savvy young woman from Buderim, Australia.

Jessica, at this very moment, is sailing around the world. She is alone, on a solo voyage. Her pink sailboat is named Ella’s Pink Lady.  She is well over 5,000 miles into her epic journey and is about to sail straight into the fearsome Southern Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope.

Jessica is sixteen years old.

If she is successful, she will be the youngest person ever to sail around the world solo, unassisted. On her website, she lists her philosophy – “Always make the best of everything. Stay positive, ask questions, lots of questions.”

Not a bad approach for someone trying to sail around the world, or for life in general, or for someone trying to plan their financial life.

As a financial planner who focuses on women, their families and businesses, I think Jessica Watson is one savvy young woman. It’s clear from her blog and website that she is a serious planner who knows what her goals are, knows how to create a plan to achieve her goals, has the smarts and the skills to adjust as conditions change and has something that will stand her in good stead the rest of her life – courage.

Go Jessica!

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