Golden Girl Finance
 
Rita Silvan
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Personal Finance

The gold standard: What's new in women & money this week (Feb 17th)

February 17th, 2017 by

Awesome reads from around the web for the week of February 17th, 2017

 
 

Between planning for retirement and planning a better future for all, this week's stories reminded us: women have their work cut out for them. 

So maybe retirement can wait (for now). 

Here are this week’s top reads for women and money from around the web.

Editor's picks of the week

  1. The latest retirement survey from Royal Bank shows that pre-retirees worry about spending too much time with their spouses…and then there’s also the money thing.

  2. Government programs affect people in different ways—gender is one mediating factor.

  3. Who run the world? Some of Canada’s leading female entrepreneurs are helping Trudeau deal with Trump.

  4. Surprise! If you’re expecting to receive your partner’s CPP benefits upon their passing, think again.

  5. Favourable tax rates on capital gains may be up for grabs in upcoming budgets.

  6. Women in film. Big players like Nicole Kidman are not waiting for the phone to ring.

  7. Retirement? What’s that? More women are choosing to work past retirement age—and not just for the money. (Golfing with hubby will have to wait.)

  8. More padding please. Single female boomers need to save more for retirement. (Sorry.)

  9. This snapshot of the Canadian work force may make you rethink your exit strategy ahead of retirement.

Personal Finance

The gold standard: What's new in women & money this week (Feb 10th)

February 10th, 2017 by

Awesome reads from around the web for the week of February 10th, 2017

 
 

This week the message is clear: money talks. Learning how we can better listen could mean a wealth of difference both in our homes and around the world. Find out what it’s had to say in this week's top reads for women and money from around the web.

Editor's picks of the week

  1. Canadian Living delves into the minds (and pocketbooks) of Canadian women to uncover all things financial. 
     
  2. Leaders in the areas of psychology, social justice, religion, and finance explore money from the perspective of spirit. Collective wisdom from various spiritual traditions and personal stories are included in this full-day conference on money.
     
  3. Voting with her wallet: One woman’s pledge to only spend money on movies made by women.
     
  4. More boomers are working longer than before. Here's how that's impacting jobs, benefits, and markets.
     
  5. Studies show that having women in leadership roles improves performance—so why aren’t there more women running mutual funds?
     
  6. In an increasingly cashless society, credit may soon be queen. Here are five things you can start doing for your credit score right now.

Investing

Heartbreak investing and how to get over it

February 6th, 2017 by

Are you holding onto heartbreak in your portfolio?

 
 

Nothing brings out the feral nature of some women like a designer sample sale. If it’s Chanel, elbows up! When I worked in fashion publishing, every few years Chanel hosted a sample sale exclusively for those lucky few. Whatever warrior skills one had deployed to land these plum jobs, they were nothing compared to what was required at these sales. It was not uncommon to see women scooping up entire racks of clothes in their gym-toned arms and disappearing into the change room, or yanking dresses out of others’ hands hissing, “that’ll never fit you”. 

Usually I left these sales empty-handed and traumatized. However, one year I managed to acquire a pale green wool dress embroidered with beads and sequins to give a mermaid effect. It cost $100, a tiny fraction of its original price. I wore it exactly once. Many years later I finally admitted that, with my now more casual lifestyle, I would probably never wear the dress again. A luxury consignment shop offered to sell it for $1,500. And there it sits. If I were willing to slash the price to $200, it would sell in a flash. I would break-even— but it would feel like a loss, and that would hurt.

Loss hurts

There are a couple of things happening here and they’re the kind of cognitive errors we all make, whether the investment is a $100 Chanel dress or 100 shares of General Electric. They are endowment bias, anchoring and loss aversion

We get emotionally attached to our possessions and tend to overvalue them. The thinking goes, “This is my Chanel. Therefore it’s special. I should get top dollar for it.” (Clearly the universe disagrees.) I’ve anchored the resale value at $1,500 and I’m reluctant to stray too far from it. In this case, even though my “book value” was $100, and (judging by the envious looks when I wore it), I got at least $100 utility value from it, I’m clinging to the idea of a $1,500 sale price. I would rather do nothing than sell below the marked price, thus crystallizing a perceived loss of $750 after commissions.

Loss aversion is among one of the most pernicious cognitive errors. Potential losses loom far greater in our minds than potential gains. A classic loss aversion study that involved our cousins, capuchin monkeys, showed that when the researcher gave the monkey two apples but took one back, the monkey grew to hate the person. (Receiving just one apple was no problem.)

One investment writer has likened loss aversion to the star-struck lover who hangs onto a poor relationship hoping for things to improve. Studies in neuroeconomics show that expecting an outcome, whether it’s a gain or loss, is far more emotionally intense than the actual experience. Yet, it’s this fear of loss that drives many investors to crystallize their gains by selling winners but hanging onto the losers in their portfolios. After a loss, investors become even more risk adverse. This explains why post-2008 many people were reluctant to invest in the equity markets and stuck with low-yield money market products, thus missing out on large gains. 

Gaining mental clarity

With the growing popularity of online trading, more investors are falling prey to these common biases to the detriment of their ability of accumulate wealth. But there are tricks to gain greater awareness of our mental foibles. According to Jason Zweig, author of Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Make You Rich, one way to gain greater clarity is as simple as changing our body posture. Straightening our arms and pushing them against a desk or other surface gives us more mental space to think twice before making a decision. Alternatively, like Halston, the late American designer, we could refer to ourselves in the third-person to gain some perspective. 

Let’s try it: “Rita is going to do a couple of downward dogs to clear her thinking. Anyone out there who wears a French size 38? Have I got a deal for you.”

Personal Finance

The gold standard: What's new in women & money this week (Feb 2nd)

February 3rd, 2017 by

Awesome reads from around the web for the week of February 2nd, 2017

 
 

From waiting areas to boardrooms, women are making great strides around the globe. Change rarely comes easy, but some stories this week reminded us that we are indeed on our way. Here are this week's top reads for women and money from around the web.

Editor's picks of the week

  1. If you squint, you’ll find a slow improvement toward parity in women’s boardroom appointments. At this rate, true parity in the U.S. won’t be reached until 2055
     
  2. A Waterloo-based company is joining the global movement to support women-led startups. 
     
  3. To counteract the Trump administration’s Neanderthal initiatives regarding women’s health, the Dutch government launches a $14.7 million fund to provide essential health services to women in developing nations.
     
  4. Grab your portfolio by the bull horns (after consulting with your financial advisor, of course) with these 3 tips for taking on more investment risk.
     
  5. All in the family: How to escape the curse of “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”.
     
  6. A sure way to win the lottery — and you don’t even need a winning ticket. 

Retirement

Why encore careers are not just about the money

January 30th, 2017 by

How to get closer to happiness in retirement

 
 

Would it surprise you to know that nine out of 10 workers around the world are “actively disengaged” from their jobs? According to a 2014 Gallup Poll most people spend half their lives disliking what they’re doing—thus fuelling a burgeoning lotto industry, sales of alcohol, “cronuts”, and other mind-altering substances. Some of us dream of a windfall that will free us from the burden of earning a living, while others count the years and months until retirement and anticipate finally being happy. 

The golden-brick road

These folks have probably never heard of “arrival fallacy”. Coined by Israeli/American psychologist Ben Tal-Shahar, it describes the mistaken belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy. Take retirement for example: a recent study by BMO Financial Group found that often there were gaps between what people thought their retirement would be like and what it is actually like. For example, more than one-third discovered that, despite not going to work, there still wasn’t enough time in the day to do everything they wanted to do. And almost a quarter of them were unpleasantly surprised to find that they were spending more money in retirement than they had expected. 

The feeling that one has just cashed one’s very last pay cheque is a common, and understandable, source of anxiety. Therefore it’s critical to have a sound retirement income plan to provide steady cash flow that is relatively immune to market volatility. 

Another option is to pursue an encore career (or two, or three…). Not only can the incremental cash flow relieve financial pressure, or simply provide for a few more comforts and pleasures, but it can give a sense of purpose and self-worth that money alone cannot buy.

Can we get an encore, please?

The question, “What would you do for fun if money were not the primary reason?” stumps us. After decades of doing work that doesn’t engage us, (if the Gallup Poll is correct), the invitation to “follow our passion” looks like a dead-end. This is where enlisting the services of a life-coach, or simply reading some of the myriad books on positive psychology and happiness, can break through the paralysis. For example, Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recommends “doing what you do”—in other words, how you would spend a free Saturday, or what you liked to do as a 10-year-old. 

Some of my favourite things to do as a 10-year-old were to play talk show host (interviewing our terrier/Chihuahua mix on the living room sofa); teacher (scolding imaginary recalcitrant students); “go-go” dancer, model and Playboy bunny (those tails were so darn cute!); and imitating Cher. So, as far as my encore career, the Playboy bunny ship has sailed, and “go-go” dancing has also gone the way of the dodo bird, but becoming a Cher impersonator might be worth a second look.