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Sheconomista Report: Free things for YOU this last week of the year because I am grateful for you


Issue 26, December 27, 2017
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Scroll for the goods. I'm giving things away for fun!

acorns updates.

One month ago, I wrote about Sheconomista New Homeowner who said she started her Acorns account in March. She forgot about it, and when she took a look last month, she had $400. I just asked here where she is at today. She has $450 in there all from spare change! So fun!

I looked at my account. I started in January 2016. To-date, I have had 2038 round-ups, totaling $957.89 in spare change that has been invested. Sometime in 2017, I started investing my weekly coffee money. As of today, my account total is $2,324.49 with a market gain of 14.80%. I haven't even noticed the money leaving my account. Talk about set it and forget it. I don't promote this for primary investing; I promote this as a just-get-started thing. I really like this for younger folks who are a bit intimidated by the process.

Do you have an Acorns account?! Write me and tell me about your stats and your name will be put in the basket for a $10 Acorns investment from me! CHEERS to spare change investing!

Acorns

Don't forget the disclaimer at the bottom of this message. If you click on the image above, it'll take ya to my link to sign up, and we'll both earn $5 if you take the plunge. It's anonymous. I won't know it's you so don't worry. It's free money. I don't do this for the five bones. I do it for fun and because I think it's a non-intimidating investing platform.

hello.

It's that awkward week before New Years. At least for me. I want it to end and don't all at the same time. I hope you're staying warm if you're in cold parts. I'm salty over snow on the ground. It's messing with my running game which has been getting strong. I guess it's time to bust out the skis and embrace the next adventure. Sigh. #firstworldproblems

Happy all-the-holidays, friends. I am Lauren Lizardo, head of this money show. I heart dollars and coins and what it can do for your life. I especially adore makers and their contributions to this world-be it as a main gig or side gig or secret gig. Keep creating your digital things, your make-believe things, your real things. Then send them to me and tell me about them. We will celebrate.

It's a funky week, so we have a funky newsletter. Welcome.

the bullets.

she calculates. that is all she does this week.

  • Tax Bill Calculator: Will Your Taxes Go Up or Down? via the NY Times >> Super interesting and frustrating. Keep in mind if you are a business owner (C- corp or pass-through business), this does not account for your cuts, but you can see what the hypothetical impact would be based on your AGI if you weren't a business which is something. My bottom line: my hypothetical $201 savings is totally not worth it considering the long-term impact on our economy. So.Shortsighted.
  • How Much Retirement Savings Should You Have Right Now? via the Balance >> I hear this question a lot. And I say what the article says, "It Depends." I know it is easy to bury your head and not look (if you haven't already), but I encourage you to take a peek. The make-believe Sheconomista Manifesta says we function from a place of knowledge and knowledge this is. For a lot of sheconopreneurs, this number can be daunting because we're defying conventional personal finance rules. Don't get too caught up in this formula and remember as an entrepreneur, you get to dictate how much money you bring in and don't bring in therefore how much money you invest and don't invest. So.Awesome.
  • Roth IRA Conversion via JV Accounting >> For those of you who wonder if you should convert your IRA to a Roth IRA. Learn about more and the process here if this is a question that lingers in your mind.

adulting

out.

This week is Free Tile Week! Are you the Tile winner?! Check your emaillll. Happy new year to you and yours. CHEERS.


---------- > Does someone in your life need some money words in their life?! Forward them this money gospel. <----------
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Important small print. I have a bomb-ass lawyer who tells me to tell you these things you agree to by reading my newsletters. For extra emphasis: I am not a financial advisor, planner, CPA, licensed to do anything except give opinions, shop for hitches, pickle strange vegetables, and look for new friends who want to backcountry ski with me.

People, I am an everyday lady who, by learning a bit about money so I could have a semi-intelligent conversation with my financial advisor, figured out I didn't need an advisor at this point in my life nor for my business. Killed that mystery. I did not go to a fancy school. I did graduate something cum laude and not in anything remotely related to money, so there's that as well.*

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Sheconomista Report: Why you should break up with your debit card + for real, who gets a 1099 and who doesn't?!


Issue 25, December 20, 2017
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Let's help all the women shine | Tax reform and investors and small businesses | Adventure resources to inspire | My quest to redo how I'm managing my investments. How honest will I get?! | The mini-piglet that became a business | Stop with using the debit card | End-of-year reminder for sheconopreneurs

shecono-wisdom.

"Quick. Tell me your biggest money fail to-date," I say to a dear friend.

She doesn't even skip a beat,

I once bought a Land Rover. I was, um, young.

Cheers to all the * Rover sheconomistas and the like out there, no matter what camp you fall in. Come as you are, I say.

hello.

In no particular order on my mind today: black women voters; my knee and whether or not I'll be able to run a 2018 race; how to roll the perfect wonton; and whether or not it's time to buy property and start homesteading, not to be mistaken with seasteading (Sheconomista V, remember that stage in my life?!).

I am Lauren Lizardo, Sheconomista lady-in-charge and money opiner. I help makers bring on the wealth. I love adventures - big and small. I celebrate failures, as much as I do wins. I am also an obsessed Aunt who wants to be a shining example of living a good life, practicing self-care, and building a financial portfolio that allows me to give away money 24x7.

Welcome. The Sheconomista Report continues to evolve as I get feedback and refine the intersection of what I love to research and write about and what you readers tell me you need. Write me and tell me about your adventures and your money thoughts. I have a special place in my heart for confessions. I know they are scary but doesn't it feel good to just say it out loud?! We've all been there. I love hearing from you. You form this space.

the bullets.

news + observations that impact your wallet

  • Another day at work for many women: Lower pay, passed over, treated as incompetent and subjected to slights via WaPo >> These stats never cease to amaze me and not at the same time. They are also fuel to keep with the path I am on and to keep encouraging women to be their own businesses. Part of why I love about working with sassy, savvy lady entrepreneurs is they've been there and they get what other women face every day. As a result, they want to empower and raise the bar for all females with which they work. They are all about the shine theory. We need more of this in our world!
  • Our Take: The New Tax Bill Is Bad for Individual Investors. Act Now to Help. via The Fool >> It's no secret I am crushed by the way the tax reform bill has been pushed through, especially when I've - along with so many others - been waiting for this day for so long. As an investor, I was pained to receive this tidbit in my inbox.
  • The GOP tax bill will hit Americans in radically different ways depending on how they earn their money via Business Insider >> This is an interesting take on how the bill will impact self-employed versus employed folks. Talk about conflict. I don't know what to think when I am both an investor AND self-employed/pass-through business. We'll see where the bill falls. I'm not getting too emotional, but as the details are starting to see the light of day finally and will pass - maybe by the time this has hit your inbox - I am starting to get a little anxious for what this means immediately and in the future.

sheventures

  • Roadtrippers >> Head to this website for some road-tripping inspiration. 2018 summer will be here before you know it.
  • Karen Kwang >> I started following Karen Kwang on Instagram because well, she's Asian and she's outdoorsy and was making a go at being a thru-hiker on the PCT. There's not many of my kind around. She continues to do really cool things in the world in a refreshingly open, honest, and ordinary way. I recommend following her for some everyday outdoor adventures and goals in life.

she incubates

As I mentioned before, I am reviewing different platforms to manage my investments. I've been managing on my own, using E*TRADE and an ugly spreadsheet. I'm now looking to delegate more and streamline. Maybe. I'm contemplating robo-advisors, hybrid human + robo-advisors, cleaning up my current system. My returns have been above average, but I just don't have the time to care for my investments in the way I have in the last few years, especially as I focus on growing my business.

Does anyone out there use investment platforms that you are into? If so, send them my way or if you've used any of the below, let me know!

get inspired

reminders + adulting = sheconoLOVE

  • Use a credit card instead of debit card, especially for online purchases. Here is why. If you don't have the time to read those tips, let me highlight the top line: your debit card is linked directly to your checking account. If your debit card is stolen, your cash will dwindle and it's harder to recover. Cash is king for things like rent, car payments, utilities, etc. I've seen debit theft happen more than once and it is a painful process to get your cash back. Create the buffer and be done with it.
  • Sheconopreneurs: Collect W-9s from your outside subcontractors. 1099s are due to the IRS on January 31, 2018. If you are a Quickbooks Online subscribers, you can complete them electronically. I have also used this online service, Yearli to file both 1099s and W-2s for employees. Still not quite sure who the hell should get a 1099?! Don't be shy, check it -- How to Determine Who Receives a 1099.

out.

It's the holidays. Drink responsibly. Eat all the good food. Enjoy your people. Next week, I'm giving away a couple Tiles because sometimes you leave your keys in the produce section at the grocery store and need to find them (true story).


---------- > Does someone in your life need some money talk in their life?! Forward them the good money word. <----------
New around here? There are a few back issues for perusal here. Overall, I don't recommend looking back, only forward but you do you.
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Important small print. I have a bomb-ass lawyer who tells me to tell you these things you agree to by reading my newsletters. For extra emphasis: I am not a financial advisor, planner, CPA, licensed to do anything except give opinions, shop for hitches, pickle strange vegetables, and look for new friends who want to kayak in obscure places with me and maybe fly fish too?

People, I am an everyday lady who, by learning a bit about money so I could have a semi-intelligent conversation with my financial advisor, figured out I didn't need an advisor at this point in my life nor for my business. Killed that mystery. I did not go to a fancy school. I did graduate something cum laude and not in anything remotely related to money, so there's that as well.

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Sheconomista Report: A case for a greener wallet


Issue 24, December 13, 2017
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Lifetime investments | Help your friends out who text and drive | When you live in an area impacted by climate change, your wallet may feel the pinch | Meat and taxes | Support Patagonia, save national monuments | Sustainable investing | $120/year versus $3/year | Build this premium cost into your budget | Get your estate planning on (even if you think you don't have an estate) | There is a proper way to wash your underwear

shecono-wisdom.

If my wallet could afford to buy things with 'forever' as a goal, I'd totally do it. - Sheconomista Ski Bunny

Oh, girl. I SO hear you. Affordable forever is etched into the imaginary sheconomista manifesta.

As the holidays settle in and as I stay the course of living tiny, I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff and consumption. Earlier this year, I wrote about the "gateway investment," where I talk about how I view my everyday dollar spent in my life as an investment, from my socks to my knives. I ask myself the following questions:

    • How long will X be in my life?
    • Is X gonna help make memories?
    • Does X enrich a meaningful part of my life?
    • Do I NEED X right now?

No joke. I do this all the time. It keeps me mindful. It keeps me honest with myself.

I also spend a lot of time helping entrepreneurs modify their language around money; what happens when you replace the word spending or costing with the term investing? Try it on whether or not you own a business.

I am investing in the Google Suite, so my branding is sharp, I convey a level of professionalism, and I can use all sorts of cool apps. I invest in a subcontractor because I don't have time to do everything on my own and it provides peace of mind that my clients are being taken care of. I invest in the nicer socks because they will last longer, they're more comfortable, and they're super cute, so I'll wear them all the time.

Lately, I've added a new question that has always been in the background but now has its own seat at the table: is this an investment in the environment? For the visual folks out there, will X end up in the ocean, killing marine life in the most grotesque way possible?

My latest quandary as a bald girl who relies on sharp razors (I get random patches of hair that can have me looking like a patchy chia pet): plastic shavers. Gaw. (Scroll down for my solution.) It is crazy what I've randomly purchased in Target, only for it to end up in the trash a few years later, if not sooner. There are so many things I could have bought with a longer shelf-life that would have cost more money, yes, but because it would have lasted longer, would have been the better investment all around -- quality, environment, use, cuteness, etc.

And going back to Sheconomista Ski Bunny dilemma, how do we buy with forever as the goal and afford it when it comes to durable goods? It's a balance. And it's hard. We have to get creative and accept that sometimes, it's not going to happen because of simple economics. But maybe there is a meet-halfway solution where it can be affordable, and it can be forever. For example, buy the Lodge dutch oven instead of the Le Creuset?!

Scroll down for some inspiration.

P.S. It's not lost on me that being able to think like this and ask these questions is a huge privilege.

hello.

Heavy on my mind: sustainability and its impact on the economy. Obvi.

I am Lauren Lizardo, the one-and-only Sheconomista reporter. I am all about helping makers make things with money in their pocket, and I believe in climate change.

In addition to the environment: I run in silence as in, with no music or earbuds in my ears. I like hearing the cars and enjoying the quiet. It also helps me stay alert to all the folks out there who text and drive. If you have a friend with this problem, might I suggest a couple apps? Great. Android folks, Drivemode and Apple prisoners citizens, Do Not Disturb is built in if you run iOS 11 or higher.

My newsletter is your newsletter. Welcome.

the bullets.

news + observations that impact your wallet

  • Patagonia joins lawsuit to block Trump's cuts to Utah’s Bears Ears via USA Today >> This doesn't impact your wallet per se but perhaps inspires an investment in Patagucci apparel if preserving public land is your thing. (If you don't think of yourself as an outdoorsy wear kind of person, they do have recycled cashmere that I've been mocking and am now respecting.) I am pro companies using their profits to fight the good fight. Next up on #45's list to go after are Gold Butte in Nevada and Cascade Siskiyou in Oregon.
  • There’s a hidden cost to climate change. Many Florida taxpayers could foot the bill. via the Miami Herald >> Not only are their personal and business credit scores, but there are also municipal and government credit scores. Moody's, the bond rating agency, takes into account a city's or state's preparedness for how climate change will impact them. The longer they wait, the higher the interest rates when they borrow money down the road. Higher interest rates on loans will come from taxpayer money. Support civil projects that will create the infrastructure to survive climate change, friends.
  • Is the taxman coming for your steak? via CNNMONEY >> I predict, YES.

the shevironmentalist in you

  • Sustainable investing >> As I mentioned last week, I'm starting to look at new ways to manage my investments. I've been reviewing the performance of green funds. I've been following Aspiration for a bit which is a financial firm that does banking and investing and is all about the planet first. They also have low entry deposits ($100) into their funds with decent performance. As you look to building your own portfolio or changing things up, I think they're worth a gander and consideration. They also just received a nice $47M injection from a hodgepodge of folks who believe in their model. I'm watching them. Don't forget my disclaimer below.
  • Carbon offsets >> don't know what carbon offsets are? Here is a nice graphic and explanation. This is a hard sell for an individual, but if your companies are looking for ways to be greener, perhaps this is a good place to start, especially if there is a lot of travel involved. Put it in the suggestion box.
  • Package Free Shopping Shop >> I just bought this beautiful stainless steel shaver, and I can't believe I didn't do this sooner. Every minute, one large dump truck of plastic is put into the ocean. So.FREAKING.Dismal. And when I do the math, I have been spending $120/year on plastic razors. Now, I'm spending a $1.50 - $3.00 a year depending on how frequently I change out my blade (with a one-time up-front cost of $25.00 and you can send the blades back in to be recycled). I think I'm going to buy a second one for my travel kit.

reminders

  • Sheconopreneurs: get long-term disability coverage or at least, price it out so you can build it into your future benefits budget.
  • Sheconomistas: Update your estate planning docs. If you don't have them, put them together. Legal Zoom has a great starter kit. You are never too young to do this.
  • Last day to enroll in health insurance on the open market is this Friday, 12.15.2017.

adulting

out.

It's an honor to have you here. I know it's your choice (down below is the Unsubscribe link). Enjoy your slide into Friday.


---------- > Do you know someone who needs a money talk injection?! Send them my way. I'll be super kind. <----------
New around here? There are a few back issues for perusal here. Overall, I don't recommend looking back, only forward but you do your thang.
You can sign up here.

Reminder: you are receiving this email because you subscribed via laurenlizardo.com.
If you have received this email by mistake or no longer wish to receive it, please unsubscribe below.

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*Important small print. I have a bomb-ass lawyer who tells me to tell you these things you agree to by reading my newsletters. For extra emphasis: I am not a financial advisor, planner, CPA, licensed to do anything except give opinions, shop for hitches, pickle strange vegetables, and look for new friends who want to kayak in obscure places with me and maybe fly fish too?

People, I am an everyday lady who, by learning a bit about money so I could have a semi-intelligent conversation with my financial advisor, figured out I didn't need an advisor at this point in my life nor for my business. Killed that mystery. I did not go to a fancy school. I did graduate something cum laude and not in anything remotely related to money, so there's that as well.*

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Weekly Wisdom: Go digital in preparation for your next adventure

In the Shelter podcast, I talk about some of the first things I did to prepare for my unknown adventure. I digitized everything in my life.

If you are prepping for a change in your life, have a think about taking this step, even if you don't know what the step is going to be. I'm a true believe in traveling light, no matter the size nor distance nor shape of the journey. Lightening up your load has a way of opening up space in your life.

Sheconopreneurs ------> As a business owner and wanderer, being digital has saved my life and taxes on more than one occasion.

If this is speaking to you, the best way to digitize is to start with outsourcing the initial round and then integrating it into your life. It's worth the investment to jump-start the practice.

  • Doxie Scanner and the CamScanner >> I dropped off important paperwork to get scanned by a local service, then I had it all shredded by a secure, environmentally-friendly company. I now use a combination of the Doxie Scanner and Cam Scanner to scan my paper stuff on-the-go.
  • ScanCafe >> I sent all my paper photos to Scan Cafe and bam. I got all my pictures back on a CD. I saved a few hard copies that I will frame for when and if I ever go back to living in sticks and bricks. I like the smell and feel of the photos. I won't lie.
  • DMP3 >> This service converted all my CD's. I realize for some of the readers, you may not know what those are, but they were once a real thing that you purchased in the store. I didn't want to repurchase En Vogue and the Blues Travelers and the likes, so I sent them in. I'm glad I did. I busted out India Arie at a trailer of truth dinner party recently and received an approving head nod. I should also say, I used this opportunity to get out of the iTunes prison and converted all my Apple music to mp3.

So.damn.liberating.

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Weekly Wisdom: The Only Thing Holding Women Back from Investing

I just read your Sheconomista email...loved it! It reminded me of my Acorns account that I forgot about. I have a little over $400 in there already. I started in March. I don’t contribute a lot, but it still adds up!
— Sheconomista New Homeowner

 

I lovvvveee these messages. This sheconomista also had a goal of owning a home by 30 and she done did it. There aren't enough emojis to celebrate these things we set our minds too. Congrats sister. Keep investing in you and things that are of value to YOU.

Breaking the seal and jumping into the investment game is hard and can be a real mind bender if you weren't raised with this mindset and education nor formally trained. In my experience, it's a bit harder for women because they are more likely to want to know all before they leap. We like to prepare. We are more risk averse than our male counterparts. We are also more methodical and patient. There's a ton of research on this topic. I'm not speaking anecdotally. Our characteristics work to our advantage, women consistently are proven to be better investors. We hold for longer and don't get caught up in timing the market and buying and selling. The only thing holding many women back, from my perspective, is taking the leap and being okay without knowing. 

This is my recommendation if you identify with that statement: just get started and learn as you go. Every day that you wait to learn it all, you are losing out on compound interest. Time + Compound Interest = Love. We love compound interest. (I'm on repeat). This is why I love gateway investment platforms like Acorns, Stas, Betterment, Wealthfront, etc. They get us started in a nontraditional, non-intimidating way. Policy Genius wrote a thorough comparative and broke down the platforms and fees there. Acorns, for me, isn't for the long-term but it's SUPER easy and is a good gateway just to start to engage and get excited about investing which is why I keep evangelizing. It gets many over the hump of over-analyzing, and that is worth it.

Remember, my small print. I'm no CPA, Certified Financial Planner/Adviser, lawyer, etc. I'm an everyday lady who learned by doing and learned how fun it is along the way. 

Digestible resources that get you exposed to money, investing, and the economy.

Planet Mone Podcast
GoldBean Newsletter 

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Weekly Wisdom About My Values and Subscription Fees

G-conomista's response to me when I text-confessed that I was alone in the car, raising my hands to Naughty by Nature and Arrested Development, both of which were playing on my favorite satellite radio station, Backspin.

Well, sister-friend, you tell your friend that I'm no high roller spending $240/year, but my mom and her car are (which I was driving at the time). I do have Amazon Music ($79/year), but I got a free subscription. When that runs out, the free version of Pandora will do me just fine as will FM radio, my CD's from the 90s, and my Stitcher app. I heart music, but it's not high on the heart list for me.

When I use my handy compound interest calculator and enter $240 @ 7% interest over ten years, the total is $3,548.06. I'll take that over old skool hip hop any day.

Also, in this day and age of subscription-living, they can get away from us. Good investment for some, not-so-good for others. On my business front, I am subscription crazy, spending about $2500/year. They are write-offs, and they make me more efficient and marketable. They aren't costs. They are investments.

It all goes back to our values. I value any tool that makes me more efficient and focused and increases my capacity to be present.

So, adore you, music and the Backspin station did pump me up before my morning run, but I'd rather invest in business stuff or contribute the difference in my portfolio. I love me some compound interest.

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The Sheconopreneur Way: protect their business information like a kangaroo protects her joey.

Sheconopreneurs protect their business information like a kangaroo protects her joey.

#1 Do it ------ > Use a unique password for everything, every time. See last week's Sheconmista Way post for more details. 

And some extra things for you, dear business owner.

As business owners, we have a lot of passwords that access all sorts of things. There comes a time when it is time to share some of these passwords with a growing team, so you are not bottlenecking getting things done. If you can create separate accounts, that is ideal, especially as it relates to anything financial.

For example, my clients have bank accounts that I access. Most major banks have the option of setting up separate accounts to access selected information. You should use these options if available. If it is not available or you don’t have an option, I implore you to make sure you use unique passwords. If you employ the password formula, make sure you use two different formulas: one for personal and one for business.

You don’t want an angry ex-assistant breaking into your match.com account, do you?!

*Pro Tip: If someone other than you - an employee or subcontractor - manages your money, make sure that someone is bonded or insured. This creates a safety net in the event there is mishandling of money. Think bookkeepers, financial consultants, personal assistants, your finance manager, any employee who handles money, etc. Learn more in What It Means To Be Bonded, Licensed & Insured via Bankrate.

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The Sheconomista Way: Protect your digital footprint like you do your favorite shoes

Sheconomistas protect their digital footprints like they do their favorite shoes.

#1 Do it ------ > Use a unique password for everything, every time.

Data breaches are a legit concern. There are evil wizards out there who take your username and password and enter it into a crazy algorithm that tries to break into other sites using the same username and password combo because they bank on people not following the rules. The threat is real.

Of bigger concern, are the hackers with whom we are close. I have heard multiple confessions where people have *broken* into someone’s email account because that someone uses the same password across the board, from Gmail to Amazon. Maybe they shared the password for something benign, "Oh go ahead and login to my Netflix account to watch that movie you've been wanting to see." Next thing you know, they start asking you strategic questions to answer security questions to get into your bank account. I sound paranoid, I know. But I am a repository of money crazy which is why I share this with you. Sheconomistas stay ahead of crazy.

I recommend you use a formula with a unique identifier, so they are different but easy to remember. I like something like [name of childhood home street] + [date of favorite holiday] + [first four letters of website] + [a capital letter] + [a symbol]. So my make-believe Amazon password would be "curtis0101amaZ!". And my make-believe nytimes.com password would be "curtis0101nytI!".

There is further explanation of how to do that and then some over here, The guide to password security (and why you should care) via CNET if you want to get super serious.

*Pro Tip: Does the thought of changing all your passwords make your stomach turn? Change as you go, one site at a time. Or, binge-watch some bad TV and just go for it as if you are doing a closet purge.

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Money as a private matter, to be or not to be?

I've been thinking a lot about how we learn about money and its many personalities. There is no master class. It is barely integrated into our educational system. We are lone wolves running amok, learning as we go, the good and the bad all together. We each have a framework that is made of what we have learned on our own, inherited from our families and communities, the news, and trial and error. The topic of money has been treated like religion -- to each his own, it’s a private matter, we don't talk about that in public.

But, should we be treating it as a private matter?

Currency is fundamental to survival in this world, like water and food. It would behoove us not to have money be so private, to let it breathe a little and let our successes and sloppiness and missteps hang out in the open so we can all learn from them and you know, not be so alone with it. If there is anything my 15+ years of working with money has taught me, it's that treating it like such a precious topic doesn't work.

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Weekly Sheconomista Reader Wisdom

I've been reading that Seeking Alpha newsletter since you recommended it. At first, I had no idea what the hell was going on, but now I'm figuring it out. The more I read, the more I get it. I’m totally dedicated even if I’m like, ‘what?’ half the time. - PDX Sheconomama

PDX Sheconomama, good on you girl. GOOD ON YOU. The jargon of financial news can be discombobulating. I liken it to when I started watching West Wingmidway through the second season. I had no idea what was going on, but my brain wanted more of it, so it kept going back until things started to make sense. Then I was like, “Haaayyyy.”

For those of you looking to sharpen your money news game, I recommend Seeking Alpha Wall Street Breakfast as your daily digest of the money haps. I also like StockRover's Weekly Market Debrief for a bird's eye view of the economy as well as The Week's Daily Business Briefing. Being in the know about the global economy is a good thing; it does, after all, impact our personal economic security.

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Sheconopreneur Pro Tip: Stop the overdraws

Prevent overdraws. Know your cash balance at all times, less outstanding checks and expenses.

I see business owners manage cash from bank accounts all the time, but it's the fastest way to overdrawing. Your bank account balance doesn't know what checks you've written or what will be auto-debited at any second. Manage cash from a real, grounded place. Estimates are fine. I ballpark every day. But I always know about how much I have in my account to make sure I don't spend money I don't have. 

So keep a register, even if it's paper and prevent all the overdraws. Save those $25 dings for an extra investment in your Acorns account.

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Challenge your money mind

I picked up this book, You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, thinking I would mock it, but instead I found myself doing the exercises and challenging myself. I showed myself. 

If you are in need of a read to lubricate your money brain and thinking, pick this one up. There are all sorts of nuggets and gems for you to ponder. 

 

 

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Pay estimated taxes in the least stressful way

Audience: entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers, s-corps, LLCs, sole-proprietors

I remember my first five-digit invoice; it was for $10,001.  I was so stoked to know that I had earned every single dollar and it didn't go to anyone except directly to me. When I deposited it, I thought, "I'm buying drinks for everyone tonight, and I'm getting all the gadgets ever."

It was pure joy. It still is.

Earning and getting to keep all my dollars is one reason I love being my own boss. All that I invoice is for work I've done or has come through my business. I get to decide how much I want to work, how I spend the money, how I save money, where I want to be frugal, and where I want to *waste* money. 

Before I make any of those decisions though, I need to make sure that I put aside enough to make my estimated tax payments

Who pays estimated taxes to the IRS? The IRS website says:

  • Individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, and S corporation shareholders, generally have to make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed.
  • Corporations generally have to make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $500 or more when their return is filed.

Paying your estimated taxes can be a bit intimidating your first time around for those who go rogue and venture out on their own, but it won't be after you go through your first calendar year. You'll get the hang of it.

Everyone has a different process, but this is what I recommend. 

Get an accountant. Get a good accountant who you like and trust and takes time to answer questions and is licensed. They are worth every cent if you have a healthy relationship. I've come across some new business owners who have this funny vision that they just hand their accountant a shoebox full of receipts or all their bank statements, and they will make things happen. Um, no. That is not their job unless their firm handles your bookkeeping. Accountants - at least the way most small businesses access them - are tax experts, filing your taxes and answering technical questions. Some will do more but you should vet them. They are not necessarily business consultants unless they offer that service.

Calendar your estimated tax payment dates.

Payment Period   |   Due Date
January 1 – March 31   |   April 15
April 1 - May 31   |   June 15
June 1 - August 31   |   September 15
September 1 - December 31   |   January 15

*Note: If the due date for making an estimated tax payment falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the payment will be on time if you make it on the next day that's not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Enter and itemize all expenses by the end of each payment period. If you aren't doing this with a spreadsheet of some sorts, I recommend a bookkeeping system such as Quickbooks Online or Xero. Please see my previous post on further recommendations and thoughts.

Submit your payment period financial reports to your accountant so they can calculate your estimated payment. These reports include your profit and loss statement and balance sheet. Make sure you give them enough time to calculate the payment before the due date. In short, don't give them the financial statements 

Pay online via the IRS Website. Make sure you save your receipt of payment.

Rinse and repeat.

I recommend this process for most businesses because this ensures the least amount of surprises. It is costlier in that you incur the cost of your accountant doing the calculation each payment period, but it prevents heartburn from unexpected tax burden, allows you to plan, and it forces you to stay on top of your books, so year-end is much smoother for all. 

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The temptation of Freshbooks

I understand the temptation to go all in with Freshbooks when you are first starting your business. It's easy to look at and use. Its branding is appealing to the non-accountant in you. They do an incredible job at selling you on the value they will bring to your non-bookkeeping background. I hear you.

And I want to stop you from walking that path or, at least, consider an alternative because every client I have that starts with Freshbooks, must eventually migrate to Quickbooks or Xero. 

I considered writing a comparative, but this lady, Stacy Kidal, did such a stellar job, I don't need even to go there. If you are using Freshbooks or are trying to decide which system with which to go, read this post now: Freshbooks vs. Quickbooks: Which is Best for Your Business?

Full Disclaimer: I support proper bookkeeping software such as Quickbooks, Xero, anything with a Chart of Accounts that allows you to track balances of all accounts as well as assets. 

No matter the size of business, eventually you will need these features when it comes to tax time otherwise spreadsheets, and random manual calculations become your life. Save yourself and your accountant the time and heartache and just do it right the first time. I don't know of a successful, growing business that functions only on Freshbooks.

From my perspective, your financial system should be able to tell you the following, at-a-glance.

  • Cash standing. You can see your cash balance (across all accounts, savings, checking, etc.) or the amount you have on hand to spend, less any outstanding checks and expenses.
  • Money owed to you aka a receivables report. You can see at all times how much money is owed to you at any given time, along with how long the invoice has been outstanding.
  • Money you owe to vendors aka a payables report. I know most freelancers schedule everything as auto-pay on credit cards and don't write checks. So 1990. But on occasion, you may need to manage credit or cash which is where tracking the bills but not paying them upon receipt will come in handy. Trust me. This feature should always be available.
  • Debt. You know how much debt (credit cards, lines of credits, loans, etc.) you are carrying as well as how much of your available credit you are using so you can plan appropriately.
  • Net income. You can run a profit and loss report for any specified amount of time to see if you've made any money in any given month. 
  • Fixed Assets. Say what? Forgive the jargon, but fixed assets play a role in the grandiose calculation of your taxes. Fixed assets are items that will be used beyond one reporting period and are purchased at a certain price that makes it a fixed asset. So, like a phat daddy computer versus boring laser computer paper. The computer is a fixed asset, written off over time. The paper is an expense, written off immediately. Most freelancers don't have a ton of fixed assets, but they often do, and that should be reflected in financial statements for ease of filing. I am always surprised at what I purchase over the course of a year, and if it weren't for Quickbooks Online, I wouldn't remember what I bought and that the write off is different than other things on my profit and loss statement.

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Sheconomista Pro Tip: Cash is Queen

Put a couple $20 bills in a whistle and put it on your key chain, so it's on your person.

One day, when you come across something, where it is cash-only and no ATMs to be found within a reasonable distance, you'll be SO stoked. We can't swipe credit cards everywhere, people.

I used mine to get into my niece's basketball tourney recently, and it was awesome. I've also used it as tip money for forgotten helpers (ahem, housekeeping at hotels) too which is super fun.

Bonus: don't forget to replenish upon use!

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I keep avoiding this task, let's do it together

I've had this task on my to-do list since last year (maybe even the year before) and another year is coming to an end, and I have yet to check it off. I'm disclosing this because, people, I'm just like you. Sometimes I'm super motivated and other times, not so much. Also, I'm hoping the public disclosure will light a fire under me to just get it done.

In this case, I have a 401k account with a previous employer that has been sitting in their fund, unmanaged, untouched, and doing who knows what? It's not the bulk of my retirement fund. In fact, it's probably a relatively small amount since I was there for such a short amount of time, but it's my money none the less, and it should be tended to and cared for in the same way I do all my dollars. Also, who says no to compound interest?!

What stands between me and rolling this money over? Pure procrastination.

It will probably take me 30 minutes in total to complete. All I need to do is write X at old company, confirming I do in fact have money sitting with them and if so, request a rollover.  Then I fill out a form with my current IRA account information and voila.

And then I'll get all giddy to add it to my current investments and watch it grow.

I don't throw money away ever, but I do every day that I leave the money just sitting uncared and unloved in a rando account to which I don't have access and haven't looked at in gazillion years.

If this is you too, let's get it done by the end of the year. It's a total feel-good grown-up task.

Resources

Guide to tracking down old 401k accounts
What happens to your 401(k) when you leave your job?

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Yo business owners, here are three things to do to prepare for year-end

The end of the calendar year is fast approaching which means it's time to start preparing for fiscal year-end if you are self-employed.

In that spirit, I thought I'd share my top three things on my to-do list to prepare for year-end.

Avoid the temptation to procrastinate with some online shopping and news perusal. Tax day sneaks up fast. One day its winter, then it is spring and TAXES are freakin' due. 

Get organized now so you can avoid the tax prep doldrums. Trust me.

{First}

> Calendar your year-end tax dates in the upcoming months.

  • Pay Q4 2017 estimated taxes by January 16, 2018. Do this online, pay via ACH, not credit cards (the fee is outrageous).
  • File 1099s by January 31, 2018.
    • S Corps (Form 1065) + Partnerships (Form 1120S)
      • Deadline with extension: September 17, 2017
      • Deadline for filing taxes or for an extension: March 15, 2017
      • Remit financial statements (PNL + BS) and all pertinent tax paperwork (1099s, etc.) to your accountant by February 1, 2018*
    • C Corps (Form 1120) + Individuals (Form 1040)
      • Remit financial statements (PNL + BS) and all pertinent tax paperwork (1099s, etc.) to your accountant by March 1, 2018*
      • Deadline for filing taxes or for an extension: April 17, 2018
      • Deadline with extension: October 15, 2018

*Make your accountant happy and confirm the date all paperwork needs to be in their hands to file on time and keep them bright-eyed! 

Real talk. Ever since I hung up my shingle, I've had an extension filed for me. And every year, I sign and remit my taxes on the October 15th due date. 

{Second}

> Get your bookkeeping in order, making sure your business expenses are coded, organized, and reconciled.

If you don't already use something like Quickbooks or Xero, it's time to get your spreadsheet geek on. If you did not separate your business and personal expenses by account, you should export all your transactions into a CSV or Excel file and get to *coding.* 

If you are using a spreadsheet, I tell all the newbies to add three columns to their spreadsheets: 1) Type of Transaction [Personal or Business];
2) Account Category [Rent, Office Supplies, Professional Development, Automobile, etc.]
3) Notes

Business Expense Resources

Need more than a read and want a warm, friendly person to chat with and ask some specific questions? I host free q+a sessions on this since I get so many questions. Please contact me if you'd like to be notified about my next one: lauren [at] laurenlizardo.com

A note about reconciling: don't skip this step.

What the heck is reconciling you ask? It's when you compare what's on your bank statements versus what you have on record. This is the part where you find mistakes and learn that you were double-charged for things and you never did receive that invoice nor the money your brother owed you for covering dinner with your parents that you put on your company credit card because you weren't quite sure you had room on your personal credit card. If you are tempted to skip this, hire someone to do it for you.

Reconciling is essential to your bookkeeping process. It's where you uncover your money truth and realize that you have been paying for an online community subscription for a year and have never accessed it. 

{Third}

> Get your 1099s in order. Make sure you know who gets them and why.
File 1099s by January 31st. 
Make sure you have received 1099s for your work performed through the year by January 31st.

Wait? What exactly is a 1099 and why do I need to care about them? It is a record of non-employee income. If you don't know anything about 1099s nor the details of who should get them and why, click here to read more.

You file a 1099 for vendors where you paid more than $600 (think web designer or bookkeeper or rent). Also, if you don't have a W-9 for any of them, get one of those before you file the 1099. The W-9 is the official doc that gives you all the crucial details to file a 1099. There are exceptions for who doesn't get a 1099. You can learn about them here.

And vice versa, complete W-9s for any income sources that you did not remit a W-9 to so you can receive your 1099.

*Updated 11.7.2017

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Inappropriate crushes | An uninspired message | Buckle up self-insured, it’s open enrollment | Admit it, you ignored the Equifax breach | News to follow, but not follow

Issue 18, November 1, 2017
Previous report
If you are receiving this as a forward, sign up for the money joy here.
View in your browser here.


big picture

Inappropriate crushes | An uninspired message | Buckle up self-insured, it’s open enrollment | Admit it, you ignored the Equifax breach | News to follow, but not follow

money + emotions = 9M Kronor

I don't often out my crushes, especially for men of a certain age, to the world wide web, let alone to my cherished newsletter list (that I've neglected), but here I am.

I am swooning for Richard Thaler (University of Chicago) who won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his amay work in behavioral economics. He is all about how and why we make decisions around money, especially how cray cray we can be. And cray cray we are. Money has a way of bringing it all to the surface which is why I love it so. How can I not crush on such insight?!

Take some time to read about him and his work. He got the memo that to get the powers that be to listen and to change policy; ya need to show them the data. Good on you Dick! Have fun irrationally spending that 9M Kronor prize money. You are a model sheconomisto!

onward

Old-skool sheconomistas: I've been off-the-grid.

If you are a new subscriber in the last few months: Hello! Aloha! If you forgot that you signed-up for the Sheconomista Report, you did, and this is why you are getting this message. I'm no spammer. The format and content are ever-changing, buckle in for the ride.

scroll to the bottom for the goods if personal chatter and uninspired messages make you uncomfortable

I've been spending a lot of time thinking outside of the box.

I, like so many others, am worried about the state of the world and the impact it has on my health and well-being as a bald, woman of color walking the streets in a small, agricultural community to the future of all the littles I see running about with bright eyes and hearts.

I am worried about the core of my faith which is based in knowing that we are all equal, love-seeking souls wrapped in cells that happen to dictate physical traits. I am worried about the planet, a living, breathing, powerful being that can only take so much abuse.

I am worried about my country where I was born and raised; the country my elders so loved, they sacrificed their native citizenship and their roots in search of something better for future generations.

I have been lost and paralyzed, feeling stifled by the dismal news and worn out from looking up and beyond. The last couple years have knocked me off my game.

I have fantasized about cashing it all in, buying digital currency and erasing my identity and citizenship. Borders, nationality, the idea that we own things, etc., are, after all, made up constructs and just shards of fragmented ego, I have waxed philosophical with my inner circle.

One of my dearests replied with, "Dude, you're talking like a total prepper, but elitist-style." Pretty much, I say from the safety of my silver capsule.

In recent months, I have reconciled with my inconsistency and wide-swinging emotions and have embraced living my truth to the best of my ability, to showing up somehow that feels safe and right, maybe a little (or a lot) untethered but always willing.

For too long, I wanted to show up in the perfect, right way for myself, my community, for the world. But while I was waiting for perfect, life has been passing me by. I had chosen an impossible path, maybe because it gave me an excuse to not do anything at all. Or, I was just taking a much-needed rest after getting the wind knocked out of me.

I am not writing with a wicked, inspirational message to balance all my gloom, but I am writing with an offer and a request.

If you feel the same, like you've been riding a yo-yo of emotions in this crazy world, you are in good company. If you've been retreating and ducking for cover, I'm with you. I also need you in my life. Let's lean on each other in these uncertain times. Let's not try and figure it out on our own, in a vacuum of divisive Twitter chatter and obsessive refreshing of our browsers to see the latest news. Let's celebrate stale news, let’s rejoice in little and small victories, let's root for reasonable compromise and bipartisanship.

Let's find our truth and practice living it every single day, sloppiness and all. Maybe in that endeavor, we will discover our way through this mess and accidentally come across answers to hard questions. This is the best self-care we can practice in these strange times.

My truth hangs out at the intersection of heart, money, entrepreneurship, and adventure. So that is what I write about, that is what I live, that is what this space is about, that is what cultivates peace for me. It is the best service I can provide. Imagine a world where everyone is practicing their true love. What privilege. What greatness that would be. I know it is so much easier said than done, but I think we can take tiny steps. I imagine many of you are way ahead of me and already are and that is the bomb dot comb.

Write me and tell all about it. What are you doing today that you love? What are you doing to take care of you? I have missed having you in my inbox.

With big monay love,

LL

//

inside my brain

It’s a big week for healthcare, and I have things to say. Open enrollment starts TODAY, November 1st and ends on December 15th. Put this on your calendar! I just tried to logon and I got a bunch of error messages. It's gonna be a rough one.

stale news is the best news

For real, it’s time to handle your bizness, post-Equifax breach >> git.it.done.

everyday sheconomista

Looking to jump in the investing game and don't know where to start? Rip off the band-aid and get your learning on, by just doing it. Check out Acorns. I've been investing spare change since January 2016, and my account value is $2064.02 with a $245.99 gain (+13.38%). It's fun. I started with spare change and $10/month. I’ve since changed to spare change and $10/week. I can't get enough.

I earn dollars if you signup using that link

semi-stale news i’m following that impacts YOU

adulting

Confession: I've had a moka pot for dayzzzz, and I've been doing it all wrong. And every friend that has coffee in the trailer and witnesses the beauty says the same, exact thing. Are you in the same boat? If so, I've got YOU.

How to Brew in a Moka Pot




---------- > YOLO. Tell your friends to sign up for the entertaining money talk for lady entrepreneurs and risk-takers HERE. <--------

New subscriber? Back issues for perusal here.

Photo Credit: Erin Sweeny Studio

*

Important small print. I have a bomb-ass lawyer who tells me to tell you these things you agree to by reading my newsletters. For extra emphasis: I am not a financial advisor, planner, CPA, licensed to do anything except give opinions, shop for hitches, ferment vegetables, and look for new friends who want to kayak in obscure places with me.

People, I am an everyday lady who, by learning a bit about money so I could have a semi-intelligent conversation with my financial advisor and handle all my business money, figured out I didn't need an advisor at this point in my life. Killed that mystery. I did not go to a fancy school. I did graduate something cum laude and not in anything remotely related to money, so there's that as well.

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Time to for real handle your bizness, post-Equifax breach

I love circling back to stale news to see what's up. 

It's been over a month since the Equifax breach. If you haven't taken action, please do. If you have a heartbeat and a social security number, this impacts you.

Need some brushing up of the details? I got you.

The FTC summarizes it great:

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.

Identity theft is uber serious and can seriously mess with your life. If you haven't already secured your data and implemented protocols for you and your peeps, please see below for great articles walking you through the various things you can and should do.

As someone who is hypervigilant about taking care of my identity (and my clients’), it was good for me to audit the suggestions to make sure I am doing everything possible to an informed guardian of client identities.

Also, I learned a few things that I didn’t want to know but now do, like “’Everyone’s social has pretty much been stolen at least once in the last 10 years,’” said one cybersecurity dude.

I tell everyone this, and it bears repeating: shop with a credit card because it’s easier to get stolen money back from than your debit card. WORD. Stop with the debit card madness. My mother and I argue about this all the time.

Lastly, if you don’t already have an online account with social security, you should get one to make sure nothing looks fishy, and you go ahead a secure that account before a thiever does. Because this is the world, we now live in.

Secure me, Sheconomista!

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November 1st is here, self-insurers. Get your research on.

November is here self-insuring friends. It's been a dramatic entrance, but here we are.

I don't know about you, but I saw the estimated 20% increase in my premium before Trump announced that he would be permanently ending the subsidies. I also noted that my plan would change pretty dramatically (for me) who travels outside my home state. My coverage really will only be available in Washington State unless it is an emergency.

I'm anxious to see what the final number will be for my 2018 plan. Those who don't qualify for the subsidy are hit the hardest. (Yup, that’s me.) Our premiums are going up, and our coverage may change. 

I'm buckled in for this bumpy ride and am interested to see how things unfold in the coming year.

We can’t afford to procrastinate given the shortened open enrollment time. Don’t get sucked into early online Xmas shopping, get your research on stat and lock what little plans we have left in place. And if insurance isn’t offered in your area, let’s find you a solution.

For 2018, some highlights and resources to help you out.

  • Open enrollment is Nov 1 - Dec 15, which is half of what it used to be. 
  • Health insurance is still available, but there are some counties where insurance companies are leaving completely, and new companies aren't joining. Excuse me? For example, in the State of Washington, Blueshield /Regence is no longer available in Western Washington on the individual market but is available in some counties in Central Washington. There are also two counties in Washington State where no individual insurance coverage is available at all. That sucks. Also, super mind-bending.
  • Premiums are increasing.
  • Your plans are most likely changing so read the fine print. Make sure your favorite healthcare providers are still considered “in-network.” 
  • To learn more about your home state, Policy Genius does a solid synopsis state-by-state here, but in this day and age when information changes so fast, I would also go directly to your State Insurance Commissioner website or your State Healthfinder site for additional information.
  • The Balance wrote a post about options for self-employed folks as well which I think are solid. Among the suggestions, is to see if you can get in on group insurance through a professional organization. For example, I just checked my alma mater's alumni site, and as it turns out, they do offer group insurance, and I will be plan and price comparing this month.

Stay on your toes. Learn the facts. Check and double-check. Don’t be discouraged and reach out if you need some support. This stuff is hard.

Dive deeper: 

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