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When you’re investing in the financial markets, it’s not possible to accurately predict what will happen in the future. Instead, investors rely on technical and fundamental analysis to make informed decisions.

Fundamental analysis involves looking at the economic and financial data, then using this information to estimate what will happen in the future. Technical analysis, on the other hand, relies on mathematical calculations to help the traders estimate how the price will move. This article will compare the two types of analysis.

Fundamental Analysis

A good way to explain fundamental analysis in forex is to give an example of two countries. Country A has a thriving economy with falling unemployment, increased productivity, and an improved manufacturing sector. Country B, however, is not doing well. Its unemployment rate is rising and the economy is slowing.  If you choose to invest in either of these two countries, you would probably prefer Country A. And if you invest there, the demand for its currency will go up, which will make its value rise.

In fundamental analysis, traders receive different types of economic information, and their role is to interpret how the it might affect the market. Examples of economic data that moves the market are employment numbers, manufacturing activities, inflation, and interest rates. Political news like an election or a change in key government ministers can also move markets.

Technical Analysis

This type of analysis relies on indicators that are derived from mathematical calculations. There are three main types of indicators. First, trend indicators are used to show the formation of a trend, or when a reversal is about to happen. Examples are moving averages, parabolic SAR, and Average Directional Index. Second, oscillators are used to identify the extremes of asset prices. Examples are the Relative Strength Index, Stochastics, and Relative Vigor Index. Third, volume indicators are used to measure the activity of the market. Examples are On Balance Volume, and Accumulation & Distribution. While these indicators are derived from complex mathematics, it is not necessary for a trader to understand the mathematics behind them.

Applying the Two

There are traders who believe in combining the two types of analysis and traders who prefer to use them separately. For example, Warren Buffet believes in using fundamental concepts when investing. His method is to buy good quality undervalued companies and hold them for a long time. He does not apply technical analysis. On the other hand, fund manager James Simmons, who manages more than $30 billion of assets, believes in technical analysis. The same is true with many other quantitative-focused traders.

Technical analysis is ideal for traders who are focused on the price and profiting for the short-term. Their goal is not to understand the fundamental details of the assets; instead, the technical analysis of the price. If the technical indicators show that an asset will move up, they buy and then exit once that goal is reached. However, even for them, it is important to have a brief understanding of what is going on in the wider market.

Fundamental analysis is also ideal for day traders, swing traders, and long-term traders. For example, a day trader can use the economic calendar to make a trading decision when the US Federal Reserve is releasing interest rates decision or when a company is releasing its earnings. Long-term traders on the other hand can use the economic data to determine whether a currency pair or asset will continue doing well.

Final Thoughts

It is important to understand these two types of analysis. Even if you just focused on price, understanding the fundamentals will help you avoid making simple trading mistakes. For example, it will help you avoid initiating a trade when a major data is about to be released. For long-term traders, having a good understanding of technical factors can be an asset, too.

The post Fundamental and Technical Analysis Compared appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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What’s this?

Another ticket giveaway from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s family-friendly theater series?

Why, yes. Yes, it is. There’s so much good theater coming up right around the corner that we actually have not one, but TWO live giveaways for some amazing shows. The first is Leo–a mind-bending performance that plays with gravity and illusion. Read more about the show or enter to win tickets to Leo here.

The second is Rosie Revere, Engineer.

Swoon, my feminist heart.

Rosie Revere, Engineer.

Here’s what you need to know about the show, which is coming to various locations for a total of nine performances throughout the Pittsburgh region between March 31 and April 7, 2019:

Ms. Greer’s classroom includes three inquisitive out-of-the-box thinkers. Rosie Revere has big dreams, Iggy Peck has a relentless passion for architecture, and Ada Twist’s curiosity can drive her teacher crazy. A fun new musical based on the books Rosie Revere, Engineer, Iggy Peck, Architect and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty which spotlights the STEM curriculum (focusing on science, technology, engineering and math).

Content Information: This event is designated for younger audiences and is recommended for children and adults ages 4+. This show features acting, movement, music, singing, and comedy. The theater is darkened during the performance with light and movement occurring on stage.

Win tickets here!

If you know  you want to see the show and don’t want to leave your attendance to chance, you can purchase tickets here. They start at just $12.

However, Femme Frugality is hosting a ticket giveaway for this show in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust! You can use the widget below to enter for you chance to win a package of four (4) tickets to see Rosie Revere, Engineer when it comes to Allegheny county.

The giveaway will be open through March 25th, 2019. Best of luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post #Win Tickets to Rosie Revere, Engineer in #Pittsburgh appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Marketing a business comes next to developing useful products and services for the consumers. Without a clear and well-defined strategy, competitors can swiftly come in and capture the target audience. The Google Consumer Barometer says that 22% of target audience purchase products and services online, while the rest still depend on offline channels. This makes offline marketing strategies an important aspect.

Marketing strategies should be a well-balanced effort for lead generation, because people who do not engage with products on the web constitute a significant portion of the consumer demographics, says an expert at Print Banners, a leading provider of high-quality and affordable business banners.

It is for this reason that marketing experts advise printing custom banners and creative vinyl banners for businesses to gain a wider exposure. This has to be done in tandem with content marketing and SEO strategies.

Make your Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Physical branding is important to place the brand in the customer’s mind; opportunities for that is all around us. Customized apparel is huge these days, and they help create a sense of belonging or affiliation for employees. Products with brand logos can be distributed as gifts among employees; many companies have resorted to special web stores, where employees can choose from different products for friends and family. This is a good way to advertise the company to outsiders and create a unique brand image. You will be able to project your company as one which cares about its employees. It is important that these promotional items be of good quality and something useful on a day-to-day basis.

Trade Shows

Trade shows puts businesses under the same roof as the competitors. They also bring businesses face-to-face with customers; both existing and potential ones. Printing custom or vinyl business banners shouldn’t be excluded, along with digital marketing tools like explainer videos and social media tags. One of the oldest forms of advertising, banners are great for industry events like these. Nowadays, vinyl banners can be printed and delivered on the same day. They are highly customizable and rip-resistant.

Community Event Sponsoring

Take the lead and sponsor an industry event to gain wide-spread traction in print media and news channels. Of course this is expensive, and should be done after careful research and consideration. This is a great way to get involved with social issues. For example, sponsoring a fundraiser for the benefit of cancer patients or people affected by a natural disaster in any part of the world will make consumers associate with the brand more. You can distribute business cards, branded items, discount coupons, gift certificates and pamphlets to event participants. This will enable increased word-of-mouth referrals and visibility.

Over the last five years, there has been a paradigm shift in marketing, with the rise of social media channels. Also, the growing use of high-end smartphones have causes changes in the search behavior of the target audience. Despite these advancements, experts believe that the marketing efforts of companies should be a mix of online and offline channels. The consistency in these campaigns boosts brand recall and promotes sales.

The post Useful Offline Marketing Strategies to Boost Business Sales appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Step and repeat banners and stands can be used as effective backdrops for your company’s booth at trade shows and other events. Such backdrops enable businesses to showcase their brand and increase awareness regarding their products and services. The key is to design the banner with your company’s logo, name and contact information clearly visible, says New York Banners, a reputed step and repeat banner printing service in NYC.

There are several things that you need to consider while choosing a step and repeat banner, not the least of which is your budget. Here’s a look at some key considerations.

1.   Size

Step and repeat backdrops have a standard height of 8 feet, although the width can be customized as per your needs. Whether you want a wide backdrop or a narrow one will depend on the space available and your budget. And, while designing, keep in mind that if the backdrop is a wide one, people are less likely to look the information or images in the corners. On the other hand, an entire group of people can get their picture clicked at once in front of a wide backdrop.

However, smaller backdrops also have advantages. You can fit them in small spaces, such as behind a trade show booth. And, they’re obviously more portable and cost-effective. Also, you’ll have greater flexibility with small backdrops. If you’re at a big event, you can choose a panel design by joining two or more smaller backdrops to form a wide display. But, if the space is less, you can set up them one as single panels.

2.   Logo

Your logo should be clearly visible, even from a distance. Make sure that the print is high quality, such that there is no blurring of any logo element. For this, only use pictures and graphics with high resolution to avoid pixilation on resizing. Logos in a step and repeat banner and stand should ideally be 5-7 inches tall and 9-11 inches wide and should be displayed in a repeating pattern.

3.   Color Scheme

Ink causes much more reflection than the white or grey vinyl on which it is printed. Therefore, the glare will be much less if you don’t have a colored background. However, if you want your background to be colorful, so that your backdrop looks brighter, then you should choose fabric instead of vinyl for your backdrop material to avoid any glare.

4.   Ease of Assembly

Ease of assembly is very important, since you wouldn’t want to struggle with setting up your backdrop at the last moment. A poorly set up backdrop could even fall on the people and cause you great embarrassment at the event. Therefore, when you choose a custom step and repeat backdrop banner printing company, such as those in NYC, check if they offer banners that can be quickly assembled without any hassle.

Custom banners are a very powerful marketing tool to engage your target audience. A few photographs at the right event can take your brand’s visibility to the next level. And, they can also be a great way to give a hip look to your trade show booth.

The post Tips on Choosing the Best Step and Repeat Banners appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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Hey, guys! March 8th is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, I got together with some fab personal finance bloggers to arrange a blog tour. Each one of us answered the question, “Why is financial independence important to you as a woman?”

Keep scrolling to read Robin’s piece. It’s deep, and will definitely leave you thinking about money on another level.

Want to check out other posts in this blog tour? You can do so here:

“As an Asian immigrant woman, I have to survive on my own and have learned not to use my background to lower my ambition.”

Elise on brokeGIRLrich

“When we were fighting over where to live, he ended the fight one day by just going out and buying a condo.”

Mel on Mastering the Side Jam

 

“You’re forced into poverty. You learn to get by on what little you have. There is no pathway to financial independence. And that’s not okay.”

Femme Frugality on A Dime Saved

“Women have worked so hard for the rights that were begrudgingly given to us. Let us not relinquish them. Even in our minds.”

Robyn on Little Seeds of Wealth

And now, without further ado, I introduce you to Robin from Mastering the Side Jam:

Why Financial Independence is Important to Me as a Gen X Woman

In honor of International Women’s Day, a group of female writers were asked to share why financial independence is important to them as women. I decided to participate, knowing my story might be a bit different than others in my age range. I’m located squarely within the Generation X era, generally considered to be middle-aged.

Far enough from youth that one would assume I’d have a fair amount of knowledge and wisdom. And while I won’t exactly dispute that, I will say I’ve worn my share of blinders over the years.

But also, I love having opportunities like this, as it provides a venue to experience and share many unique perspectives. Because every story is different. Every scenario weighted and affected by millions of decision points. Not one person has a life, or background, or “why” precisely the same as someone else’s. We are a product of our genetics, upbringing, influences, experiences, actions, choices, and challenges.

So why is financial independence important to me specifically?

I think it essentially comes down to how complicated life can sometimes become. Because for all the planning, and education, and best-laid plans …. well, you’ve probably heard the end of that phrase. No matter how much time you’ve spent in painstaking preparation, things don’t always go the way you expect them to.

Family Structures

Case in point: I am in a long-term, committed relationship. However, I am not married. Our relationship has lasted a lot longer than the marriages of some friends and peers. But just the same, we have no legal document saying we are responsible for, or indebted to, one another.

In addition, I’ve been the parent of two children who are not my own. I chose to raise them, provide for them, support them emotionally and financially. That was my decision. Do they owe me anything? No, of course not. I am not their mother. I love them like the children I never actually had (and never will.) But they technically don’t owe me a thing.

As I grow old and gray, there’s no guarantee I will have anyone to care for me in my later years. There’s no reason to assume they will provide assistance, like one might expect children to care for their aging parents. While I do give them the benefit of the doubt, since they’re amazing young men — it’s not a position I prefer to even put them in.

In my early 20’s, I willingly entered into a relationship with a single father of two children. Their “real” mother had hightailed it out of there, for reasons no one will ever know. But I knew what I was getting into. I was fully aware of what I might be giving up. How they would always come first, since they were his flesh and blood. I was just the person who cooked, cleaned, paid bills, packed lunches, attended school conferences and baseball games.

Putting the needs of all others above my own, because that’s what a mother does. (Even though I’m not a mother.)

They’re grown. What next?

Twenty years later, they have sprung into adulthood. They’re self-sufficient, and I am nothing but proud of all they’ve become. But as they get older, their lives will begin to evolve as well.

They’ll fall in love, get an apartment or a house, begin a family. Do I want to remain a part of their lives? Absolutely! But that’s not an ironclad promise. Because their “real” mother may enter back into the picture. They may begin to feel nostalgic, and forgive all of her transgressions.

And if their father and I part ways someday? There’s a chance I may be cut out of the fold. After all, he is true family, and I’m not. What loyalties do they have for me, over him? When push comes to shove, if they’re forced to take a side, I know it would be him. It would have to be, since he’s their father.

He and I have never married, which I suppose makes it both better and worse. Better, because we legally don’t owe each other a thing. Worse, because it would almost be too easy for one of us to make that decision, take that leap. No messy divorce red tape to cut through, because we are just “dating.” (For twenty years.)

Because of that, he also does not owe me anything. All I did was raise his children, keep house, act as disciplinarian, and give up a huge chunk of my youth and child-bearing years. But that was my choice. I know that, and have no regrets.

Raising those boys has been the absolute best part of my life, and I truly believe it was my purpose. But also, acknowledging there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “Why bother changing now? We’ve made it this far — and marriage is just a piece of paper.”

And now that I’m a bit older, wondering where my life has gone — there’s a renewed frenzy to start getting my financial house in order. Because back then, I was needed. Whether appreciated or not, I was a staple in the household. They couldn’t get by without me. And now they can.

So the years of putting others’ needs ahead of my own are finally beginning to gnaw at me. A lack of savings, inadequate retirement plan, barely perceptible emergency fund. Those are things I’m in the process of building, because no one else is going to do it for me.

I have to learn how to be self sufficient, financially independent, if need be. To have a handle on where the next phase of my life is headed.

I know plenty of middle-aged single women, who have been operating on their own for many years. And I know just as many middle-aged married women, who have the inferred safety of leaning on another for financial worries. And I’m not sure where I might fit in with these groups.

Because although I’ve been part of a family unit for an extended amount of time, I’m still essentially on my own. When it all comes down to it, no one is going to take care of me, except me. And that is my goal in pursuing financial independence.

I’m the odd woman out. Or am I?

So why is it important for me to be financially independent? Because there’s that possibility I may have to fend for myself one day. No one else has an obligation to care for me — which is a scary realization.

And while my circumstances may be a bit unique, I’m pretty sure there are women out there who may be in a similar situation. Putting too many eggs into one basket. Betting on something that is far too risky to gamble.

After years and years of giving pieces of yourself, be careful you haven’t given away too much. Make sure you have something else to fall back on, just in case you need it. And if you don’t — well, then that’s the best possible insurance policy for you to hold on to.

The post #InternationalWomensDay2019 PF Blog Tour appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

One of the most freeing feelings in the world is creating a successful business from scratch. You call the shots, you make the decisions, and you reap the profits.

Choosing to become self-employed can be scary. In fact, when I made the decision years ago, I rarely got a good night’s sleep, and I always felt surprised when I earned enough to pay my bills. I was even more surprised when I, eventually, could buy a few of the nicer things in life, like throw pillows and wool-blend socks.

Self-employment can be an answer to making extra money, earning some cash as a stay-at-home parent, or if you’re done fighting traffic just to make it into work on time in order to grind out your forty hours per week. Most freelancers and business owners are happier and healthier than those that punch the time clock. Why not get in on that joy by being your own boss?

If you’ve wondered how most self-employed women get started, we’ve put together a guide to help you put the ball in motion if you’ve considered going at it on your own.

Narrow-In on Your Passion and Find Your Niche

Some of us are Jills-of-all trades that can paint the most stunning compositions that stop viewers in their tracks and also write songs that listeners replay on loop for hours. This is great; you can incorporate your talents in various ways into your business. But you need to focus in on what skill you want to sell and rely on.

You may be able to offer it all, but when it comes to your business, you shouldn’t. Find a niche or a category in your market to focus on to help more customers find your services and to set you apart from your competition.

Some niche ideas to get you thinking, include:
  • Painting dog portraits
  • Designing custom tv stands
  • Creating eco-friendly home decor
  • Freelance writing for any given industry
Decide if Self-Employment is Right for You

You’re going to be broke–or at least somewhat broke when you first begin unless you find financing. You’re also going to be stressed out. I can tell you that most people find it worth it, but your situation may not allow for these circumstances right now. Take an honest look at your finances and situation and decide if you can manage financially and emotionally before taking the plunge.

Self-employment also requires that you approach your skill with a different mindset: that of profitability. This is difficult for some people since they’re always used their skills differently. Prepare yourself by playing over rejection and criticism in your mind before experiencing it in real life. If it’s too difficult for you, you may not want to be a business owner.

Research the Competition and Create a Business Plan

Before you register your DBA with your state, take the time to look into the competition to see how they run their businesses and what you think you could do better. This will help you create a business plan.

When creating a business plan, you want to look at the macro picture and the details of how your business will function. You also want to set goals and establish a mission and company culture. This will help you stick to your brand as your business develops.

No matter how small or large your business is, you will want to be prepared with a plan that will scale. Make sure you think about the cost of your time and other details that go into your pricing like if you need extra space while working from home.

Choose a Memorable Name

If you thought finding the perfect Instagram handle was hard, try naming a business. Take your time and try to be as creative as possible without losing sight of what service or goods you offer. Make sure your business’s name is easy to pronounce and memorable.

Test your name by asking friends, family, and strangers what they think. Don’t rush into committing to a name until you’re ready.

Create a Website

Most businesses exist on the web these days. This helps you reach a national and international audience if you wish to. A successful website also makes pitching or selling to customers a lot simpler. Selling becomes more of a one-and-done process rather than repeating your selling points over and over again.

To create a website, register a domain name (probably your business’s name), design an attractive layout, write your “About Us” page to share your journey, and write compelling descriptions of your services or products. Most website services also keep track of your sales for you to help make accounting easier.

Market Yourself

A lot of new business owners struggle with the idea of tooting their own horns. Don’t be. You’re awesome, you make the best products and provide the best service. Review some marketing basics to get started. Be proud of your skills and market them the right way.

Some marketing strategies that won’t break the bank and help establish your brand include:
  • Social media promotions
  • Blogging
  • Word-of-mouth
  • First-time customer discounts
  • Partnering with other local businesses
  • Starting with friends and family
  • Partnering with a charitable cause
Keep Your Clients Happy

One of the simplest ways to stay in business is to keep your customers happy. Invite customers to use your services again and create a loyalty program. Ask if you can post about them on social media. Request and value their feedback.

In a world where people trust Google more than any other source for information, customer reviews will help keep you afloat. So, make sure your customers have a great experience and have wonderful things to say about you.

Venturing out on your own can be one of the most frightening endeavors you pursue, but it can also be the most rewarding. If you’ve always wondered what it’d be like to follow your dream and share your love for your craft with others, save up a big emergency fund and do it. Don’t look back. Be bold and be brave.

The post Self-Empowerment through Self-Employment appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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When I started working with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, I was super excited for all the shows I’d be able to bring you guys, all the shows my kids would experience and the ticket giveaways.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed every last performance we’ve attended, there was one on the roster that I knew I’d want to see whether I had kids or not. That show is Leo.

Leo comes to Pittsburgh in the EQT Bridge Theater Series

Leo - Vimeo

Leo is only showing twice while in the Steel City: once on March 29th at 7p and once on March 30th at 2p. Both shows will be at the Byham Theater, and tickets start at just $12.

Here’s what you need to know about the show:

What would happen if the law of gravity were to suddenly change?

LEO is a mind-bending, funny, surreal, and surprisingly touching theater work that challenges the senses and tests perceptions of reality through the clever interplay of live performance and high tech video projection.

Universally appealing to adults and children, LEO leaves audience members wondering which way is up and which way is down. Winner of several major awards including the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award and the Scotsman Fringe First Award, LEO has dazzled audiences and critics in cities all around the world.

Content Information:  Recommended for ages 7+. This show takes place in darkness with bright video projections and moments of silence. It features comedy, physical theater, music, sound effects and video projection.

Please note: Due to the lighting and sound aspects of this production, there is no late seating or mid-performance re-entry.

Win free tickets to see Leo in Pittsburgh!

I’m thrilled to open up our next ticket giveaway for the 2019-2020 season! Brought to you in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, we have four (4) tickets to see either Friday’s or Saturday’s performance of Leo.

This is one of four remaining giveaways for the season, so if you’ve been meaning to enter one of these now is the time!

Get started using the widget below. This giveaway is open until 11:59p on 3/18/19.

Best of luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Leo Comes to #Pittsburgh: Ticket #Giveaway appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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This weekend in Pittsburgh, there’s going to be this great event. It’s Hair Peace‘s annual Recipe for Hope, where local celebs and chefs will be serving up food and raffling off prizes to a sold-out audience to benefit the charity.

Hair Peace helps women and girls here in Southwestern PA buy wigs after they’ve been treated for cancer. The organization started after local radio personality and founder, Bonny Diver, sought treatment for breast cancer and found out that most insurance companies will not cover a wig, even though you can lose your hair after the first treatment.

For over fourteen years, this event has been raising money to give girls and women battling cancer the confidence they deserve.

PF Community Giving Back

At the Recipe for Hope event this weekend, they’ll also be doing silent and live raffles for various items. You know, gift baskets, gift certificates, etc.

My friend sits on the board and asked if there was anything I’d like to provide. My primary output of benefit to the public at large is personal finance content, so I thought that while my services might not be valuable to everyone, something like my book could definitely help out.

And I just happen to know some other awesome people who have written crazy helpful and transformative money books, too. So I sent out an email and got together a gift basket.

Guys, I was shocked by the response. I was expecting maybe a 50% response rate, and then I’d get together some potential names for email round 2. People are busy. Getting to the post office to mail a book is kind of a pain. I care about girls in SWPA, but maybe they preferred to focus their charitable efforts elsewhere–maybe somewhere closer to their own homes.

Instead, within 48 hours 100% of the women I reached out to responded, wanting to participate and asking me for the best address to send the book. I am so incredibly appreciative not just for their generosity, but also for their excitement.

We’ve got a great lineup of personal finance books going to one lucky winner at the Recipe for Hope event tomorrow evening. If you’re looking for a good read and won’t be able to make it to the event, I recommend reading not one, but all of the following:

Jackie was awesome and sent along her signature $2 bill for the basket, too. And Jen included not only her book, but also the workbook that goes along with it.

Kristin and Emily were amazing with their responses, and Erin has a sequel to Broke Millennial coming out in April that covers investing!

Want to give back, too?

The money this basket brings in will allow more girls and women to buy the hair pieces they need.

But you don’t have to donate a book to help out. You don’t have to be local, and even if you are, you don’t have to go to Recipe for Hope to lend a hand.

If you’d like to help Hair Peace reach even more cancer patients, you can donate here (or click the purple button in the top lefthand corner of their home page.)

The post Financial Literacy & Wigs for Cancer Patients appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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Millennial anxiety.

It’s a real thing. If you were given participation trophies and told you could do anything you wanted when you grew up if you just worked hard enough, your parents’ self-confidence-inducing plans may have backfired.

It has been well established that millennials are the most anxious generation, especially in the realms of health, safety and personal finances. This is a PF site, so we’re going to focus on the latter today.

But before we delve into all this, let’s talk about who you’ll actually find in the millennial generation.

Who are millennials?

The millennial generation spans births from the years 1981-1996. The oldest of us grew up with Saturday morning cartoons back when you couldn’t watch whatever you wanted whenever you wanted, before the internet was a big thing, before most people had PCs, even before AOL and Juno.

We remember these things because they unfolded before us in our conscious lives. We grew up knocking on our neighborhood friends’ doors to see if they could come out to play, but by the time we graduated high school a lot of us had cell phones or used AIM on our PCs to get in touch with our friends. That PC was too heavy for one person to pick up safely, and was usually kept in the basement or guest room next to the only dial-up line in the house.

But we’d still pick up and call each other for the most part.

Facetime wasn’t a thing for most of us in high school, though the younger portion of the generation may disagree on that point. Neither were smartphones until the vast majority of us had already entered our 20s.

Millennial Young Adulthood

My middle-of-the-Millennial-pack class in particular was slated to graduate college at the height of the Great Recession.

When we entered college and picked our majors, we assumed the world would go on just the way it had been as our parents raised us: With jobs that paid us enough to comfortably pay back our student loans, a country that raised us in apparent peace during the 90s–though there was a lot going on behind the scenes–and with strong military force after we saw the Twin Towers fall in college, high school or even middle or elementary school for some of the younger amongst us, and with a relatively stable economy which was largely able to bounce back from what we previously viewed as disasters–examples include the crash after 9/11 and the dot com boom and subsequent bust.

So while some of us are younger, really we’re the last generation to remember a time before the tech boom. Before we socialized digitally. And before there was such uncertainty about America’s future.

Why do millennials have anxiety?

Science isn’t 100% on this yet, though UC Berkley is currently conducting a study looking into it. I do want to get into some of the potential reasons, though, noting that without data, it’s all speculation.

Career-induced anxiety

First, let’s look at the big thing we touched on in the last section: The Recession.

It came at a real bad time for us Millennials. Just as we were starting out our careers, jobs were scarce and experience was valued. Without experience, it was hard to hop on the employment train.

When people started hiring again, they didn’t want people in their mid to late twenties with no experience as their new hires. They wanted college students. While some of the younger millennials may have been spared the worst of this, for many, that jolt at the beginning of our careers would leave its mark. Our career paths were uncertain, and that was something our parents hadn’t readily prepared us for as a whole.

Recession-induced anxiety

We also got scared off from the stock market. It seemed like a risky thing to young people. We watched it go down as our parents’ generation freaked out over their retirement savings or even just keeping their home. We watched jobs dry up. We watched opportunities shrink and doors shut. Our childhood was based upon a relative stability that was irrevocably breached. And we remember.

Student Loan-induced anxiety

We also have taken on a massive amount of student loans. This is in part due to the rising cost of college, which was only accelerated through state budget austerity policies after the Recession. Those of us who were lucky enough to dodge the student loan bullet often do so at the expense of our own education and often our salaries–especially if you never returned to school.

Of course, there were some mommies and daddies paying for college, but far less than you may assume.

Millennials don’t feel secure. And maybe they shouldn’t.

Because loyalty isn’t as imperative of a quality in employees anymore, nor can it be expected from employers, we job hop more than any other generation. We’re also starting out or hitting the highest earning points in our careers with the growing gig economy, which is really just a way for companies to get around workers rights and sometimes even paying a fair wage.

No wonder we have a lot of financial anxiety. With rising prices, stagnant wages and a disappearing middle class, our worries are well justified.

Other sources of anxiety.

A lot of us grew up in religious households, but abandoned those religions as we grew up. Millennials are still into community; just not dogma. Ironically enough, we struggle to find that community as adults, even when it was the part of the religious experience we valued.

Instead, we put a lot of faith in our public institutions. Then things like 9/11 happen and the world changes. The economy crashes. We have a president who fixes it. And then he leaves because we used to have presidents who followed decorum, and then Trump is elected president.

The very things we tend to put our faith in have been shaking under our feet since adolescence.

Another problem is that when you’re told you can grow up to do anything you want, you feel like a letdown if you don’t reach your goals. With a lot of barriers placed in our paths early on in our careers, some realized they couldn’t achieve their potential.

Many more continue fighting a battle which feels like it’s in vain. We have more aspirations towards individual success than any other generation, and the fact that we can’t always achieve makes us feel like failures. Like we’re not working hard enough. Even though wages have stayed relatively stagnant while workforce productivity has gone up since we joined in the game.

The ironic thing is that when anxiety gets bad enough, it can affect how much you can work or the efficiency of that work. So let’s look at some solutions to common millennial anxiety problems.

Financial solutions to millennial anxiety.

NUMBER ONE: Seek mental health care. If you can get your brain worked out everything–including money–will be so much easier.

Career

Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself a break. You don’t have to have a job you love that fulfills your soul. Your parents likely didn’t. Their generation was largely able to expect steady work at one or two companies over the course of their career, and that was a good thing. Meaning be damned.

If you can find a position you love, awesome. But if you can’t, know that there are many other ways to find meaning in life as we talk about in The Feminist Financial Handbook. Your work can be something you do to pay the bills and save for retirement. You can find meaning outside the realm of dollars and cents.

Also, try to get comfortable with freelancing. Overall, the rise of freelancing is a negative cultural trend for American workers, but if you can run your business right, it can supply a varied source of income so that if one stream of revenue dries up, you’ve still got other clients to rely on. Having a thick emergency fund can be a huge sanity saver when you’re freelancing, too.

Invest

The stock market can be a scary thing, until you read JL Collins’ stock series.

If you get all TLDR on me, let me give you the main take away: Invest in index funds as preached by Bogle. Collins also wrote a book on getting started with investing which I highly recommend: The Simple Path to Wealth.

If you think investing is just for rich people, allow me to prove you wrong in a happy-for-all-of-us way:

With the advent of FinTech, or financial technology, you don’t need a big chunk of change to get invested in the market anymore. There are tons of roboadvisors out there who allow you to get started with $20-$25 minimums, and do all the asset allocation for you. Make sure you find one who is charging low fees by doing comparison shopping before committing to any one robo advisor.

You might not be able to do the index fund thing right off the bat if you use some of these roboadvisors. But it will get you started with the habit of investing, as you build up your nest egg until you meet that minimum opening balance requirement on a Vanguard or like account.

If you like the idea of investing, but are broke af and kind of need to know the money will be accessible if you need it, look into Roth IRAs as a potentially viable option outside of those traditionally offered by employers. You can’t withdraw interest you earn without incurring fees and tax penalties, but you can withdraw the money you contributed.

Take time off work

You know those vacation days you’ve been piling up in an effort to look like a dedicated employee?

Stop that. First of all, even if you have an employer who pays you to cash in days at the end of the year or end of your tenure, the payout pales in comparison to the value you gave to the company for free.

Secondly, taking breaks isn’t just good for you as a human being. It also makes you a more creative, focused and efficient employee.

Remember that this is true even if you’re a freelancer or business owner. That time that you invest in yourself, away from work and email and everything, is time you’re really investing in the efficiency of your business.

If you don’t have vacation days and you want them, you can try to negotiate them into your compensation package, or you can find ways to go back to school for cheap or even free so that you are able to find a job with benefits or gain the connections you’ll need to build your business.

Make sure you’re on the right student loan plan

Several years ago, we had a reader and fellow blogger contribute a piece on the proper way to pay off your loans if you wanted to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Essentially, if you want the government to actually forgive your loans because you entered the field of public service like they promised to in 2007, you had to make sure you had the right type of loans AND that you were on right type of repayment plan.

Most people weren’t familiar with the intricacies of the rules, and the government for its part did not make the process easy to navigate.

This resulted in suspiciously low forgiveness numbers in 2017–the first year the first applicants qualified for forgiveness. Many were turned away because they did not have the right loan or repayment plan for either a portion or the entirety of their loan.

Talk about questioning your career choices.

Budget for Convenience Spending

This is a tip I’m taking from Abigail Perry, who wrote the great book Frugality for Depressives. She recommends this method for those suffering from depression because some days you just can’t.

And to ignore that fact is to fail your budget from Day 1.

If you’re highly anxious or stressed out, odds are you’re going to have those “just can’t” days, too. Pretending it won’t happen is fiscal folly.

As we talked about a couple of weeks ago via Hasan Minhaj, millennials will pay for convenience, many times even if it means compromising on their values.

Automate your bills

When you can’t even, you’re probably going to have a hard time remembering to pay the bills. Automate them as much as possible so things will be taken care of even if you forget. You can do this with many bills, like utilities, health insurance, credit card bills, retirement savings and more.

Separately, you can set up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account every payday to make sure you’re saving as much as you’d like to be for your emergency fund, vacation or whatever other goal you may have on the horizon. This makes the savings process a whole lot less painful and your goals more likely to become a reality.

Redefine Success

Millennials are very concerned with individualistic over familial success. This is often reflected via our careers or our perception of how much money we make or save as individuals.

If you can manage your money, great. It’ll help you achieve your goals that much easier.

But money is just a tool. It is not the end in and of itself. Your money story is not likely to be a straight line. Learn to embrace failure, and to recognize each step as a journey unto itself. When you start defining life more by the things that are important to you and your values rather than using monetary measurements, you’ll gain more peace than dollars and cents could alone confer.

Know you’re not alone.

We are Generation Anxiety. There are a lot of other people out there going through the same thing as you, wondering why it’s so hard to make plans when you have a rolodex of thousands of “friends” on social media. Wondering why despite all your hard work, you’re reaching a mental breaking point without achieving the success you had been aspiring towards.

Reach out. Budget for reality without scolding yourself for your lack of discipline. And know that we’re all messed up. You are not alone.

The post Don’t Let Millennial Anxiety Ruin Your Money appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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Femme Frugality by Femmefrugality - 1M ago

The capstone on our Florida trip was Disney World. We had gone not all that long ago, and I had politely put in a complaint about accessibility issues at the park. They offered me free tickets to compensate us for our troubles, so we tried again a few months ago.

Things were mostly better this time. Far from perfect; policies at the park still do not give adequate access to the disabled. But I appreciated that they tried and that we only ran into one gnarly park employee this time around.

Aside from having an overall better experience, I did learn a couple things I wanted to tack on to last year’s Disney savings tips.

Balloons are exchangeable.

I spent an embarrassing amount of money on a balloon for one of the littles. I mean, it was pretty awesome. A balloon inside of another balloon–both of which have yet to pop.

The quality might be the reason why the balloon lady let me in on a little secret: you can totally exchange your balloon. If it pops or flies away, just bring your receipt and any balloon remains to the nearest person selling balloons to get a replacement.

Now, let’s say you bought your balloon at Magic Kingdom. The balloon floated away on your way to the car, but you’re not going to Magic Kingdom the next day. You’re going to Disney Hollywood Studios.

Doesn’t matter. Take your receipt to the balloon seller at Hollywood Studios and they’ll get a replacement with no hassle.

Yes, I was tempted to take my receipt to the balloon seller at Hollywood Studios to score a second awesome balloon dishonestly.

No, I did not follow through.

Eat before you go to the park.


Last time we went to Disney World, we tried to wake up early and get there as soon as the parks opened. It was May. It was muggy. Everyone got moody.

So this time, we left a little later in the morning, grabbing a leisurely brunch on the way there. One day we did pancakes in the timeshare (which was once again kindly given to us as a gift by a family member), another we hit up a diner, etc.

In turn, we grabbed one meal, generally at a quick-serve place, while we were at the park and stayed out past bedtime.

If we judge by happiness levels, this was a much better plan. Although another contributing factor may have been the time of year.

I mean, was I happy to pay $60-$70 for quick-serve food? No. But if I’m honest, the quality of food there was higher than what we would have gotten at the fast food joint I would have stopped on the way home out of sheer exhaustion. The price wasn’t ideal, but…

Budget-wise, it was a major win over last year. We ate far fewer meals at the park total, and I cut the character meals altogether. We had already done that once, and the hack I found to meet characters for free for sure at a scheduled time was employed heavily this time around. Calling it a hack might seem like a bit much, but after you’ve spent money on the character meals, it feels like one heck of a hack.

So we didn’t have to stress about meal plans, It also meant we weren’t rushing around to make our reservations because we didn’t have any. So. much. less. stress.

And so much less money.

pic.twitter.com/CGYe0Irg5a

— Femme Frugality (@femmefrugality) February 15, 2019

Ordering professional photos.

Around the different parks, you’ll see opportunities to get your picture taken. Sometimes it’s with mascots, sometimes it’s just at a scenic park. We noticed a bunch of these especially in Animal Kingdom.

I don’t have the best camera on my phone and I’m not the best photographer, so this time I made sure to purposefully take advantage. I tried to bunch together all our professional picture taking at two parks so I could pay to buy the photos from the Disney app for each day. By only doing two days, I was able to save money over paying the “whole trip” price.

Unfortunately I did that last time. There were just too many great memories and pictures. But I did learn the bunching method from that experience.

Do you have Disney World savings tips?

What are your favorite Disney savings hacks? Leave them in the comments!

The post Saving Money at Disney World appeared first on Femme Frugality.

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