Twas the night before MENOPAUSE………hysterical

Tis the season to be merry.

So take a look at this fabulously funny spoof on a Christmas poetry tradition.

Twas the night before menopause….

 

Enjoy!

Hot off the presses!

Here it is! Your very own paperback version of  Hot Flash Financial!

It is a grown up version of the website. No actually it is a development of the Hot Flash Financial approach. Yes it retains the hot flash method– laugh while you learn. And it offers clear explanations of complex issues, plus a set of STEPs to follow, STEPs you can rely on, if you want to increase your financial security.

So why buy a copy?HFF cover

The more you  know, the more control you will feel. Your stress about money will start to melt away, because you will know what you are doing with your money, and how. That is the best way that you can improve your future.

And, by the way, it is cheap. Your $15 investment will pay back a thousand fold!

So, hit the link to  buy your paperback copy  “and get one today!!!!” (as they shamelessly say on TV)

You will be glad you did.

 

A new tradition

Let’s start a new “tradition.”  (Humor me. I was trained as an anthropologist. We anthropologists  love rituals.) Let’s call it a Hot Flash Financial Tradition.

What is this tradition? First it, is a ritual that occurs around new years. How do you do it?  Every year, you revise your List of Assets to reflect the December 31, 2012 balances. After you have the year end balances, you add up the total. Then do the really smart, Hot Flash Financial thing– Celebrate what you did right. And use your new List of Assets to make some decisions to improve your financial security next year.

If you have not developed your own personal List of Assets, create your first one today. (Go to the Tools Tab and select List of Assets.)  You take the same steps as someone who has a List of Assets.

Here are the steps you can use to follow the ritual. Go on-line to access every one of your retirement accounts, as well as investment and savings accounts. If you already  created your list of assets, add a column and mark it December 31, 2012. Input the dollar values for the last day of the year for every one of your account balances.  Then add the dollar values all up to get a Total. Now, do what comes naturally. Find out if your retirement account balances are higher than last year.

The next part of the  Hot Flash Financial Tradition is crucial: figure out what you did right! Also figure out what needs to be improved.

What you did right:

  • If you added more money to your retirement accounts, the total should be higher.
  • If you were invested  in stocks (or stock mutual funds) your balances may be as much as 10% -13% higher. (The S & P 500 booked a 13% increase over last year, 2012. If you invested a portion of your portfolio in Bonds, you may not be as high. But you got stability or less crazy fluctuations in your account values. Why? you reduced your risk by investing in bonds. Reducing risk has a cost. But it also has a strong plus–it allows you to sleep better at night.)

This is the most fun of this ritual. Pat yourself on the back and celebrate what you did right!!!!!

If you added money to your retirement account, but the increase did not meet your expectations, figure out why.

What you could improve in the future:

  • Did you add enough money to your retirement account  to make the total budge?
  •  Are there other reasons for the shortfall in your expectations about your retirement account balances, and your overall Hot Flash Stash of Cash?
    • Did you decide to save for the future, but you deposited that money into a savings account instead of your retirement investment account(s)? A savings account probably gave you about 1% return in 2012  By contrast, the stock market gave about 10%-13% in the same year. Did you make the right decision, saving in a savings account rather than a retirement account? What will you do in the next 12 months? Invest in your retirement account or in a savings account?
    • Savings accounts are nice. They reduce the risk that you will lose the money you deposited. But remember there is a “risk-return” trade off. If you take on more risk–investing in the stock market, you are likely to get more return. (In this case, the return in 2012 [and most years] would have been positive, although the market did move up and down a lot during the year. While the dollar amounts fluctuated, over the long term, in this case a year,  you were ahead.) If you take less risk–investing in a savings account–you are likely to get a lower return. Lower risk is often correlated (as we say in the biz) with lower return.

Your handy- dandy List of Assets becomes a really important reference point.  It also enables you, no actually empowers you to make some important decisions and improve your financial security. Your decisions can increase the number of things you do that are right over the next few years. So you can celebrate more. 

After celebrating, take a closer look at your List of Assets to figure out what you can do to increase your own, personal financial security in the coming 12 months.

Since we can’t shut up, we will suggest you do 2 things.

  1. Increase the amount of money you deposit in your retirement account. Increase it by 1%. And, if you can, work toward increasing your contributions, over the next year or 2 or 3, to deposit the maximum legally allowed.
  2. Decide if you are comfortable with a bit more risk. If so, invest a greater portion of your retirement savings  in the stock and bond markets, for the long term. If not, stick with savings accounts.

Make this  Hot Flash Financial tradition, your tradition  every first week in January. That way, you have more control. You have the knowledge of what you have done well. And you can take the steps you need to take to improve your financial security over the long term.

New Years Resolution

Here at Hot Flash, we love New Years Resolutions.

Allow us to suggest one for 2013- Live within your means.

Or, since we are entering a year that ends in unlucky 13, we can rephrase this resolution in terms of luck.

It is  unlucky to live above your means. (So every time your write the numbers 13, you have a reminder, nudge, or prompt to remember your resolution to live within, or even below, your means.)

So what does that really imply?

Your “take home pay” is the focus. It is your limit, your “means.” So you can spend only the amount of money that you bring “home” in your paycheck. Not a dime more. (And you can NOT cheat by charging something on your credit card(s). Unless, of course, you pay off the total balance due when the  bill comes.)

You must be thinking…… that is so………….un-American…..so impossible.

But is it?

Hmmm. It is tough for Baby Boomers to hear this, but……………your parents probably lived within their means. (And they probably saved some money while they were doing it……. Just sayin’)

Why would you do this?

If you start to develop the skill of living within your means, you will have a more sustainable life style.

That is probably not such a bad idea, given the fact that you are likely to live longer than your parents.

So how about it?  Resolve to live “within your means.” Test yourself, and see how you do.

Here’s a short take home quiz. Find it if you can you live within your means, at least as long as you followed your diet last year? Or as long as you committed yourself to exercise every day?

Now, this in Hot Flash Financial talking to you. S0 if you try, and find out that you are not exactly perfect, use laughter as a weapon. Tell us your funny story. Share it with us at hotflashfinancial@gmail.com.

That way you can join us–Hot Flash Mamas–as we imperfectly march toward the next phase in our lives.

Help a friend?

Do you have a sense of humor? Do your friends? Do your friends have a sense of humor about their own behavior?

Well, here is a new sweepstakes with a great idea, Help your friends. That is, help one of your friends who has some trouble with her/his finances, especially spending.

Now, the page introducing “Help a friend” clarifies that we all make mistakes and waste money. But, the one you “help” would merit, as they say,” an Olympian gold medal in money squandering.” So, the argument on the site goes, do your friend a favor and enter this friend into this sweepstakes. (At the same time you enter yourself into the sweepstakes). If you win, you get…… money.

There are videos associated with this program, and they tend to feature young, college age folks discussing the varied ways they spend money on “stuff” –memorial swords that are probably plastic, ugly designer jeans, myriad internet purchases, parties, taking a girlfriend to the “Jersey Shore” …………You get the point.

I decided to see how this works. So I pressed the HELP A FRIEND BUTTON and sent the email to myself. (I chose not to send a photo to post on the FACEBOOK  page of the site. It would show my friend posing with at least one incriminating impulsive purchase.)

I did receive an email. The email is well worded and raises some really good issues to consider. When I clicked on the  link, I was really pleased with the quiz that you can can take. It raises “your consciousness” on some spending habits that can be problematic. The  site itself has wonderful tools, such as calculators that help you budget, pay off debt, etc.

Now, I am a big great fan of NEFE—the National Endowment for Financial Education that created the site, and the Help a Friend sweepstakes. And I am a great fan of using humor to make a point.  And this Help A Friend Campaign uses humor to accomplish an important goal, help friends who waste money.

What I don’t know, is how my friends would respond. I mean, how would this work with “women of a certain age and distinction?” Would my friends be offended if I entered them into this sweepstakes? Or would they take it in stride, see that you can use humor to make some important points, and change your behavior?

What do you think?

Social Security and you

You are probably going to  hear  a lot about Social Security in the run-up to the next election. Each party will be talking about what are sometimes called “Entitlements.”  It is important for you, as a woman “of a certain age and distinction,” to know who really supports specific programs, especially Social Security.

Why? Because Social Security is one of the most important sources of money for women after age 65.

Really? Yes. Because women live so much longer than men. So we rely on Social Security (and Medicare) for a greater number of years and a greater number of dollars.  As we women age, a bigger and bigger portion of our monthly income comes from Social Security!

How much do we rely on Social Security? Well, we have some figures for you. Women are who 65 and older, get more than half (or  58%) of their income from Social Security. And, as we get older, and spend down the money we had saved for retirement, we increasingly rely on Social Security for all or nearly all (90%) of the money we use to buy food, pay for housing, etc. By the time you pass your 80th birthday, many  (38% ) of you will be completely or nearly completely (90%) reliant on Social Security.

So now you have to know the facts about Social Security.  You have to know if Social Security will be there for you, your sisters, and your children. So start here, and then click on this link Social Security.

Remember, you have to think long and hard about a candidate and his stand on Social Security and other “Entitlements” So when you decide to vote for your representative in Congress, in the Senate, and for the President, make sure you vote for someone who will continue to support Social Security and so older women. Cut through the “stuff ” on those political commercials. Make sure you check out the truth about past voting behavior, key proposals (like budget proposals) made by each candidate, and cross-check with an independent fact checker.

Why? If you, or your sister or best friend, is one of the women who will rely on Social Security for 58% of her income from age 65 on through the rest of your life, you need to vote to make sure every candidate who has your backing will support Social Security.

 

footnote: I am drawing my facts based on 2010 statistics and analyzed by the  National Women’s Law Center “Women and Social Security: Key Facts” May 20, 2011. Here is the link. http://www.nwlc.org/resource/women-and-social-security-key-facts)

 

The Supreme Court helps Hot Flash Mamas

The Supreme Court’s decision on Obama’s Health Care Law (actually called the Affordable Care Act) is a win for women and families. So smile a very sweet smile and read what this means for you. This is a quick summary, designed for Hot Flash Financial Mamas (or women “of a certain age and distinction”).

If you have a parent who is elderly, you will be pleased to know that s/he will be able to buy a lot more of her/his prescription drugs at affordable prices. The Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare) closed the “donut hole” for people with Medicare Part D. That hole was created (during the Bush Administration) once elderly people, like your mother, bought more than $2,930 of medicines prescribed for her. So, after your mother’s retail  prescription costs hit $2,931, she “fell into that hole.”  Her next prescription refill cost her much more money. She was not shielded by Medicare’s discount or recommended price. That increase in costs was really hard for elderly people whose income is “fixed” and often limited.

Today, Obama’s Affordable Care Act will continue to close that “donut hole” thanks to the Supreme Court decision. Your mother, and father too,  will  be able to pay less for their prescription drugs, so important as they age.

Wow, that is a great load off your mind.

If you  have adult children who are unable to find a job in the Great Recession, the Obama Affordable Care Act allows them  stay on your health insurance until their 26th birthday.

What a relief for moms (and dads too) to know your young adult children are covered by medical insurance until they find a job that provides medical benefits, or age 26.

And for you, and anyone you help care for, insurance companies can not kick you or your family member off of their coverage because

  1. You or a family member has  reached a lifetime dollar limit, or
  2. You or a child or any other family member has a pre-existing condition. (There is some small print in this part of the bill, a function of negotiation with insurance companies, that delays some of this benefit until 2014. But let’s use this summary to make some of the key points.)
  3. If you pay all your health insurance bills and become sick and disabled, you and your family member can not be denied coverage

More preventive care is covered at no additional costs to women. This includes mammograms.

So let’s celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a law that must have been written for mothers and daughters, to ease their minds about the health of their family.

What will motivate you? A bargain?

Are you one of those girls who wants to get something for free, or at least 20% off.

Well, have we got a bargain for you!

Hot Flash Financial’s 3 step Financial Plan to improve your money situation and your future. Hot Flash Financial offers a major breakthrough. Unlike competitors who offer just one method, we eliminate the discomfort of having too little money when you are 85.

Hot Flash Financial easily removes Money Stress. It is GREAT for any woman with, or without, Hot Flashes.

 

What’s more,  Hot Flash Financial is Absolutely  Free!!! (for more than 30 days).

But Wait! If you click right now, we will give you very professional advice to improve your money situation today and in the future. 
  Advice that you probably know you should follow.
If you click on this site now, we will give you 8 Questions at no additional cost. And we will give you some hints to help you formulate your answers.Then, we will give you the steps you can take to make your life better. You will see the results in 6 weeks or more.
So click on this site now!
You can Buy One and Get one FREE. That way you Girlfriend  can start TODAY!
Who else will give you such important information that will improve your life, while not asking for money from you? Your hairdresser wants to be paid for his/her time. So does the manicurist and pedicurist, your masseuse, doctor, dentist, ….. you name it. 
We at Hot Flash Financial don’t demand cash nor credit to “make your life better.” Take advantage of our offer.”

What will motivate you? Your personality?

Are you  conscientious, emotionally stable, agreeable, an extrovert, who is open to experience?

If so, researchers say that you are likely to be, or  become more financially secure.

Here is a link to a summary of findings at the great  Boston College site.

 

But what if you are not all those things?

What if, somehow you lack one of those great Girl Scout personality traits? You raised your hand and took the pledge, but you knew, deep down inside that you were, well…… human.

Well, we love you here at Hot Flash Financial. We accept you and think you just have to follow the steps we give you! You’ll do fine.

 

Here at Hot Flash Financial we don’t  believe that anyone can be “perfect.”  In fact, we know we are imperfect. After all, we have hot flashes, don’t we?  We believe we have to have a sense of humor about these things. So read about  Using Laughter as a Weapon. It is a crucial part of the Hot Flash improvement plan for Your Financial Security.

So  join us.

Write a comment.

Click around this site.

And get your best friends to read the blogs, write comments and use laughter as a weapon with you. After all, Hot Flash Financial wants you to enjoy a future shared with good friends, and other loved ones, rich with laughter, as well as financial security. So bring the girls in, and start sharing the laughter now!

 

 

 

What will motivate you?

We want you to take yourself seriously. We think you are worth it. So we are going to encourage you to take some time for yourself, and some money for yourself. So you can improve your finances and your future.

We are going to start with a series of blogs that ask you a question? What will motivate you to act in your own self interest? To improve your control over money and your future?

We are going to ask a lot of different questions. We recognize that there is diversity out there. We women have different backgrounds and perspectives, as well as different challenges. Some of us are younger, with hot flashes on the horizon. Others are older, with the heat and frantic fanning a distant memory. Some of us are married, some divorced or widowed and some have never, ever married. There are so  many differences that not all of us can be moved to action with the same set of words.

So read these blogs and focus on the Motivation issue that hits home for you. Is it

  • fear, or a
  • concern you will be a burden to your children? Is it
  • lack of knowledge? Is it that
  • you  have never been employed and relied on your partner for income? Is it that
  • you and your partner argue a lot about money and so you are rightly concerned about opening a Pandora’s box? Is it that you have
  • run into real trouble in the Great Recession–you may be unemployed, and/or your house is worth a lot less than your mortgage, or worse?
  • all of the above or some of the above?
Read our blogs. Comment on them. Click around on our sit. Tell your friends about us. Get them to click around the site too. Get them to join you as you ASK our questions and try to develop ANSWERS. Then ACT! to improve your control over your money and your future.