BS
Bekah Stallworth
2 days ago

I’m Planning on Saving Over $230,000 in My Lifetime—By Not Having Kids

money
women
In my early twenties, I had a realization that would undoubtedly shape the rest of my life: I didn’t want children.
 
I had always admired the mothers I saw hauling their children’s strollers up and down subway stairs, but I’d simultaneously wondered, Is it worth it?

Is the price of motherhood—financially, physi...
In my early twenties, I had a realization that would undoubtedly shape the rest of my life: I didn’t want children.
 
I had always admired the mothers I saw hauling their children’s strollers up and down subway stairs, but I’d simultaneously wondered, Is it worth it?

Is the price of motherhood—financially, physically, emotionally—really eclipsed by the sheer joy it supposedly creates? I chalked my initial hesitancy up to my age and lack of maternal instincts.

But it wasn’t instincts I was missing—it was desire. I’m turning 30 this year, and my list of reasons why I don’t want to procreate has grown. At the top of that list is money.
 

Kids are really F-ing expensive.

A 2014 USDA report estimated that the national average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 17 was $233,610, not including college (#America). That number more than doubles if you live in New York. And realistically, child-related expenses don’t disappear as soon as your teenager turns 18, either.
 
Those statistics are based on middle-class households with two incomes. Yet, the average millennial probably can’t imagine comfortably parting with over $7,000 of their yearly salaries. Between the price of education, activities, and basic necessities, it’s no surprise we’re waiting longer to have children, if at all.
 

Avoiding the motherhood penalty.

For the first time, women over the age of 30 are having more babies than women in their early twenties. The primary reasons for holding off: education and careers.
 
Not only do we fear that putting our professions on hold will risk growth opportunities, but because of the wage gap, we feel the burden of student loans more strongly than men. On average, it takes two additional years for women to pay off student debt.

There’s also the “motherhood penalty.” Research proves that women with children earn anywhere from nine to 20 percent less than childless women, even when the number of hours worked is equal.
 
In spite of legal boundaries, mothers are repeatedly overlooked for promotions and raises because of maternity leave. To make matters worse, paid parental leave isn’t mandated in the States, and childbirth here is more expensive than in any other country in the world. To top it all off, after the child is born, childcare is unsubsidized.

There’s a child-free butterfly effect.

Regardless of what the decision is rooted in, electing to live a childless life has instantaneous and residual ripple effects on your life.
 
For example, when my partner and I were house hunting last year, our realtor remarked that not having to be consciences of school districts made it easier to work within our budget. 
 
I also don’t feel tension in terms of my career trajectory. Mothers have to consider how a new job or career shift would impact their families. But if I decide to change career paths or go back to school, I won’t have to worry about how it could affect saving for my kid’s education.
 

Feeling free to be “selfish.”

Discretionary income is a major advantage of planning for a childless future. But I’m also looking forward to having more time and energy to spend on my soon-to-be husband. 
 
Without kids, we’ll have roughly $14,000 more a year at our disposal. With that money, we can take weekend trips and long vacations, make upgrades to our home and pay off our mortgage sooner, and can spare no expense for our dogs (*happy woof*). We can invest in our futures, and each other, more freely. 

There are downsides, of course. Since we won’t have children to look after us when we’re older, we’ll have to be especially diligent about planning for retirement and making sure we have life and long-term care insurance, but those are small prices to pay in the bigger scheme of things.
EP
Erin Papworth
4 days ago

5 Tips for Couples to Save Money to Travel

Reposted from The Keys to Travel

At Nav.it we have a saying: True wealth is experiential. See, we believe that at the end of our lives we are the sum of our experiences, not our bank accounts. And that’s why we like to talk abo...
Reposted from The Keys to Travel

At Nav.it we have a saying: True wealth is experiential. See, we believe that at the end of our lives we are the sum of our experiences, not our bank accounts. And that’s why we like to talk about money. Because money gives us a chance to do all those things we want to do –like travel in SE Asia for a month! — carefree and confident. When you understand how the financial system works, you understand how you can save for travel, how you can use rewards credit cards wisely to get you that free flight or upgrade, and you can know how and when you want to save or splurge as you explore the world. 

As a couple, travel is an exciting experience as it gives you and your partner a moment to learn about new places and people in the world together. It gives you a moment to get out of the routine of daily life and find a new perspective on those petty fights (who’s turn is it to take out the recycling?!). And as a team, it gives you a chance to plan, save money, and spend wisely with the goal of creating amazing memories that last you throughout your lives. So, without further ado, here are the top 5 ways to save money as a couple to travel.

1. Save a little towards travel every month.

Even if you don’t have a destination in mind quite yet, if travel is a priority in your relationship, set aside an allotted amount every month that can be used when you want to pick up and go camping for the weekend or when you decide Bali is in your near future. This ensures you’re not getting sucked into credit card debt to achieve the lifestyle goals you both want, and it gives you something to plan for and bond over as a couple.

2. Download the Nav.it app to track your goals.

On the Nav.it app you can connect your accounts and set up a savings goal for travel or any other financial goal. You can break it down to daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly amounts you want to save. The more you hit those daily/weekly/monthly goals the more confident you become at your ability to achieve the total savings goal. As a couple, it can be very bonding to work towards and achieve a goal together. Both couples can download the app, connect the same account, and track your success towards the goal.

3. Be kind to yourself.

Seeing digestible savings amounts helps in keeping you on track towards a goal, but also, life happens. Don’t be hard on yourself (or your partner!) if you didn’t quite reach your goal one month; the point is to keep moving towards it and doing the best you can. If one month is harder than another for your partner, showing empathy and the ability to support him or her without placing blame or getting angry will go far to build trust and not derail you as a couple from achieving your overall goal of saving for travel. 

4. Review your progress of saving money for travel.

Savings towards something as exciting as travel is an awesome opportunity for open communication and review of your financial goals as a couple.  Date night, fun night. Set up a monthly date night (your time to splurge on your partner!) where you review the status of your travel goals, how you did that month, and what expenses you foresee next month.   

This gives you an opportunity to plan for events at home (a favorite concert next month?) and when you travel. It also gives you a chance to think about your spending. Do you really need HBO and Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions? Can you both stand to only eat out once a week and once on the weekend? When you create a plan, you have a common goal that is known to be bonding for a couple and increases your ability to survive more complicated situations when they arise (enter kids, loss of a job, and retirement planning). The most important thing is that you act as a team, helping each other to reach a mutually agreed upon goal. If you can do that together, you can do anything. 

5. Map your top five destinations and open rewards travel credit cards to help you save.

Airlines and hotels often have credit cards that give you bonus reward points (60,000 miles Amex Delta!) when you open them. That’s at least one, if not two, domestic U.S. flights right there. The key to managing rewards travel is to spend only what you can afford and always pay off the total amount on your credit cards monthly. If you carry a balance, the credit card company keeps gaining on the interest, and you can’t save as much in the long run. That means less money for you to save towards travel. If you really want to go deep into reward travel, Nav.it partners with travel reward expert Jet Set Lisette, who coaches people about how to maximize reward travel.  This is not for the unorganized, but it’s a great way to use the monthly spending you would spend anyway to get perks when you travel. 

*Note: a lot of the credit cards require you to hit a certain spending amount in the first month(s) you open the card, so make sure you can do that responsibly and get the bonus! 

#bonus: If either of you travel for work and you can swing it, make sure you maximize all the rewards points you can either on the airline you travel the most or hotel /rental car chains. 

Overall, saving for travel is all about prioritization and communication.  If you can achieve your travel lifestyle goals as a couple you will be able to navigate all the other issues that arise in couplehood!  Thus, go forth, save and travel!

VC
Vanessa Charlot
11 days ago

5 Financial Gurus You Should Be Following

personal finance
women
I saw a meme the other day that said, “Being afraid to check your bank account is the adult version of being afraid to check your grades.” I found this particularly hilarious because I’ve unfortunately found myself in both predicaments (more times than I’d like to admit). 

We Millennials and Gen Xers spend much of our idle time on social me...
I saw a meme the other day that said, “Being afraid to check your bank account is the adult version of being afraid to check your grades.” I found this particularly hilarious because I’ve unfortunately found myself in both predicaments (more times than I’d like to admit). 

We Millennials and Gen Xers spend much of our idle time on social media. So while scrolling through the myriad DIY projects, plant-based recipes, and travel photography on your screens, sprinkle a little financial inspo into the mix.

Not only might you stop avoiding your bank account, you could actually learn something from some badass, self-made women and start making money moves yourself. 
 

Stefanie O’Connell

Instagram: @stefanieoconnel
In true Nav.it fashion, this millennial money expert is all about finding freedom through your finances. She is also the author of The Broke and Beautiful Life: Small Town Budget, Big City Dreams, a sink-or-swim, witty take on her experience with unemployment and learning how to effectively manage money.
 

Jean Chatzky

Instagram: @jeanchatzky
Twitter: @JeanChatzky
Financial Editor of NBC‘s TODAY Show and host of #HerMoneyPodcast, Jean shares comprehensive financial tips for everyone from the top investment bankers to the recent college grads trying to nav. their freshly earned college loans. 
 

Farnoosh Torabi

Instagram: @farnooshtorabi
Twitter: @FARNOOSH
Money strategist, author of When She Makes More, and host of So Money podcast, Farnoosh and her guests don’t shy away from sharing their own financial struggles and failures for our benefit. She touches on a variety of topics ranging from money and business to career issues. 
 

Jamila Souffrant

Instagram: @journeytolaunch
If you’re interested in retiring by 40 but don’t know how, Jamila is your girl. Creator of Journey To Launch blog and podcast, Jamila is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI). Check her out for budgeting tips and all things personal finance. 
 

Nicole Lapin

Instagram: @nicolelapin
Twitter:@NicoleLapin

Nicole LapinFinancial journalist and author of Rich Bitch Nicole has taken all of the information she learned (hard-knock style) and lain it out in simple and actionable tips, advice, and how-tos. 

Just remember, Nav.igators: If you can get your exercise tips, recipes, and travel recommendations from social media—why not get some financial planning advice while you’re at it?


AB
Alma Bahman
11 days ago

Roll On Over to the Debt Snowball Method

adulting
debt
Paying down debt seems straightforward: you borrow, you pay back, you don’t owe anymore. Ha! If only it were that simple. The truth is, it’s all too easy to get behind in payments and watch the total amount you owe grow exponentially due to that pesky thing called interest. 

The proof?
Paying down debt seems straightforward: you borrow, you pay back, you don’t owe anymore. Ha! If only it were that simple. The truth is, it’s all too easy to get behind in payments and watch the total amount you owe grow exponentially due to that pesky thing called interest. 

The proof? The average American household owes $137,063 in debt (including mortgages). But fear not, Nav.igators: Having debt doesn’t mean a life sentence of eating only ramen and living in your mom’s basement. (Just take it from our friend, Whitney, who paid off her debt and celebrated in Hawaii.)

The snowball method will help you chip away at your debt little by little, building your financial momentum from a handful of flakes into a big beautiful snowman of fiscal responsibility. 

It’s less about the money and more about your mindset.

You might have heard of this debt-reduction technique from a guy named Dave Ramsey, a multi-hyphenate entrepreneur and author of several financial advice books (NBD). He’s made debt snowballing a cornerstone of his business helping people get out of debt. 

According to Ramsey, the true value in this method is the effect it has on your morale. “It’s designed to modify behavior,” Ramsey says. “It lights your fire. Once you get a few quick wins under your belt, you’ve got momentum!”

The process goes like this: Pay off your debts one at a time, from smallest to largest dollar amount, regardless of interest rate. After you eliminate the smallest debt, you apply the same amount of money you were putting toward that debt to the next highest one, and so forth. 

The more money you can put toward your payments, the quicker it goes. Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, you’ll build debt-busting momentum the faster you move.

Keep the ball rolling.

Debt snowballing is all about motivation, and while you might think that’s a little hippie woo-woo for you, it’s actually been scientifically proven to work. 

A 2016 study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that focusing on one debt at a time (instead of paying down multiple debts simultaneously) was more motivating to debtors, especially when they paid off small debts in quick succession (a.k.a. “snowballed”).

All you type-A’s who get exhilarated by checking items off your to-do list know exactly what this feeling is like. It’s all about the little victories.  

Is the snowball right for you right now?

Debt snowballing will work, but just like anything else with finance, it really depends on your current situation. “Some people eliminate debt faster than others, but everyone who sticks with it will get rid of debt,” Ramsey says.

Debt snowballing is just one of many strategies for paying off debt. So, it’s totally worth asking yourself if plowing through your debt is the best strategy for you. Are you more concerned with paying the least amount of interest possible? Or are you more concerned with building up savings first?

Answer that question and you’ll be on your way to strategizing your debt escape plan.


NN
Nicole Negron
17 days ago

At-home Testing that Won’t Break the Bank

health and wellness
women
"High-deductible plans are really the epitome of the access-to-care problem. People don't have the liquid cash to meet their deductible, so you see delays in care or even avoiding treatment altogether." -Dr. Veena Shankaran, ...
"High-deductible plans are really the epitome of the access-to-care problem. People don't have the liquid cash to meet their deductible, so you see delays in care or even avoiding treatment altogether." -Dr. Veena Shankaran, Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
 
Raise your hand if you’re coming up on your yearly visit to your GYN’s office to check if your HPV is still present? Maybe you're about to embark on a sexual relationship with a new partner and you want to be uber responsible and get checked, but you want to avoid answering uncomfortable questions from your doctor about your sexual history.

Or perhaps  you suspect something’s up with your hormones and want to get a hormone panel but realize it can cost anywhere between $800 and $1,500 dollars, and you have a $3,000 deductible to meet. 

There are many barriers preventing women from taking care of their health needs. Thankfully, there’s incredible innovation taking place in women’s health care that is making it easier for women to engage in their health and save money! 

At-home testing

Home testing can come with incredible financial advantages. Some tests such as Eve Kit’s HPV testing cost $89. NURX Full Control STI Kit, tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Hepatitis C and Urine test, throat swab, rectal swab, blood spot card, and costs $75 with insurance or $220 out of pocket. 

One of my favorite self-monitoring tools that I highly recommend for my clients, is  Modern Fertility . Since I often work with clients that struggle with their menstrual cycles, this test helps provide a baseline for where they are. Modern fertility tests for, estradiol, thyroid TSH, testosterone and more, and cost only $159. 

Discuss with you doc

With health care costs predicted to continue rising, I encourage women to be empowered and knowledgeable about what’s going on in their bodies, and take their health into their own hands. However, as you embark on the world of self testing, be sure to partner with a doctor who’s trained in the intricacies of your needs. 

Manipulating your test results should not be a project you do with Google. It’s critical to team up with a doctor or a functional practitioner, such as myself, to help make sense of your home-test results and lead you in the right direction. 

Save money on tests, partner on plan

The moral of the story is, don’t turn your body into a DIY project. Google is great but when interpreting results such as cortisol--which measures your adrenal performance and stress--make sure to partner with a specialist before you start going down the road of panic or creating a treatment plan by yourself that is above your paygrade (binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t make you an expert). 

Testing is a critical step in understanding your reproductive, sexual and general health. This is a perfect starting point for those who want to take a first step in assessing their own health status before turning to more expensive alternatives.


KL
Kari Lorz
19 days ago

How to Handle Finances in a Relationship

money
relationships
Money can be such a dirty word.

Get this: Money is the second leading cause of divorce in the US (behind infidelity). Many sites have articles, surveys, and polls that list out startling stats that are enough to make you cry (and steer clear of commitment like it’s your full-time job). Most cite high amounts of debt and lack of communication (th...
Money can be such a dirty word.

Get this: Money is the second leading cause of divorce in the US (behind infidelity). Many sites have articles, surveys, and polls that list out startling stats that are enough to make you cry (and steer clear of commitment like it’s your full-time job). Most cite high amounts of debt and lack of communication (this doesn’t surprise us!) about money as being the drivers behind the sinking ship. 

The American Psychology Association says 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce (and there is some wiggle room due to permanent separation while remaining married). 

Now you may not be married right now, but your future may include formal vows (let’s leave out the “obey” part, please and thank you). So let’s put on our practice pants and get to work now on being a team player when it comes to money!

Here are four tips for how to handle finances in a relationship when it comes to both earning and spending money.

Ask for help.

Now for some of you, this may not be so simple, but no one ever got anywhere when they went 100 percent solo (except maybe a good hike). Everyone needs someone to bounce ideas off of, a different perspective, or just a “good game” butt slap. Hey, you appreciate someone’s help when they see something that you don’t, right? (Hint: your fly is down.)

So when you’re stumped on your budget (make one in five easy steps) or need to think of a plan to raise extra funds to fix your car’s grinding noises, ask your partner for help. Ask and be prepared to listen. Then say thank you.

Think about it, when someone asks you for sincere help, you feel pretty good about yourself and your relationship. This simple tactic can be used for so many things, and definitely something you should become comfortable with.

Share your goals.

Some days it feels like just putting on pants and leaving your apartment is a good goal. But with you partner, share your goals of what you want your future to look like. 
You want to own your own home? Share it! Do you want to own a 1970 Ford Mustang with a Boss 302? Hey, maybe your significant other has an uncle that works at a car shop that works explicitly on old ‘70s muscle cars. BUT you wouldn’t know that unless you share, right?

Now, your goals may not have anything to do with saving money, but I’m pretty sure you will need money to reach some of them. Maybe you find out that you both want to go on a vacation to Bora Bora? Say hello to a joint travel vacation savings account. I highly recommend a high interest online savings account with 1.9% APY. That’s 20x higher than the national average.

Sharing your goals still means that you need to be smart with your money. So go ahead print out that picture of that bungalow over the water, bust out your crayons and make a money thermometer (you know, like the fundraiser type thing from grade school). You can also go the digital route if you’re not into arts and crafts. 

 Post your goal on your fridge and get to saving.

Talk about it.

So from the other tips you may have noticed a trend… TALKING about money. If you didn’t get that hint, go back and reread it. I’ll wait. You back? Cool. Let’s continue.

When you don’t talk about something in plain sight, then it gets somewhat awkward. Only when you start communicating and doing it often do things get easier.

Traditionally (aka our parent’s generation), talking about money wasn’t a polite topic of conversation. Maybe you grew up in a household where money was a sore spot?

We are not ostriches. We can’t stick our head in the ground and ignore money issues… because they don’t ever go away without action. If you’re having anxiety about it, and that’s completely normal, try some of these ways to alleviate it before diving into conversation.

Yes, it may be weird in the beginning, but it will get easier, just as everything does with practice.

Do a money challenge.

These can be a lot of fun if done correctly. It is fun to have a goal, potentially a goal that maybe you think you can’t achieve. But then it gets turned into a game…and guess who shows up with a full tummy of Wheaties? YOU!

Here are a few:
  1.  Do a No Spend Month
  2.  Cash only envelope challenge
  3.  Eat just what is in your pantry
  4.  Save all the $5 bills that you get
  5.  Cut 50 percent of your subscriptions (you won’t notice, trust me)
  6.  Try the 52 Week Savings Challenge

Keep it lighthearted. No one likes a sore loser (or a lousy winner). In fact, you don’t even need to have a winner, set it up as a team challenge! You are just starting to learn how to handle finances in a relationship (it’s a marathon, not a sprint).

Whatever you decide to do to help you and your honey get better at this thing called money management, know that nothing is set in stone. If one thing doesn’t work after some decent effort and time, then try something different. Just keep trying. 

If you need 1:1 help for your finances, apply to come work with Whitney Hansen for financial coaching


MG
Moon Travel Guides
23 days ago

Travel and Safety Tips for Hiking the Camino de Santiago

travel
women
There’s something empowering about traveling alone as a woman. Embarking on a sacred pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago gives you the rare opportunity for solitude and self-reflection. 

Taking travelers through mountains, river valleys, and vineyards to Santiago de Compostela and onward to the rugged shores of the Atlantic, the Camino i...
There’s something empowering about traveling alone as a woman. Embarking on a sacred pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago gives you the rare opportunity for solitude and self-reflection. 

Taking travelers through mountains, river valleys, and vineyards to Santiago de Compostela and onward to the rugged shores of the Atlantic, the Camino is therapeutic for both mind and body.

The prospect of trekking alone can be daunting, so here are some tips to prepare you for your adventure—whether you’re hiking the Camino or trying another famous trail.


Plan ahead.

Ask yourself some key questions: Do you want a physical challenge or an easier walk? Seeking solitude or camaraderie? Want to marvel at world-famous churches or taste world-class wines? Study a guidebook (like this Camino de Santiago guide from Moon Travel) to get a feel for the area and uncover practical tips. 

Taking a spur of the moment trip may be fun (or a necessary self-care escape), but reserving lodging in advance can help you avoid racing for a bed at the end of a long day! It’s also a good idea if you’d like to stay in state-run paradors in León (Parador San Marcos) and Santiago de Compostela (Hostal de los Reyes Católicos) or other one-of-a-kind accommodations.

And make sure you’ve saved up enough funds for the trip so that you’re not low on cash while in unfamiliar spaces (always expect the unexpected, are we right?). It’s as easy as setting aside a little bit every time you get paid.


Find a supportive network.

Just because you crave a solo trip doesn’t mean you have to go through it completely alone. Resources like Travelletes, Wanderful and Pink Pangea can connect you to female travelers all over the world who are happy to answer questions about safety, local traditions, and everything in between. 

Keep an eye out for destination-specific sites like Camigas, an all-women’s network of female pilgrims, or the Camino Forum. You may also find other solo female travelers hiking the Camino (or other magical treks) to meet up with along the trail. (Pro-tip: There’s also a community tab in the Nav.it app where you can ask questions that fellow Nav.igators will answer!)


Understand the culture.

Learn about the local culture before you travel. The Spanish, and the Camino culture in particular, are open-minded and tolerant, so people of color will likely feel welcomed, but may notice that locals tend to make reference to physical attributes like skin color. (This isn’t surprising, people of color experience this often.)

While no harm is meant by this, it can be disconcerting for the unprepared traveler. Resources like the Camino Forum are a good resource for firsthand accounts of trekking as a person of color.

LGBTQ+ travelers can also travel safely and openly while hiking the Camino, as Spain is a gay-friendly country. But no matter your orientation, be aware that the Spanish don’t show much affection in public. 


Despite the religious and spiritual nature of the Camino, secular pilgrims are numerous and are very welcome on the road. Even if you’re not participating for religious reasons, be respectful of the religious pilgrims you meet: note when churches are holding mass to plan your visits accordingly and dress appropriately.

Know your numbers.

Emergency protocols can be completely different abroad. Look up emergency numbers for the destination and keep them handy.

Harassment—verbal or otherwise—along the Camino is rare, and local authorities take reported incidents seriously. 112 is the general emergency number in Spain (and throughout much of the EU). Go directly to the local police if needed. Additionally, police have a non-emergency hotline for visitors—902-102-112—with operators speaking several languages, including English. 


Keep in touch.

Embarking on a bucket list pilgrimage, tackling the Inca Trail, or tramping across New Zealand can be transformative, but it can also leave you homesick. Whether you’re missing your friends and family or having the time of your life, schedule time for calls or FaceTime sessions.

Assign someone you trust at home to be your designated “travel buddy” and give them your full itinerary, updating them on any changes so they can locate you if necessary. 

Finally, enjoy the experience and never let fear deter you from making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.




LG
Lauren Green
27 days ago

What it's Like to be Black in China

woman of color
china
I once asked a fellow expat (a white colleague of mine), why he chose the Ukraine for his study abroad. He told me that he wanted to go somewhere he could blend in.

I’ve never had that luxury.

Black girls know that no matter where they go, they are, in fact, a minority, and have to bear the unshakeable burdens that come with it.

If you go to any mon...
I once asked a fellow expat (a white colleague of mine), why he chose the Ukraine for his study abroad. He told me that he wanted to go somewhere he could blend in.

I’ve never had that luxury.

Black girls know that no matter where they go, they are, in fact, a minority, and have to bear the unshakeable burdens that come with it.

If you go to any mono-ethnic country, it’s possible that you’re the first black person a local has ever met.

Oh, and if you go to Africa, you’re still different. So how come so many blacks visiting China are shocked at the blatant ignorance?

There’s nowhere to hide.

Living as an African American means that you will be an outsider almost everywhere. For a lot of us, it’s why we travel in the first place.

After years of watching black bodies shot down on T.V., I had my reasons to leave. So I picked China.

As a recent graduate and language enthusiast, this is where I wanted to perfect my Mandarin.

Studying abroad in Beijing gave me an idea of what kind of behavior to expect from the monocultural Middle Kingdom where 92 percent of the population is of the same Han Chinese ethnic group.

But my first week there, a friend and I quickly learned that we drew less attention (and cameras) if we walked separately. She had pale skin with fiery red hair, and me, well—I’m black.

The two of us could stop traffic.

Patience, patience, patience.

Years later, I was sent to a much less developed area. Chongqing, though China’s largest municipality, still has massive rural land with people who hang-dry their clothes in the mountains.

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into—and I loved it.

But my patience started wearing thin pretty quickly. Every taxi ride was the same conversation: “Why are you black?” or “How is Africa?”

Eventually the days came when I pretended I couldn’t hear, or flipped the bird to those poor souls who stared too long.

I caught myself fighting my own prejudices, reducing the local people to poor, uneducated, and ignorant.

The novelty does, in fact, wear off.

The truth is, I really was the first black person my entire neighborhood had ever seen. Every morning on my way to work, people would stop what they were doing and stare with mouths wide open.

But eventually, they started waving and smiling.

The next thing I knew, neighborhood parties were being thrown in my honor just because I was a foreigner. I became a cherished part of their community.

You’re a trailblazer, remember?

Many visitors forget that China is a country where the lives of 1.4 billion people are closely restricted. This is an ideology breeding ground where children grow up only seeing people that look like them.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t get a slap on the wrist, though. If you saw that racist laundry detergent ad, you’re probably ready to fight like 2015 me.

We should, however, make a collective effort to understand the type of ignorance we send ourselves to when we board certain flights. It is a natural undertaking as pioneers of globalization.

Racism is everywhere, but it has never stopped me from traveling or putting myself in uncomfortable situations.

As black women, we’ve unfortunately been bestowed the responsibility to educate because we are, in fact, the most educated group of Americans.

So if you find yourself being the first black person a Chinese person has ever met, tell them how lucky they are.    
BB
Beverly Bird
about 1 month ago

How My Emergency Fund Saved My A$$

money
emergency fund
I was living the dream, freelancing for a living and making a living. Writing all night, sleeping until noon, and checking my bank balance once a week or as compensation for all my labors spilled in.  

Saving was something for people who expected bad things to happen to them. Not me. I was on top of the world…until the company I wa...
I was living the dream, freelancing for a living and making a living. Writing all night, sleeping until noon, and checking my bank balance once a week or as compensation for all my labors spilled in.  

Saving was something for people who expected bad things to happen to them. Not me. I was on top of the world…until the company I was giving most of my time to shuddered and drew its last breath. I had $16 in my bank account the day I got the news. My rent was due in 13 days, and I didn’t have even hint of work on the horizon. 

I survived, but it wasn’t pretty. And I learned my lesson. Life doesn’t give you a warning before it decides to kick you where it hurts, so you better have your pads on, always. 

It’s not just about losing your job. 

When you think “financial crisis,” job loss is probably the first thing to come to mind, but I had a steady, secure stream of income the second time I hit the wall. I got slammed with an unexpected bill in the neighborhood of $2,300…which, coincidentally, was close to the balance in my checking account.

Since I’d lost my job two years later, I had a stash of cash set aside that time around. But I had to figure that out the hard way.

Think about it: Could you cover the cost of your car breaking down or a trip to the emergency room with your current savings? If not, you need an emergency fund.

What if you’re already broke? 

If every blessed dime of your paycheck already has a place to go before you earn it, tucking 20 percent aside to pay for an emergency can be a real stretch. So start with five percent, or even two. But start, because—trust me on this one—you won’t like counting Ramen noodles. 

Dump your spare change into a jar every night, or maybe even the one-dollar bills you have in your purse. Cart the money off to the bank at the end of the week. If that feels too out of the Stone Age, consider one of the many saving apps out there—Acorns invests your spare change for you automatically. (Psst! Coming soon, Nav.it will stash that cash for you too.)

If all else fails, free up some money from other areas of spending. Dedicate yourself to cooking one night a week instead of going out or ordering in. Skip the Starbucks. In my case, I toughed it out until Friday if I ran out of wine in the middle of the week rather than purchase another bottle right away. Also, side gigs to raise some cash are not to be overlooked. 

How much do you need? 

Lofty experts suggest that you have six to eight months’ living expenses set aside. More reasonable sources suggest three to six months, but a 2018 survey by Bankrate indicated that only 29 percent of adults have that much set aside in savings. About 25 percent of millennials said they had no savings at all (eek!). Let’s face it, even a month’s savings can be better than nothing at all. 

Where’s the safest place for your stash?

When it comes to an emergency fund, you might want to avoid the convenience of saving at your regular bank. It’s too easy to dip into the money if you’re reminded it’s there every time you go online. And don’t apply for a debit card for the account. 

At the same time, you want that money accessible so you can grab it if (and when) disaster strikes. Look for a high-yield savings account at another financial institution—the interest will help beef up your accumulated balance. 

Speaking of interest, you might want to shy away from certificates of deposit (CDs). The fixed interest rate is clutch, but you’ll lose at least a portion of your interest if emergency strikes and you have to take the money before the prescribed period of time has passed. 
JA
Jordan Adler
about 1 month ago

What's in a Decade? Women Offer Words of Wisdom to their Younger Selves

feminism
inspiration
One of the most important parts of growing into our lives as women is the ability to learn from our own past, as well as from the strong, independent, female forces around us.

When I was about 18 years old, my mother gave me a piece of advice that I’ve always remembered. She said simply, “Do everything you do with dignity, and you won’t...
One of the most important parts of growing into our lives as women is the ability to learn from our own past, as well as from the strong, independent, female forces around us.

When I was about 18 years old, my mother gave me a piece of advice that I’ve always remembered. She said simply, “Do everything you do with dignity, and you won’t have many regrets.” Though I certainly have not lived up to this sentiment all the time, and certainly have regrets, it always stuck with me. 

Though I may not have incorporated my mother’s advice when I was younger (“dignity” constantly lost to “one last round of Jameson shots" at 3 a.m.) now, as a 30-year-old-woman, my mom’s passing comment holds weight in my everyday life. 

Sometimes the best way to grow up is to *I can’t believe I’m saying this* listen to your mother. And if it’s not your mother, never underestimate how many other amazing women are around you, brimming with life lessons and acquired wisdom to impart on anyone ready to ask.

So I did. I asked several women of different ages what would be the most important piece of advice they would give to women 10 years younger than they are now. Here is what they said.

Nadia Imafidon, 27, Nav.it Editor 

Forgive yourself. Often. Love yourself stubbornly through every illness. And don’t be afraid to hold onto someone else. They see the sun in you.

Kimberley Cunningham, 29, Art Dealer

Don’t be afraid to be young.

My own two cents, 30, Writer/Editor

Life: Try to live in at least one other country before you have serious responsibilities (like kids, or a mortgage) and immerse yourself in other cultures vigorously. Even if it’s just studying abroad for a semester, do it. It will make your life fuller. Also, it’s never too late to go back to school. I got my B.A. at 26 and my Master’s at 30. You get to set the pace of your own life, so listen to your gut.

Love: Never relinquish your self-esteem or respect for the attention of another person. It will become a habit. Set your standards high (for lovers, friends, and yourself) and never feel bad about them. 

Amanda Page, 31, Nav.it Creative Director

When faced with a challenge or dilemma. Go with the most difficult choice. We tend to choose familiar suffering over the unknown, and I believe in challenging that every time. Going the difficult way always proves to be more rewarding. 

Samantha Strelitz, 31, Actress

Don’t let anyone dictate your value. Build your self-worth by exploring who you are through your interests and experiences. Find a way to learn more about yourself from the pain of disappointment, failed professional and/or interpersonal relationships and mistakes. Financial independence is paramount.

Jessica Asante, 37, Event Director

There is this amazing thing called auto transfer. It transfers money automatically for you every month from checking to savings. Do it. Now. Saving seems so daunting but even a couple of hundred bucks a month becomes thousands before you know it with how fast time flies in your 20s. And the time for buying real estate or starting a business or rearing a newborn comes FAST and money makes it easier. So just do it in a thoughtless way. 

That being said, stay in school. For as long as you can. You will work for the REST OF YOUR LIFE and if you are lucky it will be long. But tomorrow is never promised so learn as much as you can when you can–it always makes you better.

Lyndsey Powell, 40s, Free Agent

On work: I wished I hadn’t gone for the easy route by just enjoying myself for the now. I wish I’d put more effort into creating my future for a short time to have long-term gains and fulfillment.

Love: I wish I’d known back then that love was incredibly important and that finding a life partner was one of the most profound and spiritually rewarding things we can do!

And that children would add to the depth of joy life had to offer, by having my own family unit who would be my purpose and inspiration and comfort.

Wendy Rhodes, 52, Recent Graduate Student of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Class of 2018

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about what advice I would give my 10-years-younger self.  I’m 52, and the advice I would give a 42-year-old would vary vastly from what I would tell a 32-year-old or a 22-year-old. That being said, here is what I would tell a 42-year old woman: 

Do it now. Whatever the first thing was that came to your mind – do that. Do it right now, today. You are more than just a daughter, sister, wife, mother or friend. You are you. And you should be the star of your own life, not just a supporting cast member in everyone else’s. You are braver and stronger than you know. Trust in that. 

Lisa Resnick Doty, 54, Real Estate Broker

Always take time for yourself. If you have a job that is demanding don’t be afraid to take a long weekend here and there for yourself. Never settle. I know it’s cliche, but life is short. If you are not happy with your job and you have exhausted every way to make it better, then leave! And you know, [that goes] for your love life as well. Always take time for you. 

One more thing…Have the confidence to know you will be okay.

Ellen Sabbah, 62, Wellness/Spa Manager

Your body is a temple, treat it that way. Eat healthy, exercise often, drink water always and have a spiritual practice–meditation, yoga, some form of stillness. 

Be a lifelong learner. Read often, take courses, educate yourself daily.

Trust your instincts and follow your heart, but always take your brain with you. Practice this in life, love and career.

Save money always! Keep saving for a ‘rainy day’. Life can throw you off course and you want to be prepared.Don’t be afraid of aging, it had its own wonders as long as you stay curious and active.

Barbara Nadler, 87, Jewish Grandma Extraordinaire 

This is a revolting question. Is 77 an age? Okay fine. Sow your oats. Enjoy your life. 


app-icon

Get the app - it's free!

Because every woman deserves to be financially confident