Financial Security for Women 101: Know Where You Are

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Although the intent of this series is to help the average woman develop the basic financial skills, there are people of both sexes, from all walks of life, that opt to allow others (or no one) to manage their finances. It may be 'easier' on the surface to be disconnected from the stress of financial management, but ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your money and your future.

It is our sincere wish that everyone have a happy, wonderful life with none of the pitfalls inherent in our modern lifestyle such as divorce, job loss, illness and death. But unless your name is Cinderella, you need to understand that there are harsh realities you need to prepare for. This is not fiction we're writing here.

One of the first steps on your journey to financial security is to know what your present state of affairs is. Otherwise, how can you map out a success strategy if you don't know where your starting point is? Even Dorothy had a starting point to escape from Oz. It may be unpleasant to face reality, but you gotta know.

Make a file, a notebook- some kind of recordkeeping device that works for you. You can buy books for that purpose, use a computer program, whatever. The important thing is that it be comfortable and easy for you. Don't add to your stress by trying to use a system that takes a lot of effort on your part to work with. My husband likes to do his recordkeeping on the computer but I prefer a notepad and simple accounting ledger.

The next thing to do is find out how much money you have right now in cash, checking and savings accounts. If you are the bill payer for your household, this should be easy, but if you've not been involved in that process previously, you may encounter resistance, even suspicion. It may take a diplomatic effort on your part to reassure your mate that your intentions are honorable. Each partner in any domestic relationship has both a right and responsibility to participate in the financial processes of the partnership. Just as you wouldn't invest in a business then blindly allow someone else to control the money, it is unwise to invest in a relationship with fruits of your labor yet not have a hand in the investment process at home.

When you think of investments, you may think stocks and bonds, but in truth, everything you spend money on is an investment. Buying groceries, paying doctor bills is an investment in your health. That big screen TV you've been wanting would be an investment in your entertainment. Getting up every day and going to work to earn a paycheck is an investment in your financial welfare. Paying bills is an investment in your good credit. Paying the electric bill is an investment in keeping the lights on. Instead of seeing things as expenses, consider them as investments. This is important as it programs your mind to see each expenditure as important and worthy of consideration.

Just as there are good investments that benefit you in both the short and long term, there are poor investments that would rob you of your security. Investing paycheck dollars in alcohol down at the local pub night after night may be an investment in your entertainment, but it is a poor investment long term as the return on your investment would likely be unpaid bills, poor health, possible addiction, legal bills from DUI's and a whole bunch of 'friends' who spend a lot of their resources on that sort of thing as well. Spending money for unnecessary items just to satisfy your desire for something new falls into this category. So does paying with a credit card and racking up big bills if you can't afford to pay them off in a timely fashion.

Speaking stocks and bonds...and retirement accounts, anything considered an investment for the future, you need to know what the value is. This could be as simple as looking at the most recent statement of that account or if it's your twenty year collection of Elvis dolls, having a competent, trustworthy appraisal done. You should make copies of all documentation and keep the originals in a safe place. This way you will have copies of the account numbers and a history record should it be needed. Be sure to include life insurance accounts in this search. Term life insurance does not accrue cash value, but it is good to know what you would have available to you if your loved one dies. Find out when the term of the insurance expires and what renewal options may exist. Whole life insurance accumulates a cash value over time as well.

Next, find out exactly what your total monthly household income is. All payments should be considered, and a copy made of the most recent statements should be added to your file.

Last but most importantly, is to find out where your money is going. Every last dime of it. Not only from the monthly bills, but everyday expenses. It's not a lot of fun, but keep a little notebook handy for a month and track expenses. You need your partner to do the same as well or at least give you the receipts so you can track things. If you meet a lot of resistance, you may have to resort to asking questions, making estimates or, as a last resort, snooping around to find out. This may be the least desirable approach, but every cent that gets spent in your household is an investment in your future. You have the right to know.

Once you have completed the information gathering process, you will begin to have an idea of your true financial health. The next step in this series will be to conduct an honest, straightforward appraisal of your financial health.

One of the first steps on your journey to financial security is to know what your present state of affairs is. Otherwise, how can you map out a success strategy if you don't know where your starting point is? One important part of this evaluation process is to consider all income and expenditures an investment in your future, good or bad, so you can invest wisely.

About the Author

Karen Walker is a wellness consultant and author. She works from her home in western Montana. She and her husband, Lynn McCormick, maintain websites to help those whose lives have been upset by catastrophic health events.


*?Mrs. Morrow?* 20.01.2007. 17:29

How do I start my own business? I am a student right now, majoring in Web Design. I want to be a freelance web designer, but I do eventually want to build a business out of it. After a few years I want to have a decent client base and I want to start hiring people on right out of school to help them get the experience they need sence it's kinda hard to get a job without it.

I have big dreams for this, but I want to know what i need to do to make a business out of it. Do I need an IRS number? How do I get one? How do I know how much to take out for taxes? I need to know everything lol.

*?Mrs. Morrow?*

Admin 20.01.2007. 17:29

The first thing you need to do is IGNORE the first answerer who said " open up a business, and that the Government will pay us, just one time (I do believe it is a One time Grant)" as there is NO SUCH THING in the United States. That is misinformation at its worst perpetuated by scammers targeting the gullible (see the Federal Trade Commission warning on these companies promising grant monies and )

There are no grants to help you start a business. From the SBA website

"The U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. (See for more information) While SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments."

As to your question on whether you need an IRS number --

Generally, businesses need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or federal tax identification number. The EIN is used to identify a business entity such as a corporation, LLC, or partnership. Sole proprietorships that need to pay federal excise of employment taxes are required to get an EIN.

On the other hand, sole proprietors with no employees are not required to get an EIN, and can instead use their Social Security numbers.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) web site at,,id=98350,00.html contains all the information you need about EIN and how to apply for an EIN electronically.

If you need to know everything, I suggest you you go to the library or the bookstore and start reading these books

- What No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business: Real Life Start-Up Advice from 101 Successful Entrepreneurs
- If You're Clueless About Starting Your Own Business and Want to Know More
- Start Your Own Business : The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need
- Steps to Small Business Start-Up : Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea into a Successful Business

It may help you if you could talk with a small business expert or free mentors to give you ideas on how to make your dream of starting a business come true even without money. Here are some places where you can find a mentor:

- Government Mentoring Programs such as SBDCs, which works with community colleges and local business development councils to offer mentoring programs ; or the Women's Network for Entrepreneurial Training
- Volunteer programs such as SCORE which is composed of mostly retired executives and entrepreneurs
- Formal mentoring programs such as Athena Foundation , Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program , or The Aspen Institute MicroMentor Program
- Professional organizations such as the National Women?s Business Council
- Industry and trade associations
- Local business groups, such as the chamber of commerce
- Local chapters of business groups


Buck 11.06.2013. 11:48

When you see people on welfare, what thoughts pass through your mind? Just wondering. Cause my thoughts are all negative


Admin 11.06.2013. 11:48

I interview people whose great ambition in life is to get SSI - not social security, SSI is for people who never worked.
The great ambition of their relatives is for them to get SSI ($710 per month, plus a boatload of other welfare benefits) - they tell us that.

They wake up every morning saying "Gee, I hope I get the Golden ticket today.'

I have 500 families on my caseload, and 100 SSI people in the households.
~ ~ ~

Myth: Most welfare recipients are on benefits a short time.
Let me make that clearer.
At any one time 80% of any given caseload is chronic, repeat for one or more lifetimes.
80% of the money being spent at any one moment in time, is for the chronic, constantly needy, needy by choice, more than circumstances.
The other 20% comes and goes on a regular basis, in one door, out the other, never to be seen again.
At any moment in time, only 20% of the total, but over a long stretch (say five years), most of the ones helped were short timers, came and went, just like the myth says, most of the recipients on a short time,. . . . . . . but they only use 20% of the total funds available.
80% of the financial help available, goes to those ?few bad apples.?
That does not sound like a good taxpayer investment to me.
It seems to me the lion share of the money should be spent on the temporarily poor, the poor by circumstances, more than choice.

~ ~
(Per the SSA reference below - SSI and children - "On average, SSI payments accounted for nearly 48 percent of the family income of SSI children,")
For all families with SSI children, SSI is nearly half of ALL income.
SSI and children.
~ ~

~ ~
Growth in Medicaid mental health spending has ironically resulted in less money for the mental health care safety net.
Medicaid has evolved into one of the most important components of the health care safety net for people with mental disorders. The creation of the Medicaid program in 1965 began a process that fundamentally changed the rules governing the U.S. public mental health care system.

People with mental disorders make up approximately 34 percent (or 1.2 million) of SSI beneficiaries ages 18?64.4 Since the late 1980s the fastest-growing components of SSI enrollment have been people with mental disorders and musculoskeletal impairments.5 Thus, Medicaid is an important payer for care for some of the most impaired people with mental disorders in the United States.
The linking of Medicaid to SSI in 1972 allowed Medicaid to develop a central role in the provision of care to a large segment of severe and persistently mentally ill people. Medicaid introduced an insurance-like mechanism for paying for mental health care to a mental health delivery system dominated by public mental hospitals. Some psychiatric patients had a choice of providers for the first time. Also, the economic calculus for state governments changed with respect to financing of mental health care

~ ~
How much does a welfare family of 3 have in income?
$21,996 per year.
If she were working she would have to earn at least $30,000 per year - probably more.
That is $14.40 per hour.
There are a lot of variables.
I choose Washington state, and have the children both under age five. The woman is paying $250 rent, and I did not count anything for HUD or section 8.
I assumed that the woman lived with family members and paid them $250 rent and help with the utilities a little - maybe $50 per month.
If she were getting housing help, it could easily increase another $5000 per year.
If she were in a work program, she would have day care, and that would increase her welfare benefits.
To keep it simple, I assumed the woman is claiming a disability and exempted from the work program.

A family of three, with no income, would receive a monthly TANF grant of $478.
Based on subsidized rent of $250?????.food stamps would be $526.00
LIHEAP (energy assistance would be $1000 per year, $83.00 per month.
WIC (children to age 5) Washington average monthly benefit $41.64 x 2 = $83.28$.htm
The average cost of Medicaid for one adult and two children $663.66


*~Jessica~* 04.10.2006. 20:37

Hindu weddings? Does anyone know the traditions of a Hindu wedding? Such as:
Is it an arranged marriage?
Who pays for the wedding?
Living arrangements following?
What they wear?

anything along those lines. Thanks


Admin 04.10.2006. 20:37

. The dowry was designed as a form of financial security for the bride, in the case of her marriage failing. It is usually made up of a certain number of outfits, jewellery and items for the home. However this changed into more of a 'market value' pricing system, and as a result of many 'bride-burnings' in the Subcontinent, the traditional dowry has officially been banned in India.

2. Henna painting of the bride's hands often includes the initials of her betrothed. The couple then search for the initials on the wedding night. This is a game that is played to make the bride and groom more relaxed and at ease with each other.

3. A few days before the wedding, a traditional 'mehndi evening' is held at the bride's home. This is when the female relatives gather to sing songs to celebrate the impending marriage and to paint the bride's hands and feet. It is also the time the bride is 'cleansed' with a special turmeric based paste. Once her whole body has been rubbed with the paste, the bride is supposed to only wear her oldest clothes and not leave the house until the day of the wedding.

4. The turmeric-based paste is believed to have beautifying and skin-lightening properties and even the groom is not exempt. In a separate ceremony, the groom will also be "cleansed" with it by female members of his own family.

5. During the wedding ceremony it is traditional for the bride's sisters and cousins to steal the groom's shoes. These are only returned to him in exchange for a fee - usually gold-rings for sisters and silver rings for cousins or more commonly, money!

6. Any cash gifts for the bride and groom should never be round figures. It is considered auspicious to give Rs () 1001, Rs () 501, Rs ()101 or even Rs () 51.

7. In a traditional Hindu ceremony the bride and groom must take seven circles around the holy fire. The groom chants mantras (holy verses) with each step. Through these mantras he seeks his bride's support and makes a particular request with each step.

8. The groom's family arrives amidst a blaze of singing and dancing (in Hindu weddings he is usually on a white horse) called a 'baraat'. Each of the elder members of the family greets their equivalent, with a traditional garlanding and gift presentation ceremony.

9. At the end of the wedding ceremony the groom will sprinkle red powder (kumkum) in a parting in the brides hair. This, and a red bindi, signifies a married woman.

10. Hindu weddings can only take place on auspicious days, hence the need to consult with a priest to determine the best date for a wedding.


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