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Women Entrepreneurs Overcome Pandemic Challenges

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com for Unsplash

Women entrepreneurs reveal lessons from the pandemic and how they dealt with unprecedented times” focuses on women entrepreneurs in India. It highlights their businesses and the lessons they’ve learned as they navigate the pandemic as entrepreneurs.

Several entrepreneurs used a word we hear a lot in these times: pivot. Depending on your business and area of expertise, a pivot can be somewhat challenging or seem almost impossible. While some people found it easy to deliver their services online others may have had to revamp their entire business model to meet pandemic conditions.

Saying No: Some might say being inundated with opportunities and requests is a good problem to have…but it is not so good if you find you cannot say no. In the uncertainty of a pandemic, it could feel like you have to say yes even more than before since you cannot be certain of repeat business. However, if you quality of life or the quality of your work suffers, you will need to turn down some opportunities.

Relating to employees: Entrepreneurs who were used to talking to employees in person have had to find ways to work with employees remotely. A pharmaceutical executive spoke about how her industry has previously been slow to digitize and this provided challenges but she concluded, “Our people truly came through in all aspects and proved yet again the importance of hiring the right people and empowering them!”

Continuing despite challenges: One of the main lessons these women entrepreneurs have taken away from the pandemic so far is the need to keep going. They have had to remain flexible and e creative as they rose to the challenge of staying in business.

No matter what you have been doing, whether it is growing a business or maintaining your family finances as best you can, do not look down on all that you have accomplished. As the HerStory.com article suggests, “The skills developed during this period will help us navigate the next few years after the pandemic scare has passed.”

George Washington’s Senior Citizen Startup

In “Redefine Retirement with New Lingo” we discussed boomerang entrepreneurs, a term for people who start businesses one the retire from their previous career. While the term may be new, this idea is not new at all.  Many people, including George Washington, the first president of the United States, decide to get into new entrepreneurial ventures at a mature age.

Photo by Stephen Walker on Unsplash

Washington was born on February 22 and is one of the presidents celebrated on the President’s Day holiday. He is mainly known for his political achievements so some people do not know about his life as a business man.  SmallBusiness.com chronicles this other side of our first president in “10 Amazing Facts About George Washington’s 2nd Most Successful Startup.” He started a commercial distillery on his Mount Vernon estate at the age of 65, even though he did not prior experience of running a distillery. Washington knew about farming and his farm manager, “…convinced Washington that Mount Vernon’s crops, combined with its large commercial gristmill and the abundant water supply, would make the distillery a profitable venture.”

One key to the success of Washington’s distillery was that he had some of the raw materials needed, including land, the gristmill, and a water source, already available. SmallBusiness.com also points out that it was successful because of timing. When the distillery started, whiskey was overtaking rum in popularity, so Washington began this venture at a good time. He also sold his product in a barrels and did not pay for bottles, labels, or branding.

Unfortunately, as the article points out “Washington’s distillery lacked the succession planning to keep in operational.” (Note that a Fee-only financial planner is one of the professionals you can consult about succession planning for your business.) After Washington died, the distillery was sold and later what was left of the building caught fire. Another working distillery has been constructed in the spot where the original stood and it is part of the Mount Vernon historic site.

Do Your Research to Avoid Tax Season Tumult

Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post offered advice for what may be a tumultuous tax season for some people and a “supersize list of some of the issues people will face this year” in “Tax season 2021: A tornado is coming.” 

Really, you do not have to fear if you have already been working with a Fee-only financial planner. And there is still time to get help from a financial planning expert for this year and for the years to come. Here are some things to consider:

File electronically if you can: The general advice this year is to file your taxes electronically. Because of staffing issues and slowdowns with the IRS and the postal service, your return will be processed much more quickly if you file electronically.

Research claiming stimulus payments: If you were owed a stimulus payment and either did not receive one or did not receive the full payment you were owed, you can claim your stimulus payment on your taxes.  Singletary gives clear directions on an article entitles, “To claim your stimulus payment, look for Line 30 on your 1040 tax form.” 

Those who got the entire stimulus owed to them in the first and second rounds do NOT have to do anything.

Also, college students can claim stimulus payments in certain circumstances if they are supporting themselves financially. Those who have parents paying more than half of their expenses cannot claim a stimulus payment.

Be prepared to pay taxes on unemployment benefits: Some people may not have realized that unemployment benefits are subject to taxes. In the event that you calculate your taxes and realize you owe more than you can pay, you should still file your taxes on time.

Verify whether you can claim a home office deduction: Some people assumed that since once they started working from home due to the pandemic, they would be able to get a home-office deduction but this is not the case. Singletary writes, “You can take a home-office deduction only if you’re self-employed, an independent contractor or a gig worker.” 

The Connection Between Love and Your Money Mindset

As a champion of holistic financial decision making and financial planning since 2004 that believes in putting the client’s needs first, Clarity Financial Planning wants you to consider both love and money this Valentine’s Day. And we don’t just mean romantic love because there are other types of love that can affect your financial habits.

In a November 2020 article, “Love and Money—and How They’re Connected,” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) helps readers make connections between these two things observing, “Our relationships with people are often reflected to money. For good and ill.” The WSJ suggests “honest self-reflection about your relationship history (starting with mom and dad) and the role money inevitably played.” According to the article, financial gains and losses are activated in the same part of the brain as our romantic ups and downs. Even if you don’t consciously connect love and money, your subconscious mind is linking the two.

The article includes a link to an assessment tool developed by a certified financial planner who is also a psychologist. This tool “can provide you with a broad brush stroke of your money mind-set.” If you just live and spend without reflection, you may never realize that they way you think about money could be preventing you from reaching your financial goals.

One expert interviewed for the article suggests automating much of your financial life. As you explore the reasons behind your spending style and the decisions you make, you can make sure your financial obligations are met by paying bills and setting aside savings automatically.

This Valentine’s Day consider the concept of self-love as you examine your financial habits and look at what you can do to create more financial stability for yourself. Make a plan to do what you need to in order to move yourself closer to your financial goals.

Women in Business: Cathy Hughes of Urban One, Inc.

Cathy Hughes is the first African American woman to run a media company that is included in the U.S. Stock Exchange and her path to this achievement was not a simple one. Hughes’s company, Urban One Inc., houses a number of brands including Radio One, TV One, iOneDigital, and CLEO TV. She is an inspiration to other entrepreneurs, specifically women who want to run businesses.

Photo: CathyHughes.com

Hughes began her career at a black radio station in her native Omaha, Nebraska. She caught the attention of Howard University and she came to the DC area to teach and be the school’s Assistant Dean of Communication. After that, Hughes went on to work at other radio stations in the DC area.

When Hughes and her then-husband wanted to own a radio station and not work for one that someone else owned, they ran into some challenges. Thirty-two banks turned down their requests for a loan. When they did find a bank willing to lend them money, Hughes had to compromise on the station offerings: she wanted a talk radio station but her funding source wanted a music station. Hughes was able to have a talk show in the morning and then the station played music for the rest of the day.

This professional triumph was followed by a personal challenge: Hughes went through a divorce not long after the deal to buy the station was finalized. Hughes was able to buy her former husband’s share of the station but she was low on funds. She ended up living in the station with her son. Hughes persevered despite this difficulty in her personal finances. When the station did become profitable, its gains were mostly because of Hughes’ morning talk show.

As Founder and Chairperson on Urban One, Hughes has continued to grow and expand her business. The son who watched her managed the company from a young age is now Urban One’s President/CEO/Treasurer. Hughes, the woman who originally wanted to own one talk radio station, still finds time to appear on the radio doing public service announcements that air on her various radio stations.

What is Your Long-Term Investment Strategy?

We don’t have tips on that one thing you absolutely must invest in because everyone knows it is sure to bring big returns. Your investment choices depend on a number of factors including: how much you have to invest, your age, your tolerance for risk, and your values.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

What we can do is look at some trends for the upcoming year. According to Kiplinger.com, big-name tech companies may not be leading as they have in the past. You don’t have to get rid of stock in large tech companies, however. You should consider looking at smaller companies in emerging area such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

Forbes.com advises that investors not “overreact to the news but be ready for the unexpected.” And even with all of the investment advice being offered Forbes.com also suggests that this is a time to make sure to have enough emergency savings on hand. This is particularly good advice for people who were worried or sold investments in a panic during the last year.

The Motley Fool also offers tried and true investment advice that is especially relevant during these especially unpredictable times. They suggest that readers diversify their portfolios since overinvesting in one segment of the stock market can be offer more risk than needed. They also think that investors should invest based on their age, The Motley Fool suggests that the investment decisions you make in 2021 “should tie into your long-term strategy” because in general investors choose investments that they can hold onto for years. It is important to think in terms of what will happen in decades and not solely focus on how a stock will perform in the coming year.

If you don’t have a long-term investment strategy, consider working with a Fee-Only financial planner to outline your long-term financial goals.

Redefine Retirement with New Lingo

RealSimple.com answers the question “What is “Phased Retirement?” and points readers to other retirement-related phrases that might be new to them. Exposure to these phrases is not simply a way to learn new lingo; some of these phrases might introduce readers to ways to envision retirement.

Boomerang Entrepreneur: A retiree who stops working and starts a business of their own is a boomerang entrepreneur. The article notes “Data from AARP shows that of the 76 million people who are 50-plus and nearing retirement, half are interested in starting their own businesses.”

Negative Inheritance: When adult children have to cover their parents’ retirement expenses, it is referred to as a negative inheritance. This is something that can be avoided with careful financial planning.

Phased Retirement: With phased retirement, workers get the benefits of flexible hours, a continued income stream, and keeping in touch with the workplace without the pressures of typical full-time employment. Organizations get to keep experienced workers around for their knowledge.

Playcheck: This is a fun new term for something retirees have done for years. You get a “playcheck” when you take on temporary or part-time work to earn extra money. This work isn’t about career goals; it’s just about having extra cash to spend.

SKIers: This also isn’t a new concept but the acronym might be new to you. SKI stands for “Spending the Kids’ Inheritance.” There are people who decide to spend their wealth in their golden years rather than making sure they leave their children with a sizable inheritance. There are a number of reasons for this. The article suggest that some parents do this when their children live far above the parents’ means. There are also cases where parents do this in an attempt to preserve family unity: they spend their wealth so their children will not be able to squabble over it later.

Are You Ready for Changes in Recruiting and Hiring?

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

The Washington Post reported on “Six ways your office will be different in 2021, assuming you ever go back to it.” An important part of what may change for some people in the coming years is recruiting and salary negotiation. Solid financial planning can help you weather changes in hiring and compensation.

Some employees have remained in the same area and worked from home during the pandemic.  Others moved to different cities while they continued to work for the same organizations. In many cases, salary remained the same whether employees stayed in the area or not. This may change for some people. According to the The Washington Post, “…an October survey by advisory firm Willis Towers Watson found that 26 percent of respondents said they would base compensation on location for remote workers.” In other words, if you moved to an area with a lower cost of living your employer may lower your salary.

There is no need to panic. The respondents to that survey do not represent all companies. Some employers may take a different approach. Employees who have moved to areas with a lower cost of living may find that they are not getting the kind of raises they could have expected had they not moved. And one expert commented that people who are getting paid less after they move still have the option to look for other jobs.

That is another interesting development. Employees are able to work remotely across the nation so employers will be looking nationwide for talent. You won’t be just competing with people who are nearby but with workers all over the country. 

It is always good to be informed of what the salary range is for your type of work so you know if what is being offered measures up. You have to consider the benefits being offered as well. And remote workers also need to be aware of what kind of costs they will be responsible for such as internet service. While employers may reduce overhead and office space, remote employees are picking up the slack because they need to have their own office supplies and pay for their own electricity.

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