EP
Erin Papworth
4 months ago

Vote, but maybe donating is the key


I have a problem. My vote doesn’t count.

Now, of course, that’s not really true. There are essential —and I’d argue even more impactful to my daily life — local and state races (and initiatives) that are dramatically altered by the way I vote. However, if I stick with watching the federal dramas of our day unfold, it is very easy to forgive someone lik...

I have a problem. My vote doesn’t count.

Now, of course, that’s not really true. There are essential —and I’d argue even more impactful to my daily life — local and state races (and initiatives) that are dramatically altered by the way I vote. However, if I stick with watching the federal dramas of our day unfold, it is very easy to forgive someone like me for feeling like my vote doesn’t count.

See I live in an urban environment where the majority of people in my vicinity vote like me or hold relatively similar political leanings. The pleasure of this experience is that my elected officials more often than not vote or propose bills in the United States Congress that represent my beliefs, ethos and personal outlook on life. Awesome. (It also means dinner parties are quite pleasant, even when you bring up politics because we can all feed off our ideas in an echo chamber of goodwill and similarity. Real life Facebook.)

The downside is that when the said Congress above has a majority that skews for the beliefs, ethos, and ideology that contradict mine, I have little to no control, voice or influence on what happens next. Or, maybe I do….

Let me explain. I interned for two U.S. Senators in my blissful days of youth when I wanted to understand how our system works. (It didn’t take long for me to conclude I wanted nothing to do with politics in all its glory, but I digress.) At 22, as many patriotic, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young college grads do, I trooped off to D.C. to basically answer a hellva lot of phone calls.

If you’ve ever called a U.S. Congressperson or Senator’s office you’ll know the script: “Senator ___’s office, how may I help you?” Then they wait for you to talk. The next question that comes feels standard but is the absolute key: “Thank you for your opinion, I’ll be sure to relay your message. May I have your zip code, please?”

Zip code. They want to know if you’re in their constituency and if you have any influence on their next re-election bid. The phone-answering intern even enters your zip code into a nice, organized database. Non-relevant zip codes: on the de-prioritized list. I know it feels good to rant sometimes and that expression is happily protected by our wonderful freedom of speech laws, but FYI, you can rant all day and it doesn’t matter one iota if you’re not in their constituency and they don’t have to campaign to you when they’re up for re-election.

Okay, that’s the bad news. The good/absolutely absurd news is this. More often than not, money wins elections. See, John McCain and others over the years tried to get Congress to cap the amount a candidate could spend in any electoral race to no avail. He wasn’t crazy, a lot of other countries have civilized (reasonable, ethical, morally-correct) laws like this. In England, there are strict laws that allow candidates to spend no more than 7 million British Pounds in a race. They’re feisty on how you raise all that dough, too. In France, the cap is 16.5 million Euros and businesses are not allowed to donate to political campaigns. Out of the big 5 western democracies, only America has made a national business /sport out of federal elections. In the 2016 Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent a total of 2.4 billion U.S. dollars. I repeat, 2.4 billion. That’s more than the GDP of at least 25 countries in the world.

Aside from being an absurd amount of money, it also displays the insane amount of fundraising candidates have to do to run. Do we really think there aren’t favors traded for raising 1 billion dollars from wealthy individuals and super PACs? And we call other countries corrupt. But again, I digress. Statistically, it also means the person who raises the most mula has a higher likelihood to (buy the most ads, go to the most places, hire the most people, fund adjacent influential races, and grassroots-campaign the best) win.

So back to my problem. Yes, my vote isn’t going to change the outcome of a hotly contested seat in Georgia that would swing the Senate majority. My vote only ensures the Georgia vote is a s*it show that determines the fate of our democracy because my shoe-in candidate still has a job.

However, because money is so important in this whole scenario, there is at least a minor, minor (but real nonetheless) chance that my money *might* influence that Georgia election. That $10 (tax-deductible) donation (combined with all other like-minded donors’ $10s) could be the tipping point that helps a candidate with my ethics run one more ad, or support one more volunteer to canvas for them.

When I was a girl, I was told stories from the 1800s about exciting elections won by one vote that reinforced my civic duty as an American. In this day and age, without campaign reform, I think it’s time for us to consider that our vote, but really our money, is the representation of our voice in the American sport we call elections.

People don’t say money is power for no reason.
EP
Erin Papworth
about 1 month ago

Why the financial industry better start talking to women


Look, women have their own money. Forty percent of heads of households in the United States are women today. It’s just a fact. Don’t worry, the pie hasn’t shrunk — it’s gotten bigger, which is a win for everyone. In reality, it’s all very invigorating for  women, somewhat confusing for society, and definitely changing the normalcy of our daily lives.
...

Look, women have their own money. Forty percent of heads of households in the United States are women today. It’s just a fact. Don’t worry, the pie hasn’t shrunk — it’s gotten bigger, which is a win for everyone. In reality, it’s all very invigorating for  women, somewhat confusing for society, and definitely changing the normalcy of our daily lives.

So while the social construct decides how to digest these changes, what happens next to all that wealth? What do we do with it? I vote: We learn to grow it. If societal change takes power and power is money, it’s our time to re-define our truth with the money we have.

Do women need women-specific wealth management firms? Not particularly. In the end, financial products are gender-neutral. Do wealth management firms and products need to get on the bandwagon and acknowledge the different life experiences women have over the phases of life? Check yes to question #2. At least, if they want to stay relevant — cause this train isn’t going backward anytime soon. (And frankly, they should also want to stay relevant for the up and coming male population that might want something like balance, a family life, and travel in their near future, too, but that’s another conversation).

There are just facts. Women outlive their partners. Women make less when they do the same job. Women are historically more risk-averse than men when investing, but when they do invest they have better returns because they tend to set it, diversify it, and then let it grow for decades. Yes, there is a possibility women are out of the workforce for short periods of time. There is also high evidence they return to the workforce or want to return, but real re-entry barriers exist after their children get to school age. Also, btw, women make or heavily influence 85% of consumer purchases in this country. That’s a lot of green in circulation, y’all. Check yes to women being the practical, I’m-choosing-all-the-stuff-we-need-to-survive spender.

Good financial planners will tell you there is no one-stop-shop solution for any customer. Welcome to 2018, it’s innovative (financial) technology’s turn to finally do what women really need: recognize their reality and meet them where they are. Don’t force them to be alike or be something they’re not. Give them tools and solutions that make their lives easier.

Other industries have figured this out. Glossier is revolutionizing how beauty products are accessed and marketed to a social media-savvy population - intensely focusing on price point. Rent-the-runway, Stichfix, and Armoire are re-inventing how technology allows women to engage with personal stylists and brand names in time-efficient ways (thank you UPS) and, again, price point is a key factor. And do we dare talk about food? I *might* have cried the first time a healthy pre-prepared (delicious) meal showed up on my doorstep from Splendid Spoon (though Blue Apron and HelloFresh are market leaders here).

Technology and innovation across industries are creating solutions that meet the customer where they are.  Businesses first identify the consumers interests and priorities, then they reveal the pain points, and focus on providing simple solutions with the lowest cost to the consumer.  If it’s a race, we have consumer-facing industries leading the pack (cough, Amazon, et al, cough) and the financial industry beginning to move it’s behemoth legs — in fact, it’s just barely realizing it better start running. 2019 and female-forward, customer-centered financial technology, here we come.
ET
English Taylor
4 months ago

Fellow Contractors: Why I Decided to Hire an Accountant

Hiring an accountant taught this freelance writer, (who prides herself on building a business with her own two hands) that asking for help can be just as powerful as doing it all by herself. Plus I picked up some handy tax information along the way.  

During my first year of entrepreneurship, I grew my freelance writing business to...
Hiring an accountant taught this freelance writer, (who prides herself on building a business with her own two hands) that asking for help can be just as powerful as doing it all by herself. Plus I picked up some handy tax information along the way.  

During my first year of entrepreneurship, I grew my freelance writing business to 30 clients in the first six months. I felt like I could accomplish anything. Despite this, every single one of my self-employed friends slid their accountant’s business card across the table to me. But I was too busy relishing in my own success and (over)confidence to listen. I mean, I had 30 clients! I was making more money than I had climbing the corporate ladder. How tough could taxes be?

When tax season rolled around, I learned that 30 clients meant tracking down 30 1099 forms. Some of my clients were startups that never asked me to fill out paperwork and paid me via PayPal. How was I supposed to report this income? (And...like, is this even legal?) 

When I encountered write-offs and deductions, my mind started spinning. I had easily spent $500 on client lunches and coffee meetings. So, $500 sounds about right...right? I hadn’t saved a single receipt or tracked these expenses. I spent four days straight trying to connect the dots between transactions from the past 12 months and my Google calendar. When I turned to the Internet for advice, I encountered more horror stories than helpful tips. One freelance writer owed $12,000! Um, this would wipe out my entire savings… 

Needless to say, the shiny crown I placed on top of my head tumbled down and broke into a million little pieces amidst the 100+ bank statements scattered on my apartment floor. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I needed help. I may be a writer. I may even be a salesperson, project manager, and marketer. But I’m not an accountant. 

I pulled out one of the business cards and proceeded to hire an accountant. In addition to teaching me important lessons about humility, vulnerability, and asking for help, here are three of the many reasons this was a smart decision for me and my business. 

It helped me focus on what I do best. 

I spent an entire week trying to file my taxes before reaching out for professional support. When 6 p.m. rolled around, and I hadn’t written a single article, I proceeded to write until 3 a.m. I turned in work I wasn’t proud of because I was exhausted and stressed. I missed deadlines, rescheduled networking opportunities, left important emails unanswered, and lost some credibility with a few clients. 

Yes, running your own business means getting to wear multiple hats. But the biggest hat in my closet (the floppy church hat, if you will) is writing. Taxes, while necessary and critical, should not take too much time away from how I generate money. My accountant, Eli Shales, specializes in helping self-employed individuals file taxes. He’s not great with words, but he’s a whiz when it comes to write-offs. In other words, we’re a match made in small-business heaven. Letting him focus on what he does best frees me up to focus on what I do best. 

It allowed me to keep more money. 

When I first sat down with Eli, he walked me through the many types of deductions I could claim as a contractor. I had no idea, for example, that I could write off a portion of my rent because my home office takes up a certain percentage of my apartment’s square footage. He told me that since I pay for my own healthcare, I can deduct my monthly premium payments. When he asked me about office supplies, I mentioned the only thing I relied on was my laptop. And that’s when I remembered that I had spent $2,000 on a new laptop when I first launched. 

If I had not hired an expert, I would have failed to claim thousands of dollars (about $10,500, to be exact). The $500 I paid him for his services was well worth it, to say the least. 

It taught me how to better manage my money and business. 

Even after I hired Eli, I spent a lot of time and multiple phone calls tracking down receipts, forms, and invoices from my first year of business. After filing my taxes, Eli told me that it will make his job and my job easier if I implement a few simple systems. 

He sent me a digital template for tracking expenses, as well as a handy poster outlining what I could deduct. The poster has a permanent place on my bulletin board, and I’ve handed out at least 10 copies to self-employed friends (along with Eli’s business card, ironically). He also suggested I do bookkeeping on a weekly basis. Each Friday, a calendar notification reminds me to spend 30 minutes looking back on the week and recording any expenses that qualify as a deduction in the template. I take screenshots of each transaction and file them in a folder on my desktop, which is organized by month. It takes me about 20 minutes each week, but will save both of us hours come tax season. 

Initially, I beat myself up for having to hire an accountant. It highlighted the fact that I couldn’t do it all myself, despite what my unflatteringly large ego believed. But oddly enough, my business (and mental health) have become stronger since bringing Eli onboard. While asking for help may make you think  you’re not an expert and that you need support, it also suggests that, ultimately, you want to do the absolute best thing for you and your business. This, I’ve learned, is just as powerful and strong as being able to accomplish something on your own. 


ET
English Taylor
4 months ago

The Art of the Cold Email


We understand that landing that flexible job is a big step in achieving the lifestyle you want. And writing that cold e-mail is the hardest part of getting a job. Here is some tried and tested advice as well as a trusted template to help you conquer that cold e-mail writer's block and nav. that job so you can 


I ’ll nev...

We understand that landing that flexible job is a big step in achieving the lifestyle you want. And writing that cold e-mail is the hardest part of getting a job. Here is some tried and tested advice as well as a trusted template to help you conquer that cold e-mail writer's block and nav. that job so you can 


I ’ll never forget the first time I saw my byline. 
I had been working in sales at a publishing company in Washington, D.C. It was my first job out of college and I was eager to learn and grow (AKA make a ton of mistakes). One day after a rough cold call, I befriended a fellow employee in the shared company kitchen. After bonding over our love for the television series “Shameless,” she suggested I pitch her a story about the show. Moments later, I learned my new friend was The Atlantic’s entertainment editor. 

I had never considered writing as a career or even a hobby, but I always knew I had a knack for it. Perhaps I overcompensated because of my first name, but my high school and college English classes were my favorite and where I earned my highest grades. At work, I wrote conversational, well-structured, and typo-free cold emails with ease. 

Rather than creating prospect lists, I daydreamed about working for Anna Wintour or winning a Pulitzer for the rest of the day. Later that evening, I nervously contemplated whether or not to send the editor my ideas. Finally, I realized that if I was capable of cold emailing someone, there was no reason I couldn’t email a woman with a mutual interest. After all, I was used to rejection, whether it be an unanswered email or hang up. Nothing worse could happen. 

After pressing “send,” she replied a few hours later with her thoughts, a two-week deadline, and advice on how to actually pitch an editor. But the day my article was due, I emailed her asking for another two weeks. (What was my 22-year-old self thinking?) Finally, after five rounds of revisions, my first article was published in February 2012. 

Fast forward seven years later
I’m now a full-time freelance writer. Though I’m now better at managing deadlines, some things haven’t changed. As a small business owner, I spend a large amount of my time prospecting and selling clients. I firmly believe the two years I spent boldly drafting emails to individuals I had never met (but relentlessly Internet-stalked to procure their contact information) is now my edge as a freelance writer and entrepreneur. It’s allowed me to successfully grow my business and make a living doing what I love. 

I spend at least two mornings per week prospecting and sending cold emails to publications in hopes of writing for them. During the week, I add names of brands I hear about or admire to a “Prospecting” Excel spreadsheet. On “Prospecting Mornings,” as I like to call them, I track down and add the name and contact information for the publication’s editor or content manager on LinkedIn. Alternatively, I’ll find a general information, careers, or pitches email address on the company’s website. 

Try this template out for yourself 
Once I have this necessary information, I plug it into the following cold email template: 

Hi [ Editor Name or there ], 

I hope this finds you well! My name is [ Name ] and I’m a freelance writer living in [ City ]. I’m a huge fan of the content on [ Publication Name ]. I especially enjoyed the recently published articles on [ Topic Name ] and [ Topic Name ]. 

I’ve been a contributor at [ Client Name ], [ Client Name ], [ Client Name ], and other publications for the past [ Length of Experience ]. I’d love to discuss writing opportunities at [ Publication Name ] with you. Below you’ll find a few published writing samples as well as a pitch for [ Publication Name ]. 

Published Work: 

[ Hyperlinked Article Title ], [ Publication Name ] 

[ Hyperlinked Article Title ], [ Publication Name ] 

[ Hyperlinked Article Title ], [ Publication Name ] 

Thank you for taking the time to read! I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to remaining a loyal reader of [ Publication Name ]. 

Warmly, 

[ Name ] 

Over the course of a morning, I send about 30 of these cold emails. I’ll often change the client names and links to my published work to showcase that I have experience within a certain industry or vertical, like health or nutrition. I reuse this template over and over again for every cold email, carefully making sure I remove and replace names and publications for accuracy. (Once I accidentally sent an email to a publication but pressed “send” before proofreading. I used another publication’s name in the email. Needless to say, I didn’t hear anything back.) 

The best part? It actually works 
The past two weeks, I’ve tracked my success with this template. I’ve sent out approximately 70 emails. I received a response from 21 and already have assignments from six. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I get responses and assignments from others over the course of the next week. 

It’s funny when things in life come full circle. I couldn’t imagine still working in sales. In some ways, a career as a salesperson and writer are completely different. But after all, my 22-year-old self and 29-year-old self are also completely different. Despite this, I rely on many of the techniques I learned as a salesperson, like prospecting and cold emailing, to be a successful freelance writer. 

Of course, a chance encounter and serendipitous shared love of “Shameless” helped a bit, too.

EP
Erin Papworth
2 months ago

The Nav.it Take on Psychology, Life and Money

N
Nav.it has a very specific philosophy regarding psychology, life, and money. To sum it up and as Mr. Dupri said so eloquently: “Money ain’t a thang”

We must begin with the classic proverb: ‘Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will’. Okay, this isn’t really an old adage — it’s a Nelson Mandela quote, and I love it because he was...
N
Nav.it has a very specific philosophy regarding psychology, life, and money. To sum it up and as Mr. Dupri said so eloquently: “Money ain’t a thang”

We must begin with the classic proverb: ‘Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will’. Okay, this isn’t really an old adage — it’s a Nelson Mandela quote, and I love it because he was a society-shifting badass and it represents the Nav.it philosophy. Let me tell you why.

Challenges are a part of Life

Nav.it or the ‘navigating life’ concept says that the human experience is complicated. Shit does happen. We fail, we succeed, we fall, we get up, and life keeps moving. It moves forward, maybe it appears to move backwards, but it surely keeps moving. And perfection? Ha! Humanity is starting to grasp that perfection is an illusion of our social construct and completely relative.

The Psychology of Challenges

So while challenges are a part of life, medical advances over the past century have concluded we have this insanely complex tool to overcome and survive them. Our really amazing brains that can exhibit emotional intelligence.

Using 21st-century technology, psychologists and brain scientists are now able to study how the brain chemically reacts and changes when certain feelings, emotions and characteristics are exhibited. And while much of the 20th century was focused on defining the neuroses and pathologies that make us miserable, over the last 30 years there’s been more of an emphasis on the positive. In fact, science has confirmed not only what emotions and behaviors help us achieve happiness regardless of challenges, but how we can improve and increase our neural pathways (grow brain real estate!) to form habits and beliefs that contribute to decreasing anxiety, fear, worry and increasing self-efficacy, resilience and happiness. Is perfection attainable? Of course not. Is happiness as a state of mind available to us throughout our lives even with the peaks and valleys? Yep, every day.

Nav.it and Money

This leads us back to how Nav.it thinks of psychology and money. A plethora of studies show that certain psychological strengths — such as growth mindset, resilience, grit, perseverance, mindful self-awareness, self-control, and emotional intelligence — all contribute to increasing a person’s ability to “execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainment”, i.e. self-efficacy, or the “confidence in one’s ability to exert control …one’s own motivation, behavior and social environment.” Manifestation, baby. It’s real.

In the current culture-speak, self-efficacy is when you #ownit. This is the empowered, self-assured, confident and knowledgeable person. This is when you are #woke and when you act #likeaboss.

If you look around, this language is everywhere from collegial groups (#LeanIn), to thought-leaders (#Oprah), to the social movements (#blacklivesmatter, #metoo) emerging to push our society forward.

The fact that this language and confidence is seeping into our social dialogue and gives us examples of people overcoming great hardships and injustices, gives me serious hope for the future. The more people develop the neural circuitry that enables them to consistently exhibit resilience and grit in the face of trials, the better our world will become. Cause #diversity, #chill and #love win the long game. Jamaica knew this all along and the U.N. just caught up.

Empowerment and Money

With these concepts in mind when Nav.it looked at current social empowerment undertones, we saw a gaping hole in one specific area of true self-determination. Money. Money is not the end-all, be-all of human achievement. On the contrary, we all know people that have relatively little of it but are wonderfully balance, honest, trustworthy, respectful, and overall the best of humanity. Money is purely a currency of exchange that allows us the freedom to choose our own destiny, it gives us a leg-up on opportunities, and makes the challenges we face in life hella easier. So basically money helps us overcome the survival challenges so we can move onto the psychological and emotional ones. That’s the blessing of being born in this country and we shouldn’t take that for granted.

Now, the data on financial literacy in the U.S., and particularly among young people, is abysmal. Yet money determines our opportunities, lifestyle and social change. Managing money is a significant life “challenge” because our financial system is a labyrinth of pitfalls and ways to lose. It also seems our education system and our social values have deprioritized teaching young people how to navigate it.

On the flip side, the citizens of this country have access to insane amounts of credit and starting a business in our economy is relatively easy, so there is also a lot to possibly gain if you understand how the game is played. Unfortunately, the rules are such that the people who understand the maze have a chance to win enormously, and the ones who don’t often suffer unfairly.

What an ideal place, then, to explore all those self-efficacy traits that psychologists and neuroscientists say determine happiness. The financial system we live in is ready and able to give us challenges. The question is, are we equipped to exhibit the resilience, grit, perseverance, and self-determination necessary to navigate them?

Nav.it Philosophy

Nav.it
views money as a practical part of life that we don’t have a choice but to manage. We also believe that true empowerment (#lifegoals) and the pursuit of happiness (#psychology) in the United States only emerges when we feel confident and can provide for ourselves and our future without fear. So we’re creating products that work on self-efficacy through the management of money. Cause we think everyone can act #likeaboss and be, at minimum, the boss of themselves.


BS
Bekah Stallworth
5 months ago

A Beauty Editor with a Secret Weapon

As cheesy as it sounds, your budget should help you be the best version of yourself: happy, fulfilled, and fiscally responsible. (That’s not to say it won’t require work or be tough at times—another relationship parallel.) So, say you’ve already found your perfect budgeting method. Bills and living expenses are clearly a must, but then there’s the portion of your bu...
As cheesy as it sounds, your budget should help you be the best version of yourself: happy, fulfilled, and fiscally responsible. (That’s not to say it won’t require work or be tough at times—another relationship parallel.) So, say you’ve already found your perfect budgeting method. Bills and living expenses are clearly a must, but then there’s the portion of your budget that’s devoted to how you’d prefer to spend your cold, hard cash. Is it on self-care? Cocktails? Travel? 

Today we'd like to feature a  Budget Badass where we explore how young women—both inside and outside of the finance industry—nav the system and balance their checkbook in a way that lets them live their best life.

(Lead Image Courtesy: Lucy Nystrom/Hair Story )

Occupation: Beauty Editor at BET

Age: 31

Location: Brooklyn, New York 

Instagram: @jmargaretbeauty

GIF Created By: Krista Anna Lewis/Man Repeller

The Background

As long as I can remember, I’ve worked with a budget. But it hasn’t always been a good one—I was actually over-saving for a period of time. Yes, that’s a thing! I kept borrowing against myself, so when my boyfriend and I decided to move in together, it was on the stipulation that we met with a financial planner to make sure that we were both on the same page. Three years later, and I still feel like I’m in control of my finances.

It’s empowering to be upfront with myself about what I can and can’t afford. And, contrary to popular belief, I don’t find that keeping a budget is that stressful. I’m able to plan ahead so that I don’t dip into my emergency fund, and it’s kind of fun coming under budget—it means I get to save more or treat myself!

The Budget

I use the zero-balance budget, which means every penny is allocated to something. It forces me to plan my spending before the month even begins. I also work with my financial planner, Dominique Brown, to help me manage it all. 

Trial and Error

A few years ago, I used a cash-carrying method with envelopes assigned to categories like “groceries” and “fun.” It worked, but I felt a bit uncomfortable carrying around so much cash at once. Now, I have three zero-balance budgets: personal, household (which includes joint expenses with my boyfriend), and freelance (which includes any money I make writing outside of my full-time job). Keeping everything separate prevents me from “cheating” and using money from somewhere else on something else, like new shoes.I also use the Penny app to track how much I spend in each category. There was another app I loved, but it went away when I updated my phone! People swear by Mint, but I couldn’t get into it.

Image Courtesy: Melanie Martin/Beautifully Brown

Can’t Skimp, Won’t Skimp

Experiences are something I never feel guilty spending money on. I’ll bitch and moan about everything leading up to a trip, but once I’m there I feel great—I rarely regret flights and Airbnbs. Also, it’s always worth spending a little bit more to a.) get there faster, and b.) avoid layovers.

I firmly believe that at some point, everything goes on sale, right? Except for hair services—which is why I can’t skimp on color. I was blonde over the summer, and recently returned. Since I work as a beauty editor, people tried to convince me that I could do it myself, but I realize the repercussions of a cheap color treatment and will happily pay an expert to do it for me.

GIF Created By: Krista Anna Lewis/Man Repeller

Pain Points

If there’s something I make a conscious effort to spend less on, it’s Ubers and taxis. I’m constantly bouncing around the city for work, so I try to take the train at all costs. It’s $2.75—you really can’t beat that! I also hate late fees, cancellation fees, and random medical bills—they’re my least favorite way to waste money.

Smart Spending

I actually saved up to buy myself something for Christmas: an Arrivals Moya III jacket ($1,095). I haven’t spent that much money on myself in a long time, and I’ve been wanting one since last year. That’s part of the reason why working with a financial planner is so nice: you have someone to hold you accountable, and to help you map out your life. I literally talk to Dom once a week—or more—about any questions I have. Should I consolidate my IRAs? Can I afford this Chanel bag? I’m sure I drive him crazy. 

Words of Wisdom

Paying off your credit card bills in full is so important. It’s so easy to get caught up in the game of paying a portion or paying the minimum—but it never feels great to owe someone for a temporary thrill!

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

BS
Bekah Stallworth
6 months ago

Want to Travel More? Consider Passive Streams of Income

Meet Joy Schoffler, the Chief Strategy Officer of Casoro Capital in Austin, Texas.

Meet Joy Schoffler, the Chief Strategy Officer of Casoro Capital in Austin, Texas.

Joy with her beautiful family

Schoffler has built her career on helping people and businesses make smart real estate investments, so adjust your bra straps and perk up your ears. Your future, richer selves will thank you.  


Why Real Estate?

“People always need places to live,” says Schoffler. “Owning apartments minimized risk in my mind, as you had so many different tenants that your risk was spread out. Seeing the market drop by 50 percent during the recession just reinforced my theory.”


Weathering the Storm

Schoffler began working for the PPA Group, the parent firm of Upside Avenue, in 2007—the year that housing prices and sales began to fall nationwide before the bubble burst. But despite the ongoing financial crisis, the PPA Group thrived; from 2008 to 2009, and 2009 to 2010, the firm made Inc.’s list of fastest-growing companies. That’s because it specialized in multi-family B and C class investments.


Real Estate: As Easy as A, B, C. 

B and C class properties, as opposed to cream of the crop A buildings, typically house working and middle-class individuals, and are widely considered to be some of the most recession-proof investments since there’s always demand. As fewer and fewer millennials make the shift from renting to buying,  these sorts of properties are proving to be a very smart income and wealth-building strategy. 
 

Where the Heart Is

Since last year, Schoffler has been developing the product strategy for Upside Avenue, Casoro’s non-traded real estate investment trust (REIT). For her, it marries two passions: real estate, and helping people create their own wealth.


 The REIT Rundown

A REIT is a fund that owns or finances income-producing real estate; a non-traded REIT’s shares aren’t traded on a national stock exchange or directly affected by the volatile stock market, but their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and performance reports are publicly available. Compared to other forms of investment, they’re a pretty safe bet. 

“I’m terrible with the stock market—I have a terrible touch,” says Schoffler. “So I’m personally moving to a self-directed IRA, and investing in a REIT because I feel better knowing my investments are backed by multifamily real estate.” 

Upside Avenue’s REIT invests in private market real estate, specifically multi-family, student, and senior living facilities—the same kind of properties that enabled its parent company to make it through the recession unscathed. 


The Future is Accessible 

With all that said, it’s easy to assume that investing in real estate requires having some serious dough at your disposal, right?

Not really. Upside Avenue requires a minimum investment of $2,000, making it a viable option for most working-class individuals. Plus, the targeted return has liquidity after just one year. That’s money in your pocket. 


The Golden Ticket

Schoffler knows that parting with hard-earned income is scary, but she’s grateful she made the decision to live more conservatively and invest when she was younger. “Passive streams of income have allowed my family to spend one month a year traveling the world for the past six years,” she says. “Having monthly and quarterly income that I’m not actively working for equals freedom.”   

Even if you start small, Schoffler says the result is priceless. Building a passive stream of income— such as investing in REITs—is a wealth strategy that she learned from one of her favorite books, “Rich Dad Poor Dad.”  

“At the end of the day, financial stability is everything. It gives you the freedom to live where you want to live. It gives you the choice of where you send your kids to school, and where you go in your career—you either follow your paycheck, or your dreams.”


JN
Jordan Nadler
6 months ago

Is the Grass Always Greener?

travel
fomo
We don’t know about you, but we’re those people who, no matter what we’re doing, or how happy we are, when we hear of other people’s travel plans and don’t have any immediate ones of our own, go straight into existential-crisis mode.

No matter what’s happening in the present, that Instagram post that pops up in between snapshots of your friends’...
We don’t know about you, but we’re those people who, no matter what we’re doing, or how happy we are, when we hear of other people’s travel plans and don’t have any immediate ones of our own, go straight into existential-crisis mode.

No matter what’s happening in the present, that Instagram post that pops up in between snapshots of your friends’ engagement pics and ultrasounds suddenly makes you feel like your life will be wholly unfulfilled until you, too, can't go see that really cool door in Samarkstand, Uzbekistan. 

Suddenly, a thing you didn’t know existed until five minutes ago feels unattainable and is giving you heartburn.

You know what they say about social media. It doesn’t accurately represent people’s lives, and actually makes us depressed and dumb. But when it comes to travel, many of us are masochists. 

We tune out the truths we know. We see meticulously chosen travel photos from accounts we follow and allow a part of ourselves to believe the snapshots are representative of the subjects’ entire lives. 

That photo you saw of that girl running through a flower field on Instagram? Yep, she's still there - just perpetually in that field, spinning in circles wearing that amazing 18th century-looking dress, while the Goddess of Extra takes pictures from the sky. Let’s be clear, ladies. No one is ever accidentally caught laughing alone in Portrait Mode. 

We at Nav.it (travel-masochists that we admittedly are) want to take the FOMO out of social media. We are building a community of female travelers, for female travelers. And with that community will come what we like to call a real Instagram. A feed for real travel, real experiences and most importantly, real connections with women globally. 

Avert your eyes from the perfectly curated feed of professionals, and instead, learn about the world through your fellow women. Meet each other. Use social media to socialize. Get each other’s tips. Budget for your trip with Nav.it, and share your actual experiences with women who want to hear all about them.

For weekly newsletters and the best female-forward travel content out there, sign up here! Our app launches in September, and you don't want to miss your ride!


EP
Erin Papworth
6 months ago

For Love of Women

#feminism
#women
#africa
#empowerment
#sisterhood
#femininespirit
In the U.S., the concept of “grit” is often touted as an important part of success. Yet in sub-Saharan Africa, where I lived for 13 years, the ability to show resilience and tenacity in the face of hardship is not conceptual, or optional. I started to truly understand the commonality and strength of humanity, and the insane strength of women in particular, because I was...
In the U.S., the concept of “grit” is often touted as an important part of success. Yet in sub-Saharan Africa, where I lived for 13 years, the ability to show resilience and tenacity in the face of hardship is not conceptual, or optional. I started to truly understand the commonality and strength of humanity, and the insane strength of women in particular, because I was afforded the opportunity to travel the world and end up where I did. 

It is hard to find the right words to explain the experiences I’ve had or the people I’ve met; the phenomenal women I’ve had the honor to know --who have been born into a shared time but a place that is a world apart from everything I thought I knew.

Universally, when it comes to women -- you may not understand them, but you know them. You know them in your hearts because somewhere inside, you are them. 

You have the same characteristics they exhibit. You are determined, get angry, worry about the future and your children. You crave community and seek agency. Your life has demanded you exhibit an array of traits --academic excellence, endless self-reflection, emotional analysis and the ability to negotiate your intimate relationships.  

You may not be tasked with protecting your children from war or finding any way possible to feed your family because of food scarcity, but others are, and you would rise to the occasion if you had to, just like them. 

When I reflect on a story that describes my experiences, the first that comes to mind is about a childbirth I assisted one dark night in a remote region in the northwest corner of Central African Republic. I had no business being in the room as I was the logistician and responsible for supplies and staff for Doctors Without Borders (MSF in French), not healthcare delivery.  But there were only three members of MSF based in that village, and the two male African nurses needed extra hands. It’s surreal to look back on now, ten years later, and after my own childbirth experience in a pristine western hospital equipped with oxygen and epidurals.

But there is a purity in that night; a woman giving birth under the cloak of darkness. No drugs, no electricity, two headlamps, a kerosene lamp and forceps ushering in a beautiful new human life. The nurses made sure she and her baby survived, while I stood by her head, a lost, useless wreck, holding her hand and blotting her forehead, wondering if I should be doing more. 

She came to us because she had been displaced from her village due to the rebel activity in the region. I didn’t know where the father was or if he was still alive. I vaguely remember her mother or an auntie accompanying her. I didn’t know how she had come to that tiny town surrounded by Chadian troops to the west and French legionnaires to the south. I couldn’t understand her language. I couldn’t help physically, aside from moving the light in whatever way the nurses directed and handing them equipment.  I didn’t know how to get the baby out safely or make sure she didn’t bleed out. 

All I really could do was hold space for her in that instinctive way a woman does for another, willing the Feminine spirit in her to assist her body to do what it was designed to do. She barely cried out, she suffered and groaned in composed, resilient dignity. She gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl.

I learned the next day she named her Erin, after the foreign woman who stood by her as she brought her daughter into the world. I saw her one more time after that and then she and the baby were gone.  

I don’t know why I tell that story now, if only to relive it for myself. Perspective and time make stories more profound and help you find new truths in the cobwebbed recesses of your mind. And it reminds me -- when my life seems complicated, when I am mentally stressed or when I am in pain --  that I am never really alone. 



EP
Erin Papworth
6 months ago

And So It Begins

travel
traveling
see the world
borderless
international
empowered
My name is Erin Papworth, and I am the CEO of Nav.it, the travel and lifestyle app for women who run the world and want to see it. 

We have a saying at Nav.it: Be Borderless. For many of us, it feels like that was never a choice, it was just a part of who we were - citizens of the world.

In my early twentie...
My name is Erin Papworth, and I am the CEO of Nav.it, the travel and lifestyle app for women who run the world and want to see it. 

We have a saying at Nav.it: Be Borderless. For many of us, it feels like that was never a choice, it was just a part of who we were - citizens of the world.

In my early twenties, I went on what was meant to be a week-long safari in Africa. Thirteen years later I returned home, having worked for humanitarian groups in 15 countries across the sub-Saharan region. I’ve met so many incredible people in my travels, but what always resonated with me was how utterly universal and unique the female experience is.

You see, “travel” means much more to me than a week long vacation somewhere. It is a way of life; a form of incomparable enrichment. Through my work and the way I budgeted my money, I was able to establish a level of financial freedom that gave me opportunities to live out of the box (boxes have borders, after all), and deeply shape my understanding of life. 

I created Nav.it so that women can find the tools they need to navigate the world on their own terms; to understand their power and agency, and most importantly - to learn how to manage their money in a way that turns travel dreams into plans.

When my team at Nav.it says we are a community of female travelers for female travelers, it comes from the knowledge that women comprise two-thirds of the world’s globetrotters, and make 92% of all online travel purchases in the U.S. That is a lot of decision-making and a lot of travel stories to be told. Our team is a group of passionate, primarily former expats who want nothing more than to elevate other women’s lives through travel.

And here’s the thing. We didn’t want to be yet another travel app that simply shows you pictures of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen and tell you that you’d be happier there. Because...yah. Obviously. 

The barrage of #travelinspo content rushing across our screens every five seconds making us feel irresponsible for having jobs when we could be frolicking down some French Polynesian beach instead? It's not helping anyone get anywhere.

So we decided to change the game. Nav.it takes aspirational travel and makes it actionable. 

We firmly believe that wealth is experiential, but it does cost money to get places. Knowing how to manage your money and save what you have is paramount to freedom, whether you're traveling on a sexy shoestring or going on a luxury blitz. 

We don’t just tell you about amazing finds around the world, we help you get there. We give you the option to sync your bank account with our app, and set saving goals for trips you want to go on. We create monetizable city itineraries for you. We let you budget for every restaurant, hotel, museum and flight we review. And to top it off, we've created a community where you can share your tips and experiences with others while learning from their travel fails, their hacks and, most importantly, where to get the most amazing crème brûlée in Nice. We do this all focused on the female experience in the world. 

Women’s lives are not one-size-fits-all, so neither is the Nav.it experience. We are here to empower every woman to see the world in a way that is feasible to her, and we hope you come along for the ride!