Posts filed under 'Money honey'

On My Own Two Feet: More financial rockstar advice from Manisha and Sharon

onmyowntwofeet.jpgYesterday I posted part 1 of my Q&A with personal finance goddesses Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, authors of On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance, a book which I cannot recommend highly enough. If I had my way, it would be required reading in every high school, college, and workplace in America. (Who knows how much financial heartache and credit card debt I might have avoided had this book been around when I was in my twenties?)

In today’s post, Manisha and Sharon answer my questions about whether to use cash or credit, managing that blasted quarterly-tax stash, and buying a home as a single, self-employed gal. (You can read part 1 of my interview with Manisha and Sharon here, where we discuss savings and investments.) And if any of you have a personal finance question you’d like Manisha and Sharon to answer, feel free to post it in the comments. They’ll pick five questions to answer on this blog next week.

Q. When it comes to making business purchases for which you have the cash in hand, are you a fan of using ATM cards and checks, or credit cards all the way? I know a lot of freelancers and small business owners try to put all expenses on one credit card to make for cleaner expense records (myself included). Any pitfalls to watch out for?

A. It’s a personal choice — and personally, we prefer using one credit card for all business related expenses provided you always pay off the card on time and in full. Using the credit card can provide an extra layer of protection in case a vendor doesn’t come through with a service (because you can lodge a complaint with the credit card company and stop payment). It also makes for easy record keeping. If the thought of using plastic, however, makes you stay up at night, the world won’t fall apart if you use debit cards or checks.

Q. As a freelance writer, my business overhead is low low low. In the past I’ve had a separate business checking account, but eventually I decided it was a waste of hidden fees and closed it. Is there any reason I should have a business checking account that I’m not thinking of?

A. The main reason to have a separate business checking account if you are self-employed is to help reduce the temptation to spend money you need for work and to keep your record keeping simple. If you’ve got the willpower not to touch money set aside for your work expenses and your record keeping is straightforward, by all means reduce those fees and have just one account.

Q. For years I’ve used a savings account to store the portion of my freelance (1099) income that I need to send to Uncle Sam four times a year for my quarterly estimated tax payments. But I’m starting to think I should be keeping this cash in a money market that has check-writing privileges, where I can earn about 3 percent higher interest. Are there any pitfalls to doing this?

A. So long as the money market is at a reputable financial institution (that means FDIC insured if it’s a bank) or a nationwide presence if it’s a discount brokerage house (like a Vanguard, Fidelity, or Charles Schwab), you’re in good hands!

Q. When I bought a house a couple years back, I had to show the bank three years’ worth of federal tax returns because I was single and self-employed and my income was unpredictable. I remember sitting across the desk from my mortgage broker, wondering if I should have claimed less business expenses on my annual tax returns and maybe taken a little extra work for a year or two before buying the house, just to beef up my business profit margin (and in turn, annual income). Is this a wise strategy for small business owners, especially now that mortgages aren’t as easy to get?

A. It’s a strategy, but we wouldn’t call it wise — we’d call it aggressive. Mortgages that you can’t afford are hard to get these days. But if you are looking to buy a house the “old-fashioned way” — with a 20% down payment, and a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage — and if you have good credit, you’ll be fine.

Said slightly differently, if you have to contort your finances to get a mortgage, that’s a sign that what needs work is your finances. When you strip away all the media buzz, the truth of the matter is that what’s hard now is to get a mortgage for a house with less than 20% down and/or if you have bad credit. And if that’s your situation, we’d say you’re not ready to buy a house yet. Tough love, but meant to protect the self-employed gal over the long run!

Want more? You can read part 1 of my interview with Manisha and Sharon here. You can buy their fabulous book here. And if you have a personal finance question you’d like Manisha and Sharon to answer next week, post it in the comments. They’ll pick five of the best questions to answer on this site next week.

2 comments January 4th, 2008

On My Own Two Feet: Money management made simple

onmyowntwofeet.jpgSeventy percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Sound like anyone you know? Not to worry. My personal finance heroes, Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, authors of On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance, are here to answer a few questions about how we can all get our financial rears in gear in the new year, especially those of us who work for ourselves (or aspire to do so).

This is part 1 of my interview with Manisha and Sharon; I’ll post part 2 tomorrow. And if any of you have a personal finance question for Manisha and Sharon, feel free to post it in the comments. They’ll pick five questions to answer on this blog next week.

Q. Many people reading this are likely smarting from their holiday shopping bills. Do you have any suggestions for avoiding a holiday financial hangover in 2008?

A. When you are trying to lose weight, the basic recipe is “eat less, exercise more.” When it comes to staying financially fit in the new year, the same formula applies: spend less, earn more. The best way to avoid a holiday financial hangover in 2008 is to attack both sides of this equation.

In terms of spending less, the obvious place to start is to look through your daily expenses and see where you can cut back. Some not-so-obvious ways to spend less include going shopping in your closet. See if there’s anything you aren’t using that you could sell on eBay. Another idea to spend less is to make sure you actually use those frequent flyer miles or reward points you accumulate; if you don’t have enough for a flight, you can trade them in for merchandise ranging from fluffy bath towels to gardening supplies.

As for earning more, as next year’s holiday season approaches, consider taking on some temporary extra work — retailers, delivery companies (FedEx, UPS, etc.), and catering companies are frequently looking for a little extra help. The combination of the one-two punch of spending less and earning more can have an incredible impact on your overall financial state of mind.

Q. Let’s talk small business. What are your top three personal finance tips for self-employed women?

A. Make sure you have health insurance. One slip on an icy sidewalk and a broken bone could easily set you back $5,000 or more. If money is tight, shop for a high-deductible catastrophic health insurance plan. You can start your search on your own using an aggregator like eHealthInsurance or you can work with a local health insurance broker in your area (you can find one at NAHU.org).

Make sure you have at least a starter $2,000 emergency fund. According to the Consumer Federation of America, the average woman in her twenties and thirties has about $2,000 a year of unexpected expenses yet only $500 in savings. That’s a recipe for stress like you wouldn’t believe. Being self-employed involves enough uncertainty; you don’t also need to be worrying about how you’d pay for a last minute ticket to see a sick relative or a midnight call to the plumber. Our favorite place to stash that fund — savings accounts at online banks like HSBC.com and INGDirect.com.

Know that Money Is the Pink Elephant in the Room. According to the American Payroll Association, 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Shockingly, this statistic cuts across income spectrums. As financial guru Dave Ramsey famously says: Act Your Wage! Don’t succumb to peer pressure to live beyond your means. If you feel like money is tight, as often it is when you are starting up a new venture, be honest with your friends and ask them to support your decision to live within your means.

Q. What are the biggest mistakes you see self-employed women making with their personal stash of cash?

A. The biggest mistake we see self-employed women making is not knowing when they should “protect” their cash and when they should “invest” their cash. Our rough rule of thumb is that money you know you need to spend in the next 1 to 5 years should be “protected,” by parking it in an account that generates sufficient interest to offset inflation but doesn’t put your savings at risk. Examples include online savings accounts, money market funds/accounts, and certificates of deposits (CDs).

For money you don’t need to touch for at least 5 years — which for most of us means our retirement money — this is the money you are free to “invest” in riskier options like stocks and bonds. A great keep-it-simple option for this longer term money is target date retirement funds. These are the financial version of the chicken rotisserie “set it and forget it” machine. They have names like “target date 2040″ and “target date 2045,” and the dates correspond to the year in which you will turn 65. The way they work is that a mutual fund company will shift your money between stocks (most aggressive), bonds (moderate risk), and cash (conservative) as you get closer to retirement — so you literally only have to make one decision, to invest your money in the funds. You can get these funds at all the major discount brokerage firms — Vanguard, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab.

Q. Roth, SEP, WTF? Do you have a favorite type of retirement account that you recommend self-employed women open?

A. For the disciplined self-employed woman, our favorite retirement account is the SEP IRA as it enables you to contribute more money than in a simple ROTH. While you don’t get the tax-free status on withdrawals that you would with a ROTH, the ability to set aside a significantly larger chunk of change makes it a classic. However, when it comes to retirement savings, the most important thing is to do it early and often — no matter what type of account you choose!

Q. If a newly self-employed gal isn’t yet bringing home enough bacon to open a retirement fund (let alone pay herself her target salary), should she maybe eat a bit more Ramen and open the fund anyway? Or wait a year or so till she’s more solvent?

A. Eat the Ramen. The money you save early on is the most valuable. Quick quiz: Who has more money at age 65 — the woman who invests $500 a year starting at age 25, or the woman who invest $1,000 a year starting at age 35? Assuming both women’s investments go up 10% a year, the woman who started at age 25 will have $221,000 at age 65 while the woman who started at age 35 (even though she saved more!) will only have $165,000. It’s so important, we’ll say it again: START SAVING NOW are the three most powerful words in personal finance!

Come back tomorrow for part 2 of the Q&A with Manisha and Sharon. And if you have a personal finance question you’d like Manisha and Sharon to answer next week, post it in the comments.

7 comments January 3rd, 2008

Get your business finance on

Boostrapper‘s done it again. This time they’ve listed The 100 Best Business Finance Posts of All Time, on everything from funding to spending to money management. Yeah, I’ve got a post on negotiating on the list, but I’d recommend it anyway. Some links I’m looking forward to reading:

You get the idea.

Note: Several of the links I clicked went to blogs with header art featuring career coach types rocking a spiffy business suit and an authoritative gaze looking out over crossed arms. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

3 comments October 22nd, 2007

This just in: Working women still conniving C-words (and other charming headlines)

roaches.jpgChildless women “hostile to working mums” In the UK, with maternity leave lasting up to a year and “the right to ask for flex work” now an option, boardroom-bound non-moms see working moms as corporate enemies to be quashed like cockroaches. (I’m paraphrasing, people.) Furthermore, “the Working Mothers’ Report found that 52 percent thought it easier to blame a faulty alarm clock or heavy traffic than to admit that child-care problems had made them late.” (UK Telegraph)

Is she really going out with him? Now that women in their twenties who work full time in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis are bringing home more bacon than their male counterparts, they’re fraught with new dating dilemmas (says this article). Specifically, guys who make less and are intimidated by the fact that their girlfriend makes more, or guys who just can’t keep up financially (say, if she wants to go to a pricy restaurant and the opera but he wants to stay at home and swill beer). I dunno, even before researchers were announcing that women consistently made more than men in some age groups/cities, I developed this little dating tenet known as Don’t Date a Moocher, Slacker, Stoner, Agorophobe, or Drunkass Loser. At the same time, I’ve dated a number of respectful, respectable guys who said they’d be happy to be a stay-at-home househubby if we ever shacked up, an idea I rather like since I destest most domestic duties. And I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way. What I’m saying is, this smells like another BS “Style” section trend story. What do you think? (New York Times; now free online!)

Do working women need permission from their employers before getting knocked up? This is an older piece, but worth sharing: “The US has the most limited parental leave policies in the world; conservatives are furious about efforts to catch up.” Of course they are. Rat bastards. (AlterNet)

Too many tchochkes on your desk? Don’t expect a promotion any time soon. “If more than one in five items that adorn a worker’s office or cubicle is personal in nature, others may view that worker as unprofessional.” In case you were wondering, “this is largely an American phenomenon.” (Michigan Ross School of Business)

Mary-Kate (Needs A Steak) Olsen: I don’t just shop, I work hard. The life of a celebrity is haaa-aaard! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. (Fametastic)

7 comments September 26th, 2007

What I really think about credit cards, cash, and baby showers

Last week I did a fun Q&A called “10 Money Questions” that Nina Smith of Queercents fame ran on BlogHer. (Nina also posted this fab review of my book.) Because Nina asked several provocative questions no other reporter has asked me, I thought I’d post a few highlights here:

Q: What is your most significant memory about money?
A: This is a bad one: In my late twenties, my credit card debt had come to eclipse my annual income, and I couldn’t afford the monthly minimum payments anymore. My interest rates went sky-high and the collectors started calling and calling. It was awful. I had this moment of truth where I realized I’d been in denial for the past couple years and was now going to have to pay the piper, so to speak. It wasn’t that I’d been hoarding shoes or jetsetting to Paris or anything; I was just living in a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, working for myself, and too stubborn to downgrade to a studio or get a roommate (or perhaps, a day job, since my freelance salary wasn’t cutting it). Instead, I’d foolishly used my credit cards to make up the difference. I think I had about eight cards at the time.

The worst part was the shame, like I couldn’t take care of myself or something. My accountant advised me to declare bankruptcy and said I’d still be able to buy a home in a few years (in fact, he said, several of his other clients had!), but I was having none of that. I felt like, I made this mess, and I’m going to fix it myself. So I consolidated my debt through one of those nonprofit credit-card counseling services, moved to more affordable Seattle, went to work for the man for a year (at a large software company up here that you may have heard of), and paid off my debt in twelve months. It sucked big time, but in retrospect, I’m glad it happened. I felt proud about cleaning up my own mess — I don’t think I would have felt good about myself taking the easy way out. I have yet to live outside my means since, and it is such a huge load off.

Q: How does money play a role in your relationships, romantic or otherwise?
A: Other than ditching any date or “friend” who can’t pay their own way, I’m not sure how much it has. There is this though: I don’t expect my boyfriend to pick up every restaurant tab just because he has a penis, and frankly I don’t get women who still play this game when it comes to dating. (Hello, it’s not 1955!)

I’m also completely turned off by people who use the fact that they’re getting hitched or having a baby as an excuse to milk their friends for linens or onesies they could easily afford themselves. I’m not saying don’t register or don’t accept gifts (though I have the utmost respect for people who request that you instead make a donation to some noble cause or other). But don’t have a shower at which you rub your hands together like The Simpson‘s Smithers* the entire time and repeatedly ask if it’s time to open the presents yet. Your friends who have already shelled out hundreds on hideous bridesmaid dresses and an insufferable bachelorette weekend will not find this behavior endearing.

[*Post-interview thought: This would probably make more sense if I had said The Simpson's Mr. Burns. Ah well...]

Q: I read that you’ve given the baby thing a lot of thought lately. How would motherhood restrict your finances? Your career?

A: Honestly, I’ve never felt the ticking clock, baby lust, mommy gene, whatever you want to call it, and I still don’t. But biologically speaking, the window of opportunity is closing fast for me. (I just turned 40.) For that reason, I thought I’d better look long and hard at whether I’m really willing to close the door on conceiving. (I’m pretty sure I am.) And I felt like my beau and I had to get super-clear on where we both stood on this; guys don’t always realize that their sperm don’t have all the time in the world either. The upshot is, if I change my mind in five years, which seems unlikely at this point, I’m cool with adopting. I love my dog like my own, so why not a kid I didn’t hatch?

From a financial standpoint, I’d have to work the numbers if I ever got serious about being a mom to anything other than a four-legged child. When I was talking pros-cons with my boyfriend, I kept saying, “Yeah, but, how would I have the time to work, write, and be a mom?” I kind of neglected to look at the partnership part of the equation — like maybe one of us could work less and parent more, or maybe, with the power of freelancing, we both could. Maybe we could, like, live together, and get on the same health plan (duh). Maybe I could be the breadwinner and he could be my domestic diva. Stuff like that.

From a time management/balance standpoint, freelancing and telecommuting would be a boon, I’m sure. But I still worry about having to give up some writing time, and the quiet solitude I’ve come to rely on when working on a big writing project. I’m not sure I’ll ever be willing to let that go.

(You can read the rest of the interview here.)

2 comments September 24th, 2007

Success for dummies

OK, so now you know that I like to dabble in short-term contract work once every few years. Some call it temping, others call it permatemping, still others call it seasonal work. I call it Putting Myself Back In The 9-to-5 Marketplace Every So Often To See Just How Much Job Responsibility And Corporate Clout I Can Command, While Earning A Pretty Penny To Boot. Not only does this experience make me more marketable as a freelancer, it helps pad my savings account so that I can run off later and freelance for a slightly less lucrative industry — say, perhaps, maybe, oh, I dunno, book publishing.

Evidently one Amazon reviewer, who I believe is a lawyer and an accountant, considers my on-again-off-again romance with these short-lived temp stints proof that I’m a less-than-successful solo worker. This reviewer seems to think success equals nothing more than ensnaring a corner office (which I actually have at my contract job — and what a lovely view of the parking lot it is!), a company car (does a company laptop count? if so, check), and a fat salary (ahem; you don’t think I’m going to work for the man for peanuts, do you?).

I write this not to refute ESQ/CPA Guy’s review. That would be dumb. Without differences of opinion, reviews would be useless. I write this because this reviewer’s definition of success struck me as so narrow. What’s successful for me may not be successful for you (and clearly won’t be successful for ESQ/CPA Guy).

So after reading this lovely post on Boss Lady about succeeding on your own terms, I thought I’d list my own ingredients for a what I consider a “successful career” here:

  • Having the flexibility and autonomy to work when, where, and how I want (in other words, at home, wearing this, listening to this, with my dog at my feet, and a midday break for a rousing game of fetch in the backyard)
  • Asking for the rate I know I’m worth and getting it
  • Knowing my bills will always be paid and that a fat vacation involving a 14-hour plane ride is not entirely out of the question
  • Writing for household-name companies, publications, and websites
  • Writing for the audience I want to write for
  • Receiving high praise, referrals, and repeat business from clients and editors
  • Receiving awards or grants for my work
  • Working on the projects I believe in, with the people I want to work with
  • Working on projects that are so enjoyable I forget I’m actually working
  • Working on projects that make a difference in someone’s life and just might even help someone in need

Now how about you? How do you spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s?

8 comments September 14th, 2007

I will teach you to be rich…

pink_limo.jpgOK, maybe not financially per se, but perhaps deep down in your most creative heart of hearts, whatever that means. What I’m getting at is, the Q&A I did with tireless blogger Cody McKibben on Ramit Sethi‘s personal finance blog, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, is now live. To see what I have to say about today’s brave new work world (and all the freelancing, flextime, and entrepreneurialism that comes with it), and what I think Ramit Sethi can do to increase his female readership, read the Q&A. Here’s an excerpt:

Twenty-something and thirty-something women have far more of an entrepreneurial spirit than their parents ever did, partly because it’s such an at-will employment workforce these days, and partly because we saw Boomer women (often, our moms) working their asses off trying to prove they could have it all and burning out. After witnessing Enron after Enron go down in flames, and friend after friend get laid off, the message is now loud and clear: It doesn’t matter how dedicated an employee you are — companies are only out for themselves. So why work your butt to the bone like your mom did when you know you stand a decent chance of not getting a company healthcare or retirement plan and of winding up on unemployment any given month of the year?

Instead, younger women are all about quality of life. A job is a job — it’s not a way of life. I wrote the book for women who are starting to suspect this, or have already come to realize this. I wanted to tell them all I could about all the alternative ways of working I’ve tried over the years, from stringing together a handful of part-time gigs, to temping, to working a flex schedule or telecommuting for a corporation, to working for myself.

The younger you are, and the less encumbered you are by kids, partner, and mortgage, the easier it is to try some of the less conventional ways of working — especially working overseas and starting your own business. You’re not tied down by location quite so much, and you’re able to take more financial risks without worrying if you’ll be able to clothe and feed your kids six months down the line.

You can read the entire Q&A here. And if you’re new to my blog, you may want to check out some of my more popular posts:

5 comments August 16th, 2007

Fun with headlines

Hello, Computer!In the media and not to be missed this week:

New research shows that not only are men are better negotiators than women, but women who negotiate higher salaries are viewed negatively by both men and women. Ugh. How this translates: “If a 22-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman are offered $25,000 for their first job, for example, and one of them negotiates the amount up to $30,000, then over the next 28 years, the negotiator would make $361,171 more, assuming they both got 3 percent raises each year.” (Washington Post)

The average employee wastes two hours a day on personal pursuits, aka IM, cell phone, and the web. This study comes out every year, but it never gets old. Plus, this year’s finding have a special new twist: Twentysomethings are the biggest slackers of all. (Inc.com)

And from the recent archives:

NEC Corp. rolled out a pink, crystal-encrusted Hello Kitty laptop for “working women.” Bwahaahaaaaaaaaa! (Associated Press, via MSNBC)

A survey that came out around Mother’s Day found that “20% of women and 25% of men say, ‘I am often left picking up the slack for my co-workers who are moms.’” Many respondents were fathers. Way to go, guys. (USA Today)

Trade school is the new graduate school. If you read the last chapter of my book, you know I’m a champion of this POV. After all, how else is a philosophy grad going to pay the bills? (Minneapolis Star Tribune, via Seattle Times)

Marlys Harris, senior editor of Money Magazine, advises women to marry rich. I shit you not. (MSNBC)

7 comments August 3rd, 2007

How much career change can you afford?

channel-careerchange.jpgMy article on figuring out how soon you can ditch your day job is live on WORKS. Here’s how it starts:

Admit it. You’ve fantasized about turning in your letter of resignation no less than 100 times — and that’s just this month. You spend each lunch hour staring longingly out the window of your mind-numbingly sterile office at whatever footloose and fancy-free dog walker, landscape designer, or espresso-cart owner happens to be within view. And you often wonder if you’ll ever love your job as much as they seem to.

The good news is that a career you’re passionate about is always within reach. You just have to iron out a few of the logistics first, and one of the biggest is figuring out how you will afford to live while you pursue your dream. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Gather research. First, you need to determine how much you realistically stand to make in the first few years of your fantasy career. The Web is teeming with sites that can help — Salary.com, PayScale.com, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to name a few. But don’t stop there. Talk to honest-to-goodness people who already have your dream job. Ply them with lattes and ask what salary range a newbie like you can expect. Also contact the industry associations in your neck of the woods. Many of them regularly conduct salary surveys of their members.

Do the math. Your next step is to take a long, hard look at your monthly spending. If you don’t know how much you’re shelling out for groceries, pedicures, and Mai Tais, it’s high time you learned. Save four weeks of receipts or track every cent you spend in a notebook stashed in your purse. Then use a program like Quicken to record the damage…

To read the rest of the article, visit WORKS.

Add comment August 3rd, 2007

Independence Day

fireworks.jpgA woman I’ve known for a long while recently gave me grief because (a) I bought a matchbook-sized cosmetic fixer of a house, (b) I’ve lived here two years and have yet to finish unpacking, paint the walls, and make the place sparkle like a newborn’s freshly wiped ass, and (c) my work is varied (though I believe “chaotic” was the word my acquaintance used), fluctuating from article assignments to book deadlines to one-week editing projects to four-month onsite temp gigs.

I know this woman means well and just has a hard time relating to my way of working/living and my (quasi-obsessive) creative drive, and I know I’m being overly sensitive here, but still. I went back and forth about whether to add this detail, but I think it bears mentioning: The woman in question — who, by the way, is childfree — wouldn’t have a home of her own, a housekeeper, the ability to not work for long stretches of time, and half the amenities in her life if she was not married. (I say this knowing her financial history, not as a judgment of married life.)

Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. I’m not looking to start another careerwoman/stay-at-home-wife-slash-mom smackdown. In fact, if I ever merge households with my sweet beau, I could mayyyyyyyyybe see us trading off supporting each other so we could spend significant chunks of time focusing on our writing or whatever the heck floats out boats. (Maybe. After all these years standing on my own, it’s hard to wrap my brain around being kept or being someone’s sugar mama. But ask me if/when I get there…)

I’m saying this: Sometimes the digs against hard-working single women get really fucking old, know what I mean? And this is hardly the first time my freelance friends and I have been judged for our lack of housekeeper, breadwinning hetero bedwarmer, and predictable 9-to-5 lives. (Want proof? Read this book.)

I’m saying this, too: I’m so freaking proud to be a highly employable — and for the most part, decently paid — bootstrapping babe with multiple job skills/talents that put food on the table and insulate me with four mint-green-aluminum-sided walls. As in, you will neh-ver hear the words, “I just want to marry a rich doctor so I never have to lift a finger again,” seep from my lips. (Sorry, Grandma Etta.) So today I plan to celebrate all the self-made freelance and small-business-owning babes out there. Tonight, ladies, I raise my Roman candles, bottle rockets, and all other figurative TNT implements to you. Rock on, DIY women, rock the fuck on!

And if you need some financial inspiration, here are a couple of nifty resources I found this week:

  • Fab new book! Whether you’re flying solo or shacked up, see On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance. Because, ladies, let’s be real: Financial life does not begin when you start sharing a bed with someone; it begins the second your parents cut you off. If you don’t have a financial clue, there’s no time like the present to get one.
  • Fab web calculators! While researching an article on financing a career change (which I’ll link to once it’s live), I discovered that Kiplinger.com has a bunch of cool tools that can help you figure out such essentials as how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt, how much (if any) mortgage you can afford, how much raising a bundle of joy will run you, if you’re saving enough for retirement, and whether you and your sweetie can afford to jettison one of your jobs so the other can go back to school, write a screenplay, or stay home with that wee bundle of joy.

11 comments July 4th, 2007

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Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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