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Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

One of the more common questions I get as a financial planner who doesn’t sell anything is around the topic of life insurance, specifically whether or not to invest in a whole or universal life policy. Note that I use the word “invest” because I view this decision as a bit of an investing trade-off. Here are my thoughts.

When a doctor friend of mine asked for my thoughts on a whole life insurance policy a while back, a small red flag went up right away — my husband is a physician, and I spend a fair amount of time-fighting off insurance folks on his behalf. When I was selling products during my brief stint as a financial advisor back in 2009, seeing MD behind someone’s name usually signaled “more dollars,” so I’m always leery when my doctor friends mention they’re being pitched insurance. …


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Image credit: author; Olympic National Park

Looking back at my journal entries from this time last year, I was sick. I felt physically limited, weak, stiff and was worried about my longevity. I knew I needed a change, but I also knew from experience that jumping into a new lifestyle was not a sustainable way to address the issue of my physical vitality. I needed a lifestyle overhaul, but it had to happen slowly. And going on a restrictive food diet was NOT going to be the answer. (for more on that, I encourage you to read this book)

Setting an achievable goal

I’m definitely what you might call a “goal getter.” I thrive on checking things off lists and following plans and having concrete next steps, so I wanted to use this to my advantage. I’ve run two marathons, not because I’m much of a runner, but because there was a plan — you run this many miles on these days, and eventually you can do 26.2 in one day, and I did. This mindset can be limiting when you miss the present day because you’re always focused on the next thing, but my ability to focus on the endgame is a strength to play to in many areas of life. …


Woman almost entirely underwater, with her face from the nose up above the surface.
Woman almost entirely underwater, with her face from the nose up above the surface.
Photo by Kyson Dana on Unsplash

I’m a huge believer in the power that examining our personal money beliefs can have in changing not just our financial picture, but our entire life situations — so much so, that it’s really the foundation of the money coaching practice I am building. Here’s my story.

Several years ago, I had an epiphany about how my own deep-seated assumptions and issues with money were literally keeping me from getting ahead financially. One day it just kind of hit me: my annual income had more than doubled over the first ten years of my career and I was still living the same paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. …


Woman in front of a fountain.
Woman in front of a fountain.
Photo of author on vacation, after escaping paycheck to paycheck living

One of my biggest pet peeves is reading or hearing the advice to make your coffee at home if you want to save more money — that’s the quickest way to lose credibility in my professional opinion.

I promise you this isn’t about that.

What it is about is hacking yourself if you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, especially when you do the math and find that, in theory, you should have tons of money left over each month after paying your bills.

I’ve worked with thousands of people on their money, and also personally used to live paycheck to paycheck, so I get it. The trick isn’t to start obsessing over every penny or find a way to go without the little treats of life. Or if you do decide to go that route, success is usually found by making it temporary and going all-in. …


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Photo by Church of the King on Unsplash

Have you ever heard of the “see food” diet? I like to joke that sometimes that’s my diet: I see food and I eat it! The best way for people like me to stick to a plan to eat more nutritiously is to just have the foods I want to eat more of in sight, while limiting the junk food, right?

Well, I also use the “see money” budget to manage my cash flow, and I think a lot of people do this as well, mostly unintentionally: I see money and I spend it. That’s why the only money I keep in my spending account is money that I can afford to spend on discretionary stuff like sushi, wine, cat toys and spa pedicures, while money that I need for things like veterinary expenses, car problems and groceries is separated out. …


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Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

If you’ve ever taken the time to categorize your monthly spending, chances are you had a similar reaction that I did when I realized how much we spend on food each month — disbelief with a side of regret, anyone? It’s just the hubs and I for now, and we are pretty good about eating in, at least compared to a lot of our DINK (dual income, no kids) friends, so I’m always shocked when our grocery spending sometimes tops what I’d expect a family of four to spend.

The fact is, food is expensive and who wants to walk around the grocery store with a calculator? There are ways to counteract that by planning your menu around the grocery store sales, buying in bulk, etc., but sometimes life is just too busy or you have to go with what’s available during a pandemic. …


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Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Studies show that women have better investing outcomes than men, despite claiming less knowledge and confidence, which I find fascinating. These stats also make me feel quite smug about the countless conversations I’ve had with men who just can’t help but monkey around with their investments, thinking that they can time the market and get out before “the crash” and get back in before it bounces back. You might get that right once or twice, but multiple times throughout your savings years? Unlikely.

The reason I think that women’s outcomes tend to be better over the long run is really just because we get there almost by default — in general, women tend to be more cautious and shy away from going big in areas where we don’t feel 100% confident that we know what the heck is going on, which means we tend to invest and then just let it ride. The majority of the women I work with on investing choices and education are actually doing everything just fine, they just don’t know it. That can feel strange, especially for women who are used to hustling for success, but long-term investing actually rewards laziness. …


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Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

It’s no doubt that there is no greater time to be a woman in the history of our civilization — I agree that there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be alive right now as who I am today. It’s true that there continue to be barriers for women, particularly women of color, but generally speaking, we have more choices today than ever before. In fact, we have so many choices that it can often lead to a tremendous amount of second-guessing and anxiety.

Saying yes is also saying no

In today’s society where we get to see how everyone else’s choices play out on carefully curated Instagram feeds, it’s waaaay too easy to get caught up in second-guessing our choices. The fact of the matter is, whenever we say yes to something in our lives, we are also saying no to possibly several other possibilities or paths. …


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Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

One of the first lessons I teach when doing women’s money workshops and circles is about cultivating an abundance mindset. For those of us who are in a more economically secure position during a period of temporary and possibly permanent income loss for others, this is the perfect time to be practicing what the abundance mindset really means.

Trusting that all will be provided for you and releasing fear-based attachment to false feelings of safety will be one way that we can heal the economic impact of this world crisis and hopefully keep it to a minor blip in the history of those we care about. …


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Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

When you hear the word ‘risk’ in the context of investing, what usually comes to mind is the risk that you’ll lose some or all of your investment. The blind spot that many people have here is that there are more risks to investing than just the risk of loss, which is technically called “market risk.” There are actually three kinds of risk to which investments are subjected: market risk, inflation risk and emotional risk.

Every investment has some type of risk

Every investment, including investing in a house, an education, a savings account, or a stock, is subject to at least one kind of risk. When people get nervous about the markets getting crazy, they often go looking for a “safe” investment, typically cash. …

About

Kelley C. Long

CFP & CPA writing about money & how it fits into life based on my work with everyday people as a financial coach. www.financialblisscoach.com

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