Daily Archives: June 13, 2021

Opinion: Secondhand clothing, no car, chopping wood to heat my home: Why the FIRE movement is too frugal for me – MarketWatch

Posted: June 13, 2021 at 12:55 pm

I regularly read blogs written by those who retired early to a life of ultrafrugality. Do you consider yourself careful with money? Even so, I doubt youd enjoy the frugal lifestyle of many followers of the FIRE (financial independence/retire early)movement.

I certainly wouldnt. If I go on another cruise, I wont be booking aninsidecabin. I cant imagine my wife buying clothes from a thrift store and wearing them for the next 10 years. Things that strike me as too frugal: Never going out to eat. Never traveling. Not owning a car. Living on a remote piece of land and chopping firewood for heat. Picking up toys from the curbside for the kids. Moving to Mexico for the low cost of living.

And, no, Im not trusting my eyeglasses to an online service to save money. Dont get me wrong: I shun designer frames and designer everything else. I lean towardfrugality. I avoid impulse shopping, buying the latest trendy thing and accumulating unnecessary stuff. Still, you usually get what you pay for. Have you ever read about the things you should never buy from adollar store?

But it isnt just the extreme frugality of the FIRE folks that bothers me. Rather, its also the related claim that theyre financial independent.

Dont get me wrong: Im not mocking these frugal folks, nor am I being a snob. But its important to understand the lifestyle necessary to be financial independent if youre living on a tiny budget.

To be sure, these folks seem happy with their choices. Many are actually income-earning bloggers, authors and podcasters who are sought out by the media. In that regard, Im jealous. Nobody seeks me out. Being an old school dinosaur is not news.

Onebloggerclaims to have lived on $7,000 a year or less for a decade.Anothersays his family of five lives on $40,000 a year and spent just $296 on groceries in March. TheU.S. Department of Agricultureputs a low-costgroceryplan for a family of four at $892.90 per month. Even a thrifty food plan is estimated at $676.80 per month.

This same family pays almost zero for health insurance premiums because they keep their income low enough to collect Affordable Care Act subsidies. Meanwhile, in March, their net worth went up $68,000 to end the month at $2,648,000. The lesson: Because the government typically counts income but not wealth, some of the frugal few are able to qualify for subsidies and tax credits.

Acouple, who retired 30 years ago at age 38, says that as of the end of 2020 we spent $28,133 or $76.87 per day. Plus we blew the $2400.00 stimulus check on repairs in our humble abode in the States. Our average spending for 30 years of financial independence or 10,950 days, is $23,241 annually or $63.67 per day. They now live in Mexico mostly, travel and have lived around the world. Frankly, its all beyond my comprehension, but it seems to work for them.

When I stopped working after a 50-year career, I retired. Now, Ive learned that retired may not mean what I thought it did. Some people claim to be retired early when, in fact, they simply left their current job for something less demandinga life of doing your own thing, so to speak, but not actually ceasing to work for income. Does the $6.70 I earn each month from my blog make me a hypocrite?

Each to his or her own. But where would we be if everybody retired at age 38?

This column originally appeared on Humble Dollar. It was republished with permission.

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Opinion: Secondhand clothing, no car, chopping wood to heat my home: Why the FIRE movement is too frugal for me - MarketWatch

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This Single Mom Retired By 50, And Built a $1.3 Million Net Worth While in the FIRE Movement – Black Enterprise

Posted: at 12:55 pm

FIRE enthusiast Jackie Cummings Koski retired at age 49 with a net worth of $1.3 million.

The single mom started with $20,000 in her retirement account, People reported. When Koski discovered the FIRE movement, she boosted her portfolio to over $1 million. At age 46, she became financially independent. Then, she reached her FIRE goals at age 49 and retired early.

FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. The financial and lifestyle movement is designed to promote aggressive savings and investing goals. After adopting consistent money savings and growth habits, participants have the freedom to choose how they live their lives. Many individuals in the movement achieve FIRE in their 30s, 40s, and 50s with enough money to live comfortably during their lifetime.

Koski says that simple savings habits can make a big difference over the long term. She tells her students that they can achieve their millionaire goals by saving $50 a week for 40 years. Koski reached her financial goals early by studying money, committing to her goals, and investing.

Youre not going to be saving or investing unless in your mind you believe it will make a difference, Koski told Market Watch. It may take a while to really get your head around things like me, but it happens, and when it does, it is very, very powerful.

After going through a divorce in 2004, Koski became committed to learning about money.

She realized that all the major financial decisions were managed by her husband, leaving her with many financial knowledge gaps that she wanted to overcome. Koskis wake-up call occurred when she realized that her retirement account was $20,000 and her ex-husbands account was worth $120,000.

I just didnt know and I never asked, Koski explains to People. Shame on me.

This motivated Koski to join a local investment club to learn more about investing. She also contributed the maximum amount to her 401K and Roth IRA. Then she opened a Health Savings Account and focused on her budget. Koski was on a mission to retire by 55. But after pursuing FIRE In her 40s, she was able to accelerate her progress. Koski left her full-time job and started teaching others how to achieve financial freedom.

One of the most important steps that Koski took to achieve financial independence was to calculate her net worth. This is the sum of your assets minus your liabilities.

Once you know where youre starting, you can move the needle in the right direction, Koski told Business Insider.

When Koski calculated her net worth in 2013, she realized she had accumulated a $500,000 net worth. One year later, her net worth jumped to $600,000 as she started to follow the principles of the FIRE movement.

After determining her net worth number, Koski calculated her expenses. She determined that she would need $1 million net worth to enjoy a $40,000 annual lifestyle in retirement. Using the 4% rule, Koski determined how much she would need to save to achieve her goals.

Koski continued reading books and leveraging tips used by other members. Although many individuals solely focus on making more money, Koski kept her eyes on her expenses. She lived in a lower cost of living area in southwestern Ohio to keep her monthly mortgage around $800. This helped her achieve her FIRE goals in less than 10 years without ever earning more than $95,000 a year.

When Koski delivers financial literacy presentation, she often shares her background as motivation. She grew up in poverty with a single father. He was raising six children with only a sixth-grade education. Although she didnt learn about money growing up, it didnt stop her from expanding her knowledge later in life. She changed her surroundings and immersed herself in the FIRE movement to achieve her goals. Now, shes the author of a financial empowerment book, Money Letters: 2 My Daughter and Founder of Money Letters, LLC.

I figured if I could do this after starting with nothing, it was my duty to share what Ive learned with others, Koski tells Business Insider. It is now my lifes work, and I finally get to follow my dream of creating a financially literate society. And that is something I never want to retire from.

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Southern Tax Prep empowers Black families to achieve financial freedom – The Black Wall Street Times

Posted: at 12:55 pm

Jasmine Youngs job as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) doesnt sound very exciting, but it fits her perfectly. I love numbers, she says with a chuckle, and I love to help people from underserved communities become financially literate.

The founder and CEO of Southern Tax Preparation and Services LLC, Ms. Young learned financial literacy from her parents, who endeavored to reach financial freedom through learning how to manage their own money. In fact, she remembers receiving her allowance as a teenager and being taught how to save and spend to reach her goals.

Now, Ms. Young is reaching other goals expanding Southern Tax Prep from Alabama to Atlanta, with plans to grow nationwide. She aims to break down barriers to financial literacy and financial freedom by providing people with the resources they need to achieve financial independence.

Its a lofty goal, but Ms. Young knows its achievable. She notes that People in the African-American community often dont know who they can trust for financial support. As a Black woman, I provide those resources along with a shared lived experience.

Touching on historical trauma and redlining, Ms. Young mentioned that in her small Alabama community, there wasnt a single CPA firm, and definitely not one that focused on the needs of Black communities. She started Southern Tax Prep seven years ago in her Alabama town, with a small office and staff.

Now, Ms. Young and Southern Tax Prep locations are so busy she regularly has to hire more staff to meet the demands of Black families who want her financial services. We dont have clients; we have family members, she said during the interview. When someone contacts us, we say welcome to the family, and immediately provide resources and assistance that address their financial needs.

Its an organizational culture that is completely different from most CPA firms, who provide their clients with numbers and reports, but not a personal relationship. And thats exactly what Ms. Young aims to change, empowering Southern Tax Prep family members to learn the what, why, and how of finances.

Ms. Young also wants to empower Black communities to access all the financial resources at their disposal, noting the discrepancy between banking services offered to White people versus people of color. Economic justice is a focus as well, particularly for communities that have not had regular access to financial services.

I enjoy being able to help my people in a way they didnt think they could be helped, said Ms. Young proudly. Southern Tax Preps goal is to break down barriers and provide access to financial independence, one person at a time.

To learn more about Southern Tax Prep, visit their website.

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This 26-Year-Old Has Enough Money to Retire Next Year. This Is the Formula She Uses To Calculate Her Investments – NextAdvisor

Posted: at 12:55 pm

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Tori Dunlap is 26 years old and on track to retire earlier than people twice her age in fact, if she wanted to, she could retire next year.

But that isnt her plan. She wants to continue to use her platform to educate women on investing and reaching financial independence. Everyones going to say, But why are you retiring? Im not planning on retiring. I own a business that changes womens lives, says Dunlap. I dont plan on retiring any time soon.

As the founder of a financial education business, Her First $100k, Dunlap says she has taught 1.5 million women (and some men) about saving money, building long-term wealth, and investing for retirement. She sells financial education courses, and says her business is on track to earn seven figures this year. By next year, she will be financially independent, meaning her investments will earn enough interest for her to live off of and she wouldnt have to work another day if she didnt want to.

Dunlap launched her side hustle-turned-main-hustle in 2016 when she was 22 to document her personal finance journey. She had a plan to save $100,000 by age 25 and reached her goal in 2019. By the time Dunlap hits retirement age, she projects shell have $6 million invested in the stock market.

Unlike many other investors, Dunlap isnt all that interested in get-rich-quick ideas or fads of the moment. Investing shouldnt be sexy. It should be index funds over a period of decades. The sexy part is me building wealth and being able to retire and being financially independent, says Dunlap.

With her podcast Financial Feminist often hitting the number one spot on Apples business podcast rankings, beating out more established names like Dave Ramsey and Joe Rogan, and a forthcoming book with HarperCollins set for a 2022 release, Dunlap is on top of the personal finance world. Her main mission is building her business, investing for the future, and helping her community fight the patriarchy by learning how to invest and save for the future.

Dunlap shared the biggest mistakes she sees young investors make read on to not make these mistakes yourself.

Dunlaps investment portfolio consists of three accounts: a Roth IRA, a SEP IRA which she is actively converting to a solo 401(k), and an individual brokerage account. Dunlap also has a dedicated health savings account (HSA) for health-related expenses.

Dunlap calculates the growth of her investments by using the Rule of 72. The Rule of 72 is a popular shortcut to calculate the enormous benefits of compound interest. According to Dunlap, its the best way to predict how much your money will grow once its invested, and can help you keep your savings goals on track.

Years to Double = 72 Interest Rate

Where: Interest Rate = the rate of return on an investment

You begin with the number 72 and divide it by the average annual rate of return you can expect from the stock market. Dunlap says she estimates on the more conservative side, which is 7%. Other people might push their estimate to 10%. This number assumes that you invest in index funds, a recommended strategy in which you buy a broad bundle of stocks that represent the entire market.

Dunlap puts her numbers to the test: 72 divided by 7 equals about 10. Thats 10 years for your money to double, she says. Her First $100k started because I had saved $100,000 at 25. Using the rule of 72, I could calculate how much money that $100,000 at 25 will turn into by the time Im 65 and set to retire. If Im 25 years old with $100,000, at 45 Ill have $400,000, and at 55, Ill have $800,000. And then well have $1.6 million by 65. The Rule of 72 is a simple way to see how your investments increase over time.

Dunlap calculates her $6 million retirement figure based on how much money she currently has invested. Regarding retirement, she says, Thats the only thing Im saving for right now. Thats the only financial goal I have other than continuing to grow my business.

Dunlap grew up talking about money. Her parents openly communicated with her about saving, avoiding debt, and negotiating salaries, a privilege she acknowledges not everyone has. She began having money conversations with her friends and realized that her background was not the norm.

Only when I started having these conversations did I realize I was the friend all of my female friends were coming to for advice, says Dunlap. This privilege of a financial education came with a responsibility, and the responsibility was to educate others. Thats what I believe I was put on this earth to do.

Dunlap says in her experience, she sees women waiting to invest. Yet women are expected to live seven years longer than men on average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Starting your investment portfolio early is the key to taking advantage of the magic of compound interest. Since women typically live longer than men, its crucial women start investing as soon as possible.

As women, were either waiting longer to invest or not investing at all, says Dunlap. If you talk to any financial advisor, and youre telling them, Hey, Im expected to be in the stock market seven years longer, thats going to be a different investment strategy, but were not talking about it like it is.

Through her quirky and actionable TikTok and Instagram videos, Dunlap aims to make investing in the stock market less daunting. She posts constantly about how finance should be and can be accessible to women.

Investing is our best form of protest as women, Dunlap says. For me, investing means taking care of Retired Me whos going to be drinking Chardonnay at lunch and flirting with her much younger instructor thats the plan.

One of the biggest mistakes Dunlap says she sees in young investors is simply not getting started. She calls this analysis paralysis, where overanalyzing a situation and all its options prevents a person from moving forward.

Youre like, OK, I have to know everything about the stock market before I can proceed, but its impossible to know everything, she points out. Her message is simple: You get rich by investing in the stock market, she says. Its so important that women start investing. It is the best way to grow wealth.

Still, Dunlap suggests doing a few things before diving into investing. First, Dunlap stresses the importance of having an emergency fund with three to six months of expenses in it. Get three months of living expenses in your emergency fund before you move on to the other steps, Dunlap says. We dont want you going deeper into debt trying to pay for an emergency.

Dunlap suggests keeping your emergency fund in an FDIC-insured high-yield savings account. Its where your emergency fund should live, as well as separate accounts for every short-term goal, she says.

Next, she says, pay down toxic debt like credit card debt. There are three ways to pay off credit card debt. Theres the avalanche method, which involves paying off the card with the highest interest rate first; the snowball method, which involves paying off the card with the lowest balance first; and the landslide method, which involves paying down the most recently opened credit card, a strategy that can repair your credit score quickly.

Each is efficient in paying down toxic credit card debt, but Dunlap suggests using the avalanche method first. Its all about the interest rate. Prioritizing paying down the debt that has the highest interest rate because its costing you the most money, she says.

Investing is a two-step process, Dunlap says. You put your money into an account, like a 401(k), IRA, or brokerage. But then you have to do something with that money, whether thats buying index funds or stocks. Whatever you do, dont let it fall into what Dunlap calls financial purgatory.

When you dont invest your money, Dunlap says, its like putting money on a gift card, but youre not spending the money.

As a warning, Dunlap shares a story about a teacher named Rose who opened up a Roth IRA. Every month, Rose moved money into her retirement savings, exactly as we are all taught to do. After many years, Rose had deposited thousands of dollars in her account but she made a big mistake. She didnt invest her money and lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in compound interest. This is why financial education is so important. Rose put in money every single month for her entire adult life, but never actually invested the money, says Dunlap. It just sat there and didnt earn her any interest because it was waiting to be invested. Thats heartbreaking.

Dunlap wants to break the intimidation factor and says even investing a small amount will benefit you in the long run. Even a couple hundred dollars when youre 20 is going to turn into thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars later, she says. Its really important that you get started, even if it feels a little bit scary.

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The Average Retirement Age in Every State – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:55 pm

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Retiring early seems to be on everyone's minds these days. The growing popularity of the so-called FIRE movement -- short for financial independence, retire early -- is a testament to how much everyone seems to be craving a slice of "the easy life." The good news is that in many U.S. states, what most people would call an "early" retirement is within reach. Although "full retirement age" for Social Security purposes isn't until age 67, the average retirement age in every single state -- with the exception of the District of Columbia -- is below 67. On average, retirees in the U.S. hang up their work boots at age 64, according to Money Talks News.

Read More: Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments Arent Enough to Pay Higher Costs for SeniorsFind Out: Heres Exactly How Much Savings You Need To Retire In Your State

Of course, to truly live a comfortable retirement takes more than desire -- it also takes a large chunk of cash.

If nothing else, this study proves two things. First, the state in which you live can play a big role in how early you can retire, as evidenced by the low average retirement ages across wide swaths of the South and Midwest. Next, it takes more than $1 million to have a comfortable retirement in any state in America -- or over $2 million in the case of Hawaii and the District of Columbia -- so it's important to work with a retirement advisor or the best 401(k) providers to help boost your savings as much as possible.

Check out when you can expect to retire, based on your state of residence.

Last updated: March 30, 2021

Birmingham, Alabama, USA downtown city skyline.

Average retirement age: 62

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $49,099

Retirement savings needed: $883,790

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Alaska, USA - August 12, 2016: Downtown Juneau with flowers in the foreground with painted wooden storefront buildings and the Red Dog Saloon.

Average retirement age: 61

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $79,249

Retirement savings needed: $1,505,740

Watch Out: 14 Key Signs You Will Run Out of Money in Retirement

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Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk.

Average retirement age: 63

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $58,327

Retirement savings needed: $991,560

Related: What Is a Roth IRA?

Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA - May 23, 2014: Historic Bath House Row at sunrise.

Average retirement age: 62

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $47,836

Retirement savings needed: $861,053

Read: 17 Biggest Budgeting Mistakes Youre Making

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -31 AUG 2017- The Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco is the oldest Chinatown in the United States and the largest Chinese community outside Asia.

Average retirement age: 64

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $83,279

Retirement savings needed: $1,332,457

Helpful: 19 Effective Ways To Tackle Your Budget

Centennial Colorado aerial view

Average retirement age: 65

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $60,357

Retirement savings needed: $905,350

Check Out: Best Cities To Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month

Hartford Connecticut in the fall

Average retirement age: 65

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $70,817

Retirement savings needed: $1,062,257

Read: Tips To Keep Your Finances in Order Without Sacrificing What You Want

State Capitol Building of Delaware.

Average retirement age: 63

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $58,418

Retirement savings needed: $993,101

Related: 17 Dumb Home-Buying Mistakes That Hurt Your Wallet

Washington's city street and post office tower at sunrise, Washington, DC, USA.

Average retirement age: 67

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $94,248

Retirement savings needed: $1,225,222

Try: 50 Easy Things You Should Do To Save Money

Naples, Florida, USA downtown skyline at dusk.

Average retirement age: 64

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $56,382

Retirement savings needed: $902,116

Stop Now: 50 Terrible Ways To Try and Save Money

Helen, Georgia, USA - May 7, 2013: The square in the Appalachian town of Helen.

Average retirement age: 63

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $50,066

Retirement savings needed: $851,122

Find Out: Things To Cut Out Right Now To Save Money During the Health Crisis

Palm tree silhouette at sunset, Hawaii, USA.

Average retirement age: 66

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $120,909

Retirement savings needed: $1,692,722

Read: 25 Tips for Saving Money With Your Spouse

City of Idaho Falls in Idaho State showing famous landmark church in autumn, USA.

Average retirement age: 64

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $52,962

Retirement savings needed: $847,388

Helpful: 16 Effective Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois - Image.

Average retirement age: 64

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $54,657

Retirement savings needed: $874,507

Good To Know: 16 Splurges That Save You Money in the Long Run

Indianapolis, Indiana canal walk

Average retirement age: 63

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $50,697

Retirement savings needed: $861,848

Keep Reading: 25 Ways To Save 20% More of Your Paycheck Without Even Trying

Morning in Des Moines, Iowa.

Average retirement age: 65

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $52,399

Retirement savings needed: $785,982

Try: Cutting Out These 25 Expenses Will Save You $16,142.08 a Year

Wichita, Kansas, USA - Augusst 31, 2018: The confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas River at the Keeper of the Plains near downtown Wichita at dawn.

Average retirement age: 65

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $50,223

Retirement savings needed: $753,339

Learn More: Surprising Ways Gen Z and Millennials Are Worlds Apart Financially

Frankfort, Kentucky, USA town skyline on the Kentucky River at dusk.

Average retirement age: 62

Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $51,082

Retirement savings needed: $919,469

Exclusive: Americans Savings Drop to Lowest Point in Years

The St.

Average retirement age: 62

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The Average Retirement Age in Every State - Yahoo Finance

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How teens and young women are falling through the financial literacy gap – SBS

Posted: at 12:55 pm

In her early 20s, *Amanda had long-term employment, lived in a rental property and had a healthy amount of savings.

Then *Amanda met a man and fell in love. Over time, this man became financially abusive. He gained access to her bank accounts, changed passwords and stole money.

When *Amanda realised what was happening and worked up the courage to confront him, he became physically abusive. In a final blow the man withdrew a large sum of money from her account and left the country.

This experience left *Amanda in a dark place. She tried to work as much as possible to pay off the debt but she couldnt get on top of it. Her mental health sprialled and she was left unable to work and suicidal.

*Amanda isnt alone in her financial struggles. By the age of 17, *Jasmine had lived with 14 different foster families. Just before her 18th birthday she left the system, couch surfed and then ended up living rough on the streets.

She had no money and suffered from complex mental health issues and drug addiction. There was no one in her life she could turn to for help. Eventually she overdosed, but thankfully lived to tell the tale.

*Amanda and *Jasmine are examples of many young women in Australia who are struggling financially and dealing with trauma. Ive heard stories like theirs countless times.

Previously I worked as a high school teacher and after that in womens charities. Id have girls and young women constantly pop into my office asking for financial help, whether it be about obtaining a tax file number or setting up a bank account. I quickly came to realise there was a gap in the market for young girls as they transitioned into adulthood.

Founder of Warrior Woman Foundation, Jessica Brown.


Research from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey has shown that women whose highest level of education was Year 12 or less have a financial literacy rate of 38.3 per cent while the rate for tertiary qualified women is 65.2 per cent.

So I decided to start a foundation to help young girls from the ages of 15-25 transition from out of home care into independent living, as well as young women who simply need a helping hand to gain independence. These women need a network of safe, stable, positive, female role models in their lives.

*Amanda and *Jasmine have gone on to do extraordinarily well. They received the help they needed and were able to get back on their feet. But change is needed if were going to help the next generation of women before they get to breaking point.

As a former teacher my experience has been that financial literacy is really only taught in subjects like commerce, business studies or economics. I believe that all students should be taught this in school, and it should be implemented into the school curriculum from an early age.

We need to make financial independence a priority for women, given that statistics show older, single women aged 55+ are becoming one of the fastest growing financially vulnerable groups in Australia.

Through the teaching of financial literacy to all students, we can also help prevent financial abuse by teaching vulnerable young women the skills and confidence to take control of their finances and see the early warning signs of abusers.

Many young women who find themselves in the situation of financial abuse are led to believe that they are not good with money, like in the case of *Amanda, and that they are not confident managing it and therefore shouldnt. By teaching financial literacy as soon as possible in a young womans life it can positively mould her relationship with money and more importantly, her belief in her ability to manage it.

Over the years in my line of work Ive learnt there are some key things women can do to help protect themselves from financial abuse. These are:

*Not their real name.

*Jessica Brown startedThe Warrior Woman Foundationto help young women gain financial independence. Theirgoal is for every Australian woman to achieve independence through financial wellbeing, and to increase the financial literacy rates of young women in Australia so that they have the confidence to take charge of earning and managing their own money, plan for future economic security, and protect themselves from financial abuse.

If you, or someone you know, needs assistance you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732

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How teens and young women are falling through the financial literacy gap - SBS

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Ottawa’s Dress for Success pivoted when the she-cession hit – Ottawa Citizen

Posted: at 12:55 pm

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Dress For Success was founded a decade ago to help women acquire a gently-used interview outfit to help them step into the job market.

Job seeking has changed since then, but the pandemic changed everything. While the 2008 financial crisis promoted a he-cession in fields such as manufacturing and construction, the pandemic has sparked a she-cession, disproportionately affecting women in low-earning fields such as food services and retail.

We heard from our clients that, aside from the economy and jobs, there were also the pressures of home care and schooling at home, said executive director Mary Tersigni-Paltrinieri, who was gearing up to celebrate the organizations 10th birthday in a virtual party last week.

Before the pandemic, Dress for Success program offerings were mostly face-to-face with only one virtual program. Within a month, all of the programs had shifted online. Clients were even selecting interview clothing online and picking it up curbside.

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Questions were veering away from the usual scope of job-seeking to queries about isolation and mental health support, so Dress for Success started to hold virtual weekly meet-ups, said Tersigni-Paltrinieri. Some clients had questions about how to access food banks or apply for CERB and other government supports. Theres now a resource guide for volunteers updated three times a week.

There was still a need to fulfill the organizations mandate of getting women prepared for work. Even though those who work at home joke about wearing pyjamas all day, many Dress for Success clients still work in face-to-face jobs, said Tersigni-Paltrinieri.

In the early days, about half of the donated stock of clothing at the Catherine Street boutique consisted of suits and dresses. Now the collection includes such items as work boots, work wear and gender-neutral clothing.

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Organizations like Dress for Success have always had to be responsive to social change. Established to help disadvantaged women seeking financial independence, programs now also embrace non-binary and gender non-conforming people who feel most comfortable in female-centred workspaces.

Some clients are looking to be appropriately dressed for an internship, a court appearance or a refugee board hearing. Others want to prepare for job interviews, develop a resume or take part in the annual full-day career conference, said Tersigni-Paltrinieri.

There are no time limits for how long you can be a client. It can be a day or a month or years.

Christine Bourgeois, now 32, graduated with a degree in music in 2012 and was working in the fitness industry to gain experience in the hopes of entering an MBA program when she was as wrongfully dismissed in 2015.

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Devastated about losing her job and still grappling with student debt, she took a course in Java through Employment Ontario, which pointed her in the direction of Dress For Success.

Bourgeois signed up for a workshop on resume-writing and did a speed-interviewing exercise with employers to get feedback on her interviewing performance.

One Dress for Success volunteer handed Bourgeois her own shoes to complete her interview outfit.

I was so touched. They were Michaels Kors, she said. Its more than clothing, it gives you confidence.

Bourgeois Java skills led to an internship, then a job at Ross Video, which lasted for two-and-a-half years until there was a round of layoffs. She now has a contract position in procurement at the Department of National Defence and an on-call job in protection services at the National Gallery of Canada.

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Bourgeois is aiming for a career in policing, still wants to do an MBA and volunteers at Dress For Success.

You career is a journey, not a destination, she said. Its amazing to have such incredible people help you.

Dress for Success, a registered charity, relies on its base of volunteers. Last year, it had 652 clients, but expects to exceed 1,000 this year as women head back into the workforce, said Tersigni-Paltrinieri. Programs are funded through donations, corporate partners and sponsors, foundation grants and fundraising.

While the organization looks forward to opening its doors again, there are benefits to offering virtual services, she said. Mothers of small children have reported that its good not to have to find a babysitter.

At the heart of everything we do is about providing women with confidence to take whatever is their next step.

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Ottawa's Dress for Success pivoted when the she-cession hit - Ottawa Citizen

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LV Prasad Eye Institute, global partners explore impact of vision care to achieve SDGs – BSI bureau

Posted: at 12:55 pm

The study has received funding support of 3.5 million from the Wellcome Trust and Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation

LV Prasad Eye Institute in collaboration with the Queen's University of Belfast, along with nearly 30 other partners from the US, the UK, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and India, is working on a suite of studies to explore the impact of vision care on the global level to achieve Sustainable Development Goals in low and middle-income countries. The study has received funding support of 3.5 million from the Wellcome Trust and Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation.

Led by Professor Nathan Congdon of Queens University Belfast (QUB) in the UK and Dr Rohit Khanna of the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), various universities, schools non-government organisations, public health bodies, government ministries, institutions and patient groups are part of the multi-disciplinary study team. From LVPEI, Senior Public Health Specialists Dr Srinivas Marmamula and Asha Latha Metla and Senior Retina Consultant - Dr Raja Narayanan are also part of the study.

The other collaborators from India include Dr Suvarna Alladi from NIMHANS at Bengaluru, Dr Pallab Maulik from The George Institute for Global Health India at New Delhi and ShashidharKomaravolu from the Alzheimers and Related Disorders Society of India, Hyderabad Deccan Chapter.

Termed as ENGINE (Eyecare Nurtures Good-health, Innovation, driving-safety and Education), it is a five-year project designed to leverage high-quality research results to drive lasting policy change and achieve an improved quality of life for people in low and middle-income countries. ENGINE comprises four research trials in India, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, to examine the impact of glasses on promoting better living, from childhood to old age, and the impact on multiple SDGs, says Dr Rohit Khanna, Director, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye care (GPR ICARE), LV Prasad Eye Institute.

The four research projects that are part of this study are:

CLEVER (Cognitive Level Enhancement through Vision Exams and Refraction) that supports the Indian governments strategy of finding scalable, low-cost means of preventing dementia. This project is built upon the work done in homes for the aged project funded by Wellcome Trust India Alliance.

STABLE (Slashing Two-wheeler Accidents By Leveraging Eyecare) that will assist local partners, including the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport, to combat Vietnams twin epidemics of uncorrected short-sightedness and motorcycle crashes in the young.

ZEAL (Zimbabwe Eyecare and Learning) will work with local partners who currently implement the Zimbabwe governments national school vision project to explore how targeting long-sighted children with the novel, low-cost screening can add to the academic impact of the programme.

THRIFT (Transforming Households with Refraction and Innovative Financial Technology) that will capitalise on the Bangladesh governments novel and forward-looking plan to digitise all social safety net payments to the elderly by providing free glasses and training to help them better cope with unfamiliar smartphones, thus improving financial independence.

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The G7 must place women at the heart of build back better agenda – Thomson Reuters Foundation

Posted: at 12:55 pm

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

By Bogolo Kenewendo, an economist, a member of the UKs Gender Equality Advisory Council, the formerMinister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana and the managing director of Kenewendo Advisory, an economic advisory firm based in Botswana

There is an African saying: empower a woman and empower a community.

As the G7 leaders meet in Cornwall, the acknowledgement of this simple truth has never been more vital.

The UN estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic has dumped 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line. Women are particularly vulnerable to the pandemics impact because they tend to work and run businesses in the informal economy where there is no state-provided safety net of any sort.

This disproportional impact extends to access to capital. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of businesses are owned by women but only 20% of that number have access to institutional finance. Thats a funding gap of $42 billion. As risk averse private financial institutions retrench in the wake of the pandemic, this situation is getting significantly worse, causing what could be termed a she-cession.

In order to lessen the impact of the pandemic and potential of economic scarring, governments have to employ transformative economic recovery plans that focuses on inclusion through building womens economic agency. This is where gender-lens investing comes in. In simple terms, gender-lens investing is about deploying capital in people and companies with the specific goal of supporting women.

Gender lens investing wont only assist in reaching the UNs Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality, but is also a catalyst for achieving all of the other SDGs. The economic, business, as well as the social case, for investing in women is obvious. Among many different metrics which support this argument is a recent study by McKinsey estimated that if women's economic participation rates were the same as men it would be worth an additional $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025. By anyones standards, these numbers are huge and underline the scale of both the problem and the opportunity to invest in women.

The 2X Challenge, founded by the development finance institutions of the G7 nations to increase investment in women, has a set of qualifying criteria for investments which serve as a very useful guide for what this means in practice.

There are hundreds of examples of businesses that have benefited from gender lens investment. PEG Africa, a solar power company providing home systems to customers in West Africa has received $12.5 million of 2X investment from the UKs CDC Group. As a result, the company has doubled the number of women in leadership positions from 22% to 44%.

The success of the 2X Challenge, which is set to raise a further $15 billion over the next two years for investing in women in the developing world, is very welcome. And that success underlines the vital importance of development finance institutions, such as DFC in the US and CDC Group in the UK, in encouraging global private financial institutions to adopt gender lens criteria.

As a member of the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC),set up by the UK government to look at how we support women as part of the build back better agenda, we will be pressing the G7 leaders to place women and gender equity at the heart of plans to build back better. They have an opportunity an opportunity to provide leadership in building inclusive economies that prioritise women and their children.

The G7 can play a key role in providing access to capital and labour markets for women. This is a crucial component of economic empowerment, and central to womens financial independence globally. Women more often face barriers to securing finance, insurance and business ownership, thereby hindering entrepreneurship.

We need to encourage financial stakeholders to leverage the power of capital markets and movements of resources to steer responsible business conduct and foster inclusive corporate cultures.

Job creation initiatives should be pivoted to increase support for women-led industries and policies tailored to support women-owned micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs).

We require existing and new Aid for Trade initiatives to include the tools for crafting gender-responsive trade policies, to support women in programmes that foster trade and economic empowerment and to work directly with women-owned businesses in developing countries.

The stakes could not be higher, nor the opportunity greater.

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The G7 must place women at the heart of build back better agenda - Thomson Reuters Foundation

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Digital Guardian’s Susan Walker Named a Boston Business Journal 2021 CFO of the Year – Business Wire

Posted: at 12:54 pm

WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Digital Guardian, a leader in data loss prevention (DLP) and managed detection and response (MDR), today announced that the Boston Business Journal (BBJ) has named its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Susan Walker, 2021 CFO of the Year in the Midsize Private Companies category.

Honoring the best in local finance, the BBJs CFO of the Year Awards program recognizes 10 chief financial officers whose work and commitment has helped make a difference in their companies, organizations, and communities. This years awards, like last years, are especially meaningful as these business executives have helped steer their organizations through the coronavirus pandemic and unprecedented financial challenges.

Since joining Digital Guardian in 2019, Walker has transformed the companys financial infrastructure, including helping to migrate its customer base from perpetual licensing to a SaaS subscription model. In addition, she was instrumental in guiding the companys smooth transition to remote work, and in streamlining reporting and other critical business processes. Notably, Walker also helped develop an innovative mid-market program that delivers prescriptive data protection to a historically underserved customer base. Launched in April, the industrys first DLP-as-a-service solution for mid-market enterprises has already generated a robust slate of closed deals and a growing revenue pipeline.

Accomplished and accountable, Susan combines financial creativity with fiscal rigor to help drive corporate and customer success, said Mordecai (Mo) Rosen, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Guardian. During the early days of the pandemic, she spearheaded a COVID-19-adjusted corporate plan that prioritized financial independence to help preserve both cash and jobs. Her vision and leadership propelled Digital Guardian to record employee retention and to one of the best years in company history. Along with everyone else at Digital Guardian, I am thrilled she is being recognized with this prestigious and well-deserved honor.

Charged with leading Digital Guardians HR department and fostering its corporate culture, Walker has helped boost employee retention to an all-time high. As a result, the company has earned impressive accolades, including being named a Top Place to Work in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe and a Top Place to Work in the USA by Energage.

I am excited to celebrate my two-year anniversary at Digital Guardian with this wonderful honor, said Walker. The recognition reflects the collective efforts of an incredible leadership team that has positioned Digital Guardian as the leading provider companies go to for protecting their critical data and IP from the endpoint to the cloud. As we transition to the post- COVID-19 era, I am energized to continue collaborating with Mo and the executive team in helping Digital Guardian reach even higher heights in 2021 and beyond.

We are thrilled to celebrate our 13th year of honoring local CFOs and their accomplishments, said BBJ Market President and Publisher Carolyn M. Jones. Strong financial stewardship and strategic leadership have never been as important as the past year and a half, and we look forward to honoring and recognizing the importance of the role of the CFO.

The 2021 BBJ CFO of the Year Awards program will be held virtually on Wednesday, July 14. For more information, including event registration and the complete list of winners, please visit: https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/event/166534/2021/cfo-of-the-year-virtual-event.

About Digital Guardian

Digital Guardian is no-compromise data protection. The companys cloud-delivered data protection platform is purpose-built to stop data loss by both insiders and outsiders on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. The Digital Guardian Data Protection Platform performs across the corporate network, traditional endpoints, and cloud applications. For more than 15 years, we have enabled data-rich organizations to protect their most valuable assets with a choice of SaaS or fully managed deployment. Digital Guardians unique policy-less data visibility and flexible controls enable organizations to protect data without slowing the pace of their business. To learn more please visit: https://digitalguardian.com/.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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