Financial Fitness

Two Important Personal Qualities for Navigating Economic Downturns

Jean Chatzky

Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC’s TODAY, once conducted a large study, in partnership with Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive, to identify what separated people who were successful—in a wide range of financial situations—from those who were not.

As you might have guessed, saving and having a financial plan was part of the answer. But so was being optimistic and resilient, Chatzky said in a recent conversation.

And, those are the skills we need now—and can cultivate now, she said.

“You can become a more optimistic person if you want to be. One way is to keep track of good things on a daily basis. Keep a gratitude journal or a happiness journey. You have to show yourself that good things do happen, even in bad times.”

As for resilience: “That boils down to control what you can and let go of the rest. You can’t control what others do. You can control what we do.” Likewise, you may not be able to entirely control your income but you can focus on controlling your expenses.

Keeping Perspective Also Helps

“If you have long-term time horizon and are not going to use your money [in the stock market] for the next five, 10, or more years, then take a deep breath and try not to obsess about the financial news,” said Chatzky who has been a financial writer since 1986 and witnessed at least four down-turns before.

“Continue to put money into your 401K and have confidence that based on history we will come back from this. American companies are good at what they do and will figure out how to come back.”

If you need money in the short term, think about where you can get it where it is going to cost you the least in terms of interest, taxes or penalties. That may mean tapping an emergency fund or home equity loan if those are options for you. Taking a hard look at your budget to eliminate unnecessary costs is also, of course, always a good move.

And, while it’s true that the markets don’t like uncertainty, and nobody knows how long this downturn will last, Chatzky sees another side to the story.

“The story I am telling myself is that when I watch Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “I am confident he is a smart man and people like him will figure this out. Figuring it out in my mind means getting a handle on the health crisis.”

“We have to get a handle on the health crisis to get a handle on economic crisis. And, I believe that even though we don’t know a lot about what’s happening in terms of how long this is going to last and overall economic impact, we are seeing proposals coming from Washington and actions being taken. Day by day, it seems to me that we are moving in the right direction to get this under control.”

In short, Chatzky said: “If you are optimistic about the future of this country, and I am still optimistic, you have to tell yourself that we will eventually get to the right answers and get on back course.”

To learn more, visit Jean Chatzky’s Her Money, a new digital media company focused on improving the relationships women have with money.


More from the April 2020 Newsletter

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If You’re Worried About Money, Think About This

young woman expressing a perplexed look on her face while examining monthly bills and account balances

Sometimes, one simple shift in thinking can help us know that, whatever the challenge before us, we’ll figure it out. This week, economist and Conference for Women speaker Teresa Ghilarducci provides that reassurance on our latest episode of Women Amplified.

Here it is: If you’re worried about money, think about your future self, and take action that supports that self—not the fearful self that may be activated in this moment.

Fear triggers chemicals in your brain that will make you want to do something to blast that fear away now. But those actions may not be in your long-term best interest.

So, what should you do—especially if you’re dealing with a loss of income or feeling rocked by the volatility in the stock market?

“You have to do something, but you have to do something for your medium-term and long-term self,” says Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Focusing on the future, instead of this more anxious moment, will help you take charge. And from that more empowered mindset, you will be better positioned to take constructive action—on what Ghilarducci says should be three priority areas:

  1. Spending. If you don’t have a budget, this is the time to set it up—and watch it carefully. Fortunately, discretionary spending for many items—from Starbucks to hair care—is down. And we just might discover how many impulse purchases we don’t truly care about, which could help keep expenses permanently down.
  2. Debt. If you have credit card debt, ask the company to suspend payment without extra interest for the next two months—and to lower your interest rate while they’re at it. If you have a mortgage, do the same thing: ask for a two-month suspension without any extra interest accruing.
  3. Investments. If you can, look at your 401k accounts and make sure you know how much more you need to save to get on target. And, says Ghilarducci, remember that your asset values will probably come back in a year and a half. So, be patient.

Tune in to hear the full conversation with Theresa Ghilarducci on the Conferences for Women podcast, Women Amplified.


More from the April 2020 Newsletter

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Creating Financial Health During Crisis

Teresa Ghilarducci

Although life has come to a screeching halt, concerns over money have not—financial fear and distress are at an all-time high.

Our latest episode of Women Amplified features economist and author Teresa Ghilarducci, who offers invaluable and actionable ways you can take control of your finances in the short-term and create long-term financial health. Learn sustainable daily habits to maximize your paycheck and savings, help you budget in crisis-mode, manage debt, and continue planning for retirement. Read More

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What It Will Take for All Women to Advance

Minda Harts

Minda Harts noticed something recently while being on the circuit of women’s events over the past year. When she signed copies of her new book, The Memo, she rarely saw a white woman. That’s not surprising perhaps, given the book’s subtitle, What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table. But it is, in her view, a missed opportunity.

“I often say success is not a solo sport,” Minda recently said. “If we saw each other as resources, we could get so much more accomplished.” But to do that, takes the courage to listen to and understand other people’s experiences—to pay more attention to the intersection of race and gender, among other things, that fall under the commitment to gender equality. Only then, she suggests, can women succeed in doing what is required for true gender equality: namely, turn allyship into action. Read More

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4 Money Tips to Help You Have More Time to Do What You Love

Tonya Rapley

Tonya Rapley, who Black Enterprise Magazine called the “New Face of Wealth Building,” is on a mission to help women break the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck and do more of what they love.

Author of The Money Manual and founder of My Fab Finance, Tonya offers these tips for making better decisions about money: Read More

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ENCORE | Your Money: A Pathway to a Richer Life | 2019 Session

What do we want from our money? Some of us look for independence and security, while others desire more choices and a better way of life. But all of us want to experience less stress around money. So, now that women have more money—and power—than ever before, how can we start making our money work for us? In this session, Today Show financial editor and best-selling author Jean Chatzky will share what she’s learned about living a financially robust life. She will also present her three-part plan for understanding your life in relationship to your finances. Expect to walk away armed with tactical solutions for getting paid what you deserve, making your money last, leaving a legacy—and, most importantly, feeling joyful while doing it.

Read More

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Live Richer with the One-Week Budget | 2019 Session

When “The Budgetnista” started writing her book at age 25, she was a teacher earning $35,000 a year and, within two years, managed to save $40,000. She has since dedicated her life to financial literacy and helping others live a richer lives. In this session, you will learn her invaluable money management system: twelve steps that that can be completed over seven days. You will also learn the practical and easy tools to complete the One-Week Budget challenge and ultimately find a richer life. UPDATED AFTER PRINT: In addition to the One-Week Budget, Tiffany will also be presenting her Ten Steps to Financial Wholeness.

Read More

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4 Proven Strategies that Will Help You Get a Raise

Hot to get paid

The gender pay gap became front-page news last month after presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced a proposal that would require companies to prove they pay women equitably—or pay a fine.

But if you don’t want to wait to see what comes of that, here are four tips that expert Conference for Women speakers say have helped them negotiate salary increases: Read More

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How Every Woman Can Be “Self-Made”—with Nely Galán

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Nely Galán - May 2019 Speaker of the Month

After emigrating from Cuba at the age of 4, Nely Galán became the first Latina president of entertainment for a major TV network, an Emmy award-winning producer, and New York Times best-selling author. In her words, she became “Self-Made,” and now she wants to teach every woman how to do it. Tune in to hear her story, the strategies that drove her success, and why she thinks the time has never been better for women to claim their power.

+ Ask Nely YOUR questions during a live Q&A on Tuesday, May 21st @ 1:00pm EDT!

+ Check out the free “Self Made Mastery” webinar series Nely mentions in the podcast

Read More

Posted in Life on Your Terms, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Financial Fitness, Small Business, Success & Leadership, Podcasts Tagged , |

Live Richer in 2019 with Tiffany “the Budgetnista” Aliche

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America’s favorite personal finance educator shares her top tips for maximizing your money in 2019, how to prepare for unexpected financial hardships, and the least-scary ways to raise your net worth.


Be sure to subscribe to our new podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play or TuneIn so you don’t miss this or any exciting upcoming episodes of Women Mean Business!

Posted in Financial Fitness, Goals & Priorities, Podcasts Tagged |

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