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While my liberal friends rejoiced, I rolled my eyes at the ACA. Awkwardddd.  

Real talk. I was pissed when the Affordable Care Act was implemented. I was. I recall my liberal friends rejoicing while I rolled my eyes when they turned around. I wanted to feel their same optimism that our country was trying to crack the universal healthcare nut, I did. But I didn't. 

While the ACA was being poked and prodded, I ditched working for the man to put up my shingle. Up to that point, I had been purchasing my health insurance on the open market.

I was in excellent health, and I knew that I wasn't planning on having children. I was going to the doctor once a year if that. I needed emergency insurance. My premium was lean, and I was grateful given how little money I was making at the get-go.

I was the one who the ACA bullied with its grandiose formula. I didn't want nor need any of the extras it sought to provide.

Because of that, I was able to find an insurance plan that offered everything except maternity care which brought my premium down about $600 annually. I loved it, especially someone new to covering my benefits.

I never thought about what it wasn’t covering nor what I would do should I need said care.

When the ACA was rolled out, and I shopped my first round of insurance, there were fewer plans and way higher premiums. The base plan increased my premium by $1800 a year. And I was forced to carry maternity care. 

My immediate followup thoughts went something like this: so now I'm paying for other people's babies and men's treatment for prostate cancer because they were too macho to get their annual check-up? What if I were menopausal or was unable to birth a child? And what about people who go to the doctor for things that nutrition and some supplements would clear up instead of costly meds? 

Maddening. I resented my premium increase. I resented supporting others. I hated the ACA. 

I have signed up every year since, with bitterness in my fingertips.  I still needed medical care, and I’m a rule follower. Heaven forbid, I get slapped with a fine for no coverage.

My formula has been the same since. I opted in for the most inexpensive base plan (aka Bronze) and maxed out my HSA contribution every year. I figured if I was going to be forced to carry the darn plan, I should at least reap the benefits of the tax advantage.

Fast forward a few years, and I now realize the wisdom of the ACA and my short-sightedness. During last year’s open enrollment, I upped myself to the Gold plan, knowing that I needed to access more services this year. 

I have coverage for things that I didn't know I would eventually need that are guaranteed by the ACA. For example, just this year alone, if I had the same insurance that I had before the ACA, I would not have guaranteed access to the many things I have needed to-date.

I received an exam, crutches, x-rays after a ski accident in Utah (not my home state). I received followup exams and physical therapy. There's a lot of cancer in my family. I have been screened for everything this year and given directions and timelines for all the preventive measures I should take. Those tests revealed vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I took a few supplements and the lethargy I had been experiencing for years, gone. I've been to the doc multiple times since for physicals and strange moles. I also decided since I was turning 40 years old this year, it was probably time I get my mental health checked out before I started to lose my memory. As it turns out, I needed a few extra appointments. 

Since I had made the maximum contribution to my HSA every year and did not use my funds, I have been able to pay for all these things with tax-free money, which also happens to earn interest since it is an investment account.

In 2017 alone, I have accessed over $20k in preventive care and immediate medical care. I wonder how that translates into future savings for not only myself but our economy as a whole. Preventive care, mental health care, physical care are vital to my individual contribution to a healthy, safe economy.

I couldn’t see beyond myself in my early years nor predict what I was going to need, but the ACA did. Even more, I didn’t take time to understand the architecture nor the premise of the ACA.

Like everything in life, it’s complicated.

For the majority of the business owners I speak to, they have limited understanding of the design and the formula. They mostly will just tell me about the cost it is to them and their business. It is difficult to have to think beyond our small ecosystems. I get it.

Change is hard. But what if we look beyond the immediate impact of our businesses and dive into the long-term benefits of proper healthcare and all that means? I hear the concern, and I want to push back. We must figure out how to philosophically wrap our minds around this investment in our country, no matter your political party.

For myself, I can cover my health insurance premium. I could pretend like it is a burden and while sometimes it certainly feels that way, I can cover it. And I am grateful.

When I have a talk with myself about my values system, this is what I say: I believe fundamental to a healthy country and a healthy economy are healthy people. We must think about the future and how to secure the health of the future. Therefore, the collective investment in healthcare continues to be a good investment. And it needs to be equitable. 

I know that is easier said than done and President Obama did it despite a lot of opposition. He did it with brute force, and at the time, I scoffed at him. At the same time, I appreciate that he made it happen. He forced us to start somewhere. He forced me to think beyond myself. He forced me to engage, even if it got my hackles up.

It now begs the question, as childish and dangerous as it is, is Trump’s about-face on ending the supplemental payments doing the same thing and forcing a fix to the parts that are broken? 

It pains me to ask the question. Believe you, me. But have a think. I know I am.

More to chew on:

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Step one of investing | Clear the debt qi | Your child's identity | Geeky money news | Color guidance for your wardrobe and in life

Issue 17, June 21, 2017
Previous report
If you are receiving this as a forward, sign up for the money joy here.
View in browser here.

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Step one of investing | Clear the debt qi | Your child's identity | Geeky money news | Color guidance for your wardrobe and in life

hello, world.

The days are long, and the sun is out. Summer is in full bloom. I've slowed down my trailer travels this year to catch up on life things and put plans into place that I have long pondered, like writing more, cleaning up my health, rebalancing and transferring my investment portfolio, and most of all, hanging with my people for more than a couple hours in passing. As you've heard me say before, investments aren't just about money.

Adventure is still big in my heart, don't fret. I am currently sketching and daydreaming of how best to build out the back of my truck for some more nimble exploring. I haven't gotten to the budgeting part of this project. Something tells me I'll blow it on my kitchen chuck box alone. I don't like to put containers on things and squash myself before I get started. So, I think big and then get my spending plan on.

I recall when I first started thinking about going tiny and mobile. It started as window shopping one day in April 2014, after my dear sister and amazing sheconomista, Heidi, planted a seed in my brain. I didn't think I would do it but then I did, and I haven't looked back. Now, when I'm feeling fearful, I channel that time in my life and remember how scared I was and how I did it anyway. Go me. Go YOU. Life is a funny thing. I hope you are grabbing it around the waist and marching forward.

Onward. This week, I'm all about some short tips and money news. I think there's something for everyone here.

she invests

You have a good money foundation and you want to jump in?

Step One.

--- > Figure out your investing personality. Are you all about growth? Value? Some kind of mix?

Learn about growth and value investing. I subscribe to Nancy Tengler’s descriptions which can’t be found on the interweb. You can learn more about her and get her book here.

She says,

Are you an early adapter? Did you own the first release of the iPhone or iPad or are you sure to be in line for the newest blockbuster movie? If so, you are likely to be comfortable buying growth stocks. Growth stocks investors are trendsetters. They are risk takers.

Value investors [are] somewhat reticent and conservative by nature. Though not necessarily risk averse, value investors wait for products to develop into premier brands or companies to become established, stable growers before they jump in.

Sheconomista bottom line: growth stock investors bought the iPhone right when it came out and value investors went ahead and stayed with their Motorola Razr until the coast was clear.

While I don’t believe you have to be one or the other, it's a good foundation to learn both types and go from there.

sheconomista manifesto

Wave good-bye to consumer debt before you invest.

Get inspired.

How the Scary-Sounding “Debt Avalanche” Could Lift You Out of Debt +
I Paid Off $30K in Less Than a Year—on a $75K Salary

sheconomapas

Check your kid’s credit report. Identity thieving is real.

hyperlinked


{cryptocurrency}

It looks like cryptocurrency is here to stay. Cryptocurrency? Wha? Yup, no physical evidence of said currency such as a dollar bill or a coveted silver dollar coin. It’s also not issued by the government. I don’t know how to explain cloud computing to my mom; I’m not sure what I’m going to say about this. Japan just recognized bitcoin (one type of cryptocurrency) as legitimate currency and $100 of bitcoin in 2010 is worth $75 million today. Other Asian countries such as Malaysia and South Korea are expected to follow suit. This is a big deal. Still, need to proceed with caution if you’re playing. There's always technical glitches.

More, please.

Why people are going crazy over bitcoin and other digital currencies +
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money +
Why banks need to start offering cryptocurrency wallets

{financial advisers and regulations}

As you may already know from my small print disclaimer, I do not use a financial adviser and is the reason behind why I started writing about money. I go at it alone for lots of reasons. Going rogue is not for everyone. I get it. I have referred folks to financial advisers and robo-advisers alike. Only you know best. However, the one recommendation I have if you do use a financial adviser is, please learn a bit, so you go in eyes wide open, especially in light of changing regulations.

Tell me more.

Now, Your Financial Advisers Will Have to Put You First (Sometimes) +
The 21 Questions You’re Going to Need to Ask About Investment Fees

{uber this}

Those Uber dudes have uber problems. Later David Bonderman. >> An Uber board member made a sexist joke in the middle of the presentation on how to fix Uber's sexist culture

{fossil fuels}

There’s a surplus of oil which is driving the price down. On the surface, I know, the crude oil market could be pretty dry. But for the budding investors who are looking to make connections with the news and their portfolios, this is a good one to dive into. How does surplus impact the US economy versus the global economy (particularly those whose economies rely so greatly on oil)?

Get your geek on.

Oil sinks to November lows on shock U.S. gasoline build +
Shale Drillers Digging Themselves a Hole as Oil Breaches $45 +
The real risks of the falling oil price +
Falling oil prices: Who are the winners and losers?

adulting


Questions? Thoughts? Want to tell me you heart me? Contact me anytime. I love it!

With the big monay love,

LL

---------- > YOLO. Tell your friends to sign up for the entertaining money talk 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, pickle eggs, and strange vegetables, and look for new friends who want to kayak in obscure places with me (contact me stat if you are this friend).

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. 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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I'm baaaaack​ | A Sheconomista Checklist because who doesn't love a good checklist?! | Worse than toilet plume | Adult like a boss with homemade condiments

Sheconomista Report Header v2.png

Issue 16, June 9, 2017
Previous newsletter
If you are receiving this as a forward, sign up for the money joy here.

 

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I'm baaaaack  | A Sheconomista Checklist because who doesn't love a good checklist?! | Worse than toilet plume  |  Adult like a boss with homemade condiments 

Onwards

Happy June!

The last time I was in touch, I was heading into spring cleaning mode. I had received an onslaught of money questions, thoughts, and suggestions which were pure joy but it also created a bit of chaos in my baby brain. I had to do some reorganizing and thinkin’ and creative marinating.

I concluded the same thing I have always known. Money is the bee's knees. It is a sweet, binding ingredient in the human experience. And I'm so grateful to all of you for the engagement and encouragement to-date to keep writing and talking about it.

In short, I’m back, refreshed and ready to keep creating with YOU.

But before I cruise into business mode, let me step onto my soapbox and chat with you about...mayo.

Adulting

Break up with store bought mayo and start playing with this recipe stat. (Bless my peeps who have been listening to me go on and on about this.) I’ve had to play with the ratios, but now that I’ve perfected this condiment I once loathed, I’m never going back.

Why oh why lady, would I do this?

It is a fantastic health investment to make your condiments and quit with the processed stuff. Why not start with mayo, one of the most controversial condiments ever?! 

Part of my spring cleaning was tossing my tiny fridge and my life of ingredients I can’t pronounce. I’ve only eaten out three times since mid-April, and I’ve broken up with caffeine. I also started drinking gin from which I was banned circa 1999. 

Interesting tidbit: I've saved no money with this lifestyle change and in fact, have increased my spend and it's worth every penny.

Anyway, it’s all about the investments and investments come in all sorts of forms, not just ETFs. So cheers to your health, friends. It should be your first investment above all else. I know for myself, when I feel my best, it means I am at my best for my family, friends, and community.

Insert smooth segue [here].

Speaking of investments, so many precious financial souls out there with money enthusiasm and concerns. I've sat with every email and phone call I received since I started this project.

Across the board, there’s a lot of wealth-building, and overall life-planning questions ranging from where do I start? To do I move from using a traditional financial advisor to using a robo-advisor? To I don't understand what my financial advisor does and don't know what questions to ask to make it better.

My personal favorite, I’ve paid off all my student loans, and now I want to use that money for investing, what do I need to keep in mind?

I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about starting businesses and dealing with the financial aspects of that, especially the tax implications. And I received some questions about my trailer life and how to create a spending plan for a nontraditional life.

Whew. So much. So good.

Above all else, I’ve received many practical questions from what kind of checking account do I open? To what the hell is the purpose of an emergency savings account?

All of these questions and thoughts make me squeal with delight. It also reminds me that when you don't know where to start, you start at the beginning and go from there.

***Don't forget, small print down below, reminding you of who I am and what I am not***

Crack the egg before you cook it

Inspired by my get-back-to-basics in the kitchen, I drafted the Sheconomista Checklist. This is the stuff I recommend you get in place if you have not already. They are the practical things needed to execute your money vision.

There are lots of exceptions to this list, mainly that you know yourself better than I do so only you can determine what you need and don't. I'll also offer opinions, don't you worry. This will be written in real-time, hyperlinks will be updated throughout the doc.

This means that you, sheconomista readers, can be active participants, and your input will be integrated as appropriate for a final product. JOY.

The collective sheconomista knowledge is way better than mine alone so don’t get shy on me now.

----- > View and copy the list here. < -----

Don’t worry, I’ll still send out adulting tips and comment on financial news and conquering some of the questions already asked of me that belong out in public, but now I’ll be writing with a little more structure. A little. Don’t get too excited. Like the list, I’m a work-in-progress.

In the meantime, stay in touch with your questions and thoughts, especially the ones about mayo.

In closing

Worse than toilet plume:

Cash is even grosser than you knew: Dangerous bacteria survive on paper money, study finds

And on that note, happy weekending! No texting and driving.

With

a big ‘ole dolla dolla love hug,

LL

 

---------- > YOLO. Tell your friends to sign up for the entertaining money chatter 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, pickle eggs, and strange vegetables, and look for new friends who want to kayak in obscure places with me (contact me stat if you are this friend). 

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. 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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