Career
Afraid of Burnout? Here’s How to Build Up Savings Just in Case
By admin | |
Burnout takes a toll — not just on your mental health, but your wallet, too. Here’s how to build up savings so you can take a break and care for yourself.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Money Talk: Sara Fujimura on the Importance of Talking About Money
By admin | |

Money Girl Laura Adams: When did you decide that you wanted to become an author (or other career)?

Sara Fujimura: Not until after college where I earned a B.S. in Public Health Education. My favorite class in college was Epidemiology, and deadly diseases used to be my jam…that is until March 2020. I am infinitely fascinated by the Spanish Flu and did several articles about it, including one for Perspectives in Health, published by an arm of the World Health Organization. While doing research, I came across all kinds of captivating stories in diaries, letters, newspaper articles, and even some video interviews (much later on) from survivors. I took these true stories and wove them into my young adult historical fiction novel Breathe, which came out in 2018 on the 100th anniversary of the pandemic. Who knew that only two years later, everybody would suddenly become an expert on the Spanish Flu and pandemics in general? While I was doing research (so much research!) for Breathe, I decided to keep going with my storytelling, slowly moving from magazine articles to young adult books full-time.  

MG: Do you write full-time?

SF: I do, but I am also blessed to have a spouse with a stable job and health insurance. I didn’t start writing full-time until after my children finished high school. Before then, I wrote part-time and donated a lot of time to my children’s schools/activities. I don’t regret this at all. It was a time of story-collecting and educating myself on writing craft.

Writing tends to be a feast-or-famine occupation, and the pandemic hit our profession just as hard as everybody else’s. COVID19 has been the great equalizer. Whether you were the Big Fish or the tiny minnow in your publishing house, NOBODY went out on book tour. This is where being an indie-pubbed author first saved my bacon. Tor Teen (publisher for my third and fourth books) can definitely do things that I can’t, like getting my book reviewed on NPR. But I can also do things that they can’t, like tapping into my local networks and keeping my books alive even when all of my in-person events went *poof* in 2020. Yeah, releasing a new book two weeks before the country goes into lockdown…1 out of 10 stars. Highly would NOT recommend it. With America slowly opening back up, I hope to combine my entrepreneurial spirit with Tor Teen’s fantastic marketing team to make an exponential jump in sales with my latest book, Faking Reality (July 13).   

MG: Did you study writing (or something else) or has it always come naturally to you?

SF: People are often surprised to hear that I do NOT have an English degree. It was my Public Health degree that led me to write. My senior year, one of my professors asked me to be his intern because he knew I could take complex topics and boil them down into accessible information for the general public. Fast-forward to the early 2000s when I received a call from an editor of a homeland security magazine who had seen my articles on the Spanish Flu. He wanted me to take cutting-edge scientific information and boil it down so that first responders could implement it into their jobs. Though I stopped doing magazine work so I could concentrate on book projects, in a way, I am still using this skill. You can enjoy my books as funny, sweet romances. Or, if you want to dig deeper, there is a lot of fact behind the fiction woven into them. I do Behind the Book posts on Instagram frequently to show readers how I brought my books to life.

MG: When you first started writing (or something else), were there any financial challenges? How did you manage them?

SF: Definitely! For most of my twenty years of writing, money has flowed more out than in. Granted, that was a choice. I could write on staff at a newspaper or edit for other authors to create some kind of financial stability in my business, but I don’t.

I reinvest my paychecks into my LLC and update my equipment, attend conferences, and pay for marketing. My first two books were independently published. To ensure that the final product was of the same quality as something found on a Barnes & Noble shelf, I had to spend money. A lot of money.

I hired content editors, copyeditors, experts, historians, and graphic designers. I also needed a large chunk of money for the business side of my book-making. That included everything from purchasing tax licenses, a tent and tables, bookmarks, KDP ads, travel to events, and more. It adds up very quickly, but it paid off. I’ve finally started turning a profit. If Netflix wants to make one of my books into a movie or series, that would definitely help my bottom line.   

MG: What advice would you give someone who's creative or wants to change their lifestyle about balancing passion for their art and earning an income?

SF: Start small and build. I had the safety net of my husband’s job and healthcare underneath me so I could experiment more than maybe some can. Keep reinvesting any income into your business and education. Take the time to build your community and lift up other creatives in your circles.

Talking about money always feels squidgy, but we need to do it!

MG: What productivity tips have helped you achieve success?

SP: My productivity hacks continue to evolve as I listen to a lot of productivity and entrepreneurial podcasts. I agree with the experts that success *doesn’t* come from time management but instead focus management. Not only do I have the usual distractions (social media, snacks, a toddler cat who will eat the couch if she’s feeling ignored), but I also have new ideas pinging around my brain all the time.

Success doesn’t come from time management but instead focus management. 

I often sing to my cat the line from the great contemporary poets/songwriters LMFAO…“Every day I’m shufflin’. Shufflin’. Shufflin’.” If I’ve been burning the midnight oil too much, Tiger Lily might even get some interpretative dance along with it. (For the record, she is not impressed by either.) Seriously though, I’ve yet to turn into the type of author who keeps the same strict writing schedule. I’m always out of balance, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I can write a complete (crappy) novel in two months, but it tears up my body, and I become a hermit. With a new book coming out on July 13th (Faking Reality with Tor Teen), launch prep and promo for the new book is my primary focus this month. This fall, I’m planning a long vacation to the East Coast to see my family and probably won’t work at all while I’m there. To help me decide where to put my time, focus, and energy, I use a couple of tools.

  1. I use Brian Moran’s 12-Week Year philosophy (https://12weekyear.com/)  to help me cull the ideas and decide where to put my focus each “year.” That way, I don’t have a big freak out every December. The system helps me go deeper on fewer things, and that’s how progress realistically happens.
  2. I use Todoist (https://todoist.com/) to park all the tasks. Granted there are days when I have 25 things on my list, but at least I know they are all captured somewhere, even if it isn’t that project’s “year” yet.
  3. I take my sometimes (okay, often) unrealistic To-Do list and pull a few of the highest-value tasks into a much more manageable list in my bullet journal. There are utilitarian bullet journals and ones that are mini art masterpieces. Mine is somewhere in between. My bujo contains To-Do lists done in colored pens in nice handwriting and decorated with washi tape. I will not be taking questions on the amount of washi tape I own. *cough*

MG: What do you like to spend money on that some people might consider a splurge or luxury?

Travel. I would rather live a modest retirement with thousands of stories to reminisce about than retire with a billion dollars after working non-stop until retirement age. Though I would be okay with having a billion dollars *and* going on multiple vacations around the globe each year. Netflix, call me!

Also, cute washi tape. Moving on.

SF: What’s the best thing you’ve bought in the last few months?

Renting an Air B&B up in Sedona for a long weekend with my husband and two grown kids. Being outside and hiking around the gorgeous red rocks recharged my spirit more than any expensive purse or shoes could have.

MG: What’s the biggest money mistake you’ve ever made?

Early in my writing career, I didn’t always write with a contract. I got burned so many times. Yes, it was for only a few hundred dollars each time, but the bigger issue was that I didn’t feel confident enough to insist on a contract.

SF: Tell me a financial rule that you never break.

Errr…how about I tell you the rule that has continued to plague me? It is the same problem as the previous answer, only in a different form: Undervaluing my work and giving away too much of my time, energy, and expertise. Yes, I want to be generous and helpful to others, but when a male counterpart is paid more than you for the same work (or worse, subpar work but done with chutzpah), you need to reevaluate your fee schedule. I get on my female friends regularly about undercharging for their products/services. I have lost count of the number of times I have overtipped or refused a discount because a businesswoman was undervaluing herself. This is where having a community is paramount.

You need to know what the going rate is in your area. If you have a mastermind group with other women in your field, then I challenge your group to set an agreed-upon amount so that your price becomes the area’s norm, not the exception.

My author mastermind group recently had a frank discussion about school visit fees, where I realized that my rates were way too low. Talking about money always feels squidgy, but we need to do it! 

A Guide to Student Loan Refunds
By admin | |

Nobody wants student loan debt. Higher education can be a worthwhile pursuit but it can come with some hefty tuition, housing, and living expenses that many students and their parents need to take out student loans to cover. There is some good news regarding student loans that a lot of people don’t know about. Getting […]

The post A Guide to Student Loan Refunds appeared first on SoFi.

9 Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks
By admin | |
While the average cost of university tuition is sky-high, there are many ways you can save money. See these tips to save money on college textbooks.
Attending College as a Non-Traditional Student
By admin | |

Femme Frugality writes about money as it pertains to young adults, brides, parents, Pittsburghers, and, of course, college students. You can read her blog here. Recently Michelle shared that W was returning to school, and asked for some tips for non-traditional students. I recently graduated, and now my fiance is going to college for the […]

The post Attending College as a Non-Traditional Student appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

How to Make Your Life Effortless
By admin | |

Essentialism is the discipline of choosing the right things to focus on – the things most vital to your success. Effortlessness is the art of doing those things well – simply and efficiently “so that you can sustain the effort and not just achieve success, but to be able to be successful at success.”

So began my conversation with Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and Effortless: Make it Easier to Do What Matters Most, and host of the What’s Essential podcast. Greg has dedicated his career to discovering why some people break through to the next level—and others don’t. He is an author, a speaker, and an active social innovator, having worked with clients such as Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Pixar, Salesforce.com and more. In this conversation he shared his wisdom around why we tend to get in our own way, and how we can better focus on identifying what’s essential and making it effortless.

Listen to the full conversation on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or just click the audio player above.

Essential things aren’t always the most difficult

“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are burned out and those who know they’re burned out," Greg shared.  Some of this comes from our collective instinct that for something to be essential, it must be difficult. 

“There is this assumption that the more essential a thing is, the harder it's going to be. And there is a kind of Puritan type logic that reinforces that…It’s like a distrust of the easy. If something’s easy it must be trivial.”  

“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are burned out and those who know they’re burned out."

So, he explains, we fall into the traps of perfectionism and overachieving – but often we’re just making things harder than they need to be. The essential thing may be as simple as taking a moment of silence to process what you’ve learned. It may be sitting with someone important to you as they experience a challenge. 

Sometimes what’s essential is the simplest thing we can do.

But sometimes essential things are difficult or complex – and our job is to make them as effortless as possible.

Effortlessness calls for asking better questions

Greg shared a story about Kim – a university manager he was coaching. She carried the mindset of “If I’m not exhausted, I’m not doing enough.” Her boss called one day and asked that she film a series of classes.

Being a proud overachiever, Kim immediately went into action – researching production equipment, recruiting staff to help record, readying her sound engineers. This was going to be the best darn recording the university had ever produced.

But when Greg asked her what the intended purpose of this recording was, she realized she had no idea. So she asked her boss and discovered that a student was going to be absent for a few days, and simply needed some footage of the lectures so he could catch up on his homework.

“She had this turnaround moment,” Greg says. Instead of asking “How can I achieve the best results by pushing harder?” she needed – we all need to be asking “How can I achieve better results by making it effortless? How can we make it easier?”

Ultimately, Kim asked one of the student’s classmates to record the lectures on his phone and share them. The solution was so simple. But it required Kim to pause before moving into overdrive.

Effortlessness calls for reframing the problem

Greg also shared the story of Henry Kramer, a British industrialist whose ability to reframe a problem contributed to innovation and progress in human-powered flight. Following the unmanned flight achieved by the Wright Brothers in Kitty Hawk in 1903, the aviation industry was trying to solve the problem of how to make flight safe for people. 

For years, aviation experts would develop hypotheses, invest heavily in building prototypes, test them, experience failure, and head back to the drawing board. These experts were essentially asking – and trying to answer – the question of “What’s the ideal flying apparatus to achieve human flight?”

Seeing this play out for years, Kramer decided to ask a different question. “Why,” he wondered “can’t anyone seem to solve this?” And the answer came to him. The real problem wasn’t the absence of the right answer – because right answers often follow a series of wrong ones. “Everyone’s trying to solve the wrong problem. Everyone is trying to build the ultimate machine, the sophisticated, elegant, usable machine... And that's the wrong problem. The right problem is - can we build a machine that can crash and be fixed again, cheaply?”

And with this reframe, Kramer discovered the solution required an ability to test and experiment again and again at a low cost. So he and his team ultimately developed what looked like a broom stick with some tape on it – and it allowed for iterative testing that ultimately led to the desired solution.

How to make the difficult, effortless?

Greg recommends we begin with two key practices:

1. Replace your “to-do” list with your “done today” list. Instead of a perpetual, endless list of things you’ll never complete, try spending a few moments every day jotting down a list of accomplishments you’re proud to celebrate. 

2. Choose and stick with an end-of-the-day. Now that so many of us are working and living all in one place, Greg says we all need an official end to our day. State the time upfront, make sure clients or team members know what it is, and be intentional about shutting down when the hour strikes.

Got a Work Windfall? 7 Best Ways to Spend Your Bonus
By admin | |

Thoughtful spending (and saving) is the best way to get the most benefit from your bonus.

The post Got a Work Windfall? 7 Best Ways to Spend Your Bonus appeared first on Discover Bank - Banking Topics Blog.

Money Talk: Miel Moreland on the Financial Rules She Never Breaks
By admin | |

Money Girl Laura Adams: When did you decide that you wanted to become an author (or other career)?

Miel Moreland: I knew I wanted to write books from a very young age, five or six at the latest. I committed to it in a serious way when I was about sixteen.

MG: Do you write full-time?

MM: I do not write full-time! I have a full-time administrative position at a university. I make more money from that job than from writing—and my job also comes with paid time off, employer-sponsored health insurance, and other benefits. It can be tricky to balance, time-wise, but the stability afforded to me by having a day job means I’m less anxious about my writing, because I’m not counting on writing books quickly in order to be able to pay rent. Since I’m both a slow writer and someone with anxiety, it’s much better to have this pressure taken off.

MG: Did you study writing (or something else) or has it always come naturally to you?

MM: I did not study writing—I was a double English/Politics major in college, but the English program at my school was focused on literature. I only took one creative writing class in college, and that was a mixture of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Writing comes naturally in the sense that the love for writing comes naturally, but the skill requires significant and ongoing practice, and of course lots of revision. I read a lot (or, at least I thought I read a lot until I realized how much bloggers read!), and I’m always trying to learn from other writers.

MG: When you first started writing (or something else), were there any financial challenges? If so, how did you manage them?

MM: When I first started writing It Goes Like This, I’d just finished my teaching assistant contract in France and was back in the United States, living with my parents while I applied to jobs. Ultimately, during the year in which I wrote, revised, and queried It Goes Like This, I had a constantly changing job situation, while simultaneously applying to grad school: unemployed, working more than full time, working part-time... If I hadn’t been living at home, I wouldn’t have been able to write during periods of unemployment and part-time work—because it would have been urgent for me to work more. Instead, because much of the money I earned that year went into savings for my move to the East Coast, I was able to make the choice to work less and write more at certain times.

MG: What advice would you give someone who's creative or wants to change their lifestyle about balancing passion for their art and earning an income?

MM: Perhaps the first question is to determine if you want to earn money from your art. You don’t have to! In fact, you should consider whether turning your passion into a job could actually decrease your enjoyment of your art. If you decide to pursue financial return from your art, do you want it to be fun, bonus money, or serious money that you will rely on? What kind of time is required to make the quality and quantity of art necessary for your answer? I spend a lot of time on my author job that isn’t purely writing—I’m reading to improve my craft, networking with other authors, and promoting my books.

Before you start a side hustle, you should consider whether turning your passion into a job could actually decrease your enjoyment of your art.

Then you need to be serious about both your current financial needs or commitments and your future goals. How much money would you need from writing in order to make it an integral part of your income? What are you counting as writing: will you also offer editing services, pitch yourself for classroom visits, or write freelance articles in addition to novels? If you stay in a regular full-time or part-time job while writing, what’s the trigger point at which you would consider being a full-time writer? If you try writing full-time, what’s the plan for if it’s not sustainable long-term? You’re not less of a writer just because you have bills to pay and you can’t pay them entirely through book advances.

If you’re balancing art with another job, there are plenty of factors to consider. Some writers thrive on having other jobs related to writing, such as teaching or working in communications. I would be too drained by having a day job that required a lot of creativity. For now, I’ve also deliberately chosen a job with a strict 9-5 schedule. If I were in a job that required a significant amount of overtime, I wouldn’t have time to write. As with everything in life, don’t be afraid to change your mind as your wants or needs evolve over time!

It can be tricky to balance, time-wise, but the stability afforded to me by having a day job means I’m less anxious about my writing.

MG: What do you like to spend money on that some people might consider a splurge or luxury?

MM: Cake from local bakeries to celebrate any book milestone, no matter how minor. And concerts, of course—I promise I didn’t write any tickets off on my taxes as book research.

MG: What’s the best thing you’ve bought in the last few months?

MM: On a practical level, the best thing I bought was a new phone. My previous one was old, physically falling apart, and could not hold a charge. Plus, it was constantly crashing, which was obviously an issue when a significant part of being an author is promoting your books online!

On a fun level, I recently bought a ticket to a live comedy show for the first time. I started watching comedy specials and stand-up during the pandemic, and since live comedy seems to be coming back sooner than live music, this is replacing a concert I might have gone to this year.

I grew up in a household that prioritized experiences over things, and sometimes experiences translate to really nice chocolate cake, and sometimes you just want to be in a big space with other people, all sharing in a particular joy.

MG: What’s the biggest money mistake you’ve ever made?

MM: Not tracking my expenses exactly when I got my first post-college position. I had a basic budget, and I kept a rough sum going in my head, but not knowing the exact numbers was an unnecessary stressor. This was complicated by the fact that my savings were in my American bank and my income—and most of my expenses—were going through my French bank.

It’s especially important to track your money exactly when you’re not charging everything to the same account, or when some portion of your money is only available for certain purchases or in certain locations.

MG: Tell me a financial rule that you never break.

MM: I pay my credit card off completely every month!

Okay, I have broken this rule twice... once when I had to use my American credit card for certain travel expenses but my paychecks were going into my French bank account, and once when a friend was slow to pay me back for a concert ticket. But it’s now been years since I’ve broken this streak. 

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
By admin | |
No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it's smart to shop elsewhere.
7 Tips for a Successful Transition After High School
By admin | |

Graduating high school is an incredible milestone for kids and their parents. The 18 years of preparation are coming to fruition and they're ready to take on the next phase of adult life. (Or so we hope!) Mighty Mommy has been here six times and as her seventh child graduates high school this week, here are eight tips to guide your almost-adult across the finish line:

Tip #1: Time management is a lifelong win

I was born a natural master of scheduling and organizing. Whether it was arranging my stuffed animals neatly, keeping on task with my studies, or managing my hectic lifestyle with eight kids, I thrive on keeping a running "to-do list."

Learning to manage your time is one of the most critical skills for leading a productive life. But it's also one of the most difficult to learn. I assumed that my kids would follow suit with my organizational skillset, but I quickly learned that most of them had no concept of managing their time. 

We practiced this skill a lot in our household. We made lists, figured out how much time every task needed, and worked backwards to understand when something needed to start in order to finish on time. It takes practice, but once they hone in on the concept of being in control of their time, they will master the rest of their goals much more quickly.  

Check out the episode Time Management Tips for College Students to prepare your high school grad for adult life.

Tip #2: Understanding personal finances is critical

When I was in high school (many moons ago), the emphasis was on algebra, calculus, and geometry. I don't recall one class that focused on personal finance. That has changed a bit now, but if there is one critical skill I'd wish for every high school graduate to take seriously, it's getting a handle on personal finance. 

Learning to manage your money means understanding how to keep track of your income and expenses. This includes managing a debit and credit card, setting a budget, saving money, and investing.

Quick and Dirty Tips' financial expert, Laura Adams, has lots of practical advice for all stages of life. Her popular episode, How to Create a Personal Finance System for Money Success, has tangible steps to understand and navigate your finances. 

Tip #3: Communication skills are key

Financial know-how is essential, but another winning skill for all high school graduates is the art of communication. Good communication skills include speaking, listening, writing, and non-verbally using body language, eye contact, and even posture. 

Effective communication takes practice, but now is the time for your young adult to pay attention to how he/she interacts with others so that this skill can be groomed and perfected. It will be critical for their professional and personal success.

Check out this helpful video, 5 Conversation and Communications Tips (With Exercises), that can help anyone kick their communication skills up a notch or two!  

Tip #4: Don't let stuff manage your life

It's easy to get swept away with the novelty of having the latest electronics, smartphones, sports equipment, trendy clothes, and other accessories. But at what cost? In my episode Here's What Happened When I Became a Minimalist Mom, I share the down-to-earth benefits of not letting material possessions rule your life. If your student can grasp this now rather than later, he/she will live a well-intentioned life.  

It's easy to get swept away with the novelty of having the latest electronics, smartphones, sports equipment, trendy clothes, and other accessories. But at what cost?

Tip #5: Your health is not optional

I remember how alive and free I felt after graduating high school. I was active, healthy, and full of energy. Because I was young and wasn't sick often, I know I didn't prioritize my health. 

I consider myself lucky to have sustained good health with such a carefree attitude, but I remind my eight kids never to take their health for granted. As young adults start venturing into the world independently, they need to recognize the importance of maintaining good health, in both body and mind. Have open and candid health conversations with your kids, including recognizing the risks of substance abuse and sexual health and safety.

For more excellent health and fitness advice, check out the Get-Fit Guy and Nutrition Diva podcasts.  

Tip #6: Never stop learning

When we graduate from high school or college, many of us are ready for a learning break. It's normal to want to walk away from textbooks, structured curriculums, and course deadlines, but we all soon realize that life is a learning journey. 

Quick and Dirty Tips' workplace expert Rachel Cooke (aka the Modern Mentor), shared some excellent advice on how to stay hungry in the quest to learn more in her episode The 2021 Career Wisdom You Need from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She shared a great quote from the late Supreme Court Justice in response to a letter from an eight-year-old girl: 

"Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true." 

There are endless ways to fill your mind with new information. Listen to podcasts, find topics that interest you on YouTube, explore your local library, visit museums, attend free talks at nearby universities. The only limits are the ones created by you. 

Tip #7: Cultivate meaningful relationships

High school is usually a time when kids bond and make some of their best friends. Once graduation happens, however, kids head off to different colleges or paths in life. New friendships will blossom after graduation, along with romantic partners, work relationships, and professional interests. 

Those of us who have had lifelong besties are truly blessed. In addition, having a close relationship with siblings, cousins, and other family members is also essential. 

Encourage your young adult to nurture quality friendships and special relationships as part of his/her's transition into the world of adulthood. The Mayo Clinic's article, "Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health," explains that solid friendships play a significant role in promoting our overall health and offer suggestions on cultivating these relationships. 

1 2 3 28