Marion Syversen

Marion Syversen

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Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:56

I love me. I love me not?

It's February and love is in the air. Celebrating Valentine's Day really focuses my mind on love - and money.  I think about my beautiful gender and how we think about finances, and I worry about us women. 

The growing field of behavioral finance examines the differences in men and women and money. And as a woman, there is reason for worry.

Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:15

Financial awesomeness in five simple steps

You want to be financially awesome, and you like simple ways to achieve your goals. Well, chummy, here are five simple steps to financial awesomeness. With this caveat: I say these steps are simple, and they are. But if financial awesomeness were easy everyone would be awesome and sadly, they're not.

But everyone could be awesome. Because these steps just take a little of your abundant stubbornness used for good; a bit of determination in the face of temptation and a willingness to forgive your wonderful self when you fail. Listen to me: I know you can do this, my friend. I believe in you.

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 23:20

Celebrating with friends and family

The next few months will be filled with opportunities to celebrate with friends and family.

Celebrating any event or holiday is about the time shared together and the affection of loved ones. It is not about lists, or things to do, and NOT about stress - especially the stress of finances.

And yet, the stress of finances can be a real issue. Costs for many items, like food, are rising. Feeding the hungry hordes this season can cost some serious money. So let's think about ideas on enjoying a beautiful and frugal holiday meal.

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:01

Trying to avoid trouble

I try to avoid trouble. I try to follow the best advice and latest research for my health, safety, marriage and other relationships.

Most arguments, according to the research in marriage, concern not the kids but money and sex. I'm not going to talk about sex, but I will show you a few avoidable pitfalls about your money.

A recent survey found that 41 percent of partners disagreed about what their joint life in retirement would be. Not only are couples arguing about how they will live in retirement, they are also arguing about exactly when retirement will begin.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 15:56

The best of both worlds

Men, women and money. Though for years a neglected topic of research, the differences between the genders in perception, shopping habits and nuanced capabilities is now a hot topic in the field of behavioral economics.

The most recent research that I've read was a survey by the Bank of Montreal. The study began with a simple query: Which gender would win in a battle of investing returns? Remembering that these findings are generalities, let's find out more about style differences between the genders.

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 16:59

Getting ready for college

Got a student getting ready for college? That new life will bring many new experiences from exciting and wonderful to the bittersweet. Tackling money solo, may also be a new challenge. But as a parent, helping your voting-age scholar become financially independent can add awesomeness' to the many life lessons of your college student. 

We have discussed the yummy world of budgets before. Budgets are the go-to tool for helping us track and control our money lives. They boil down to two simple truths: money which comes IN through passive (like rental property) or active (money earned from a job) income. And money that goes OUT- paying bills, or cash set-aside in savings. In your student's transition into adulthood getting on a great money track early can build a great foundation that lasts for life.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:23

Annuities and you

Here I sit, behind my computer writing a perspective on finance that I think is worth knowing. I can't see you and I don't know your individual needs or financial situation. Nor do the other financial columnists whose work you may also read. So how can anyone write a column that describes the exact needs and perfect recommendations for you? We couldn't possibly.

So when you read one expert's opinion or that one's opinion on a particular instrument or financial strategy, understand that many other experts, equally capable, may strongly disagree with the columnist.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 15:56

I wish you a very happy retirement

Retirement. We spend years saving and planning for these happy years. But not all of us plan well for our retirements. Because we don't plan how we'll LIVE in retirement. What do I mean?

Identity - What do we usually ask when we meet a kid? For me it's, 'What grade are you in? What subjects do you enjoy in school? Do you play a sport?'

We humans initially understand a new friend by what they do, maybe by their hobbies and other activities. But when we retire, our identity, usually so comprised of the tasks surrounding our job, no longer comes from our 9-to-5 job. Psychologists have found that the more closely an individual identifies with their work role, the harder the transition into retirement can be, meaning that in retirement you could feel loss, depression, separation from friends - a whole host of things you may not have considered.

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:41

Are you making common money mistakes?

Life is full of surprises. Some of them are wonderful, but some stink. If you could take a few simple steps and avoid a few nasty mishaps from common mistakes, wouldn't you want to do that? I like to avoid unnecessary pain when I can, so I like a plan that incorporates mistake-avoiding steps. Here are the four most common money mistakes, and how to avoid them, from a recent survey.

Mistake #1 Budget - As in not HAVING a budget. According to this report, over half of Americans report not having a budget, and 20 percent have no idea how much they spend on housing, food and entertainment. No one has so much money that one can just make spending a hobby. If you spend without keeping track, life will be crazy, not cozy. In no other part of life do you get anywhere without a general plan. You don't get in your car and make a trip without thinking about your destination and whether you have enough gas to get where you're going. Budgets are a cozy. They are your money's plan for fun and savings, bill paying and your future. They track where you hope to go on your money journey and where you have already gone. A budget is a good thing. Please have one.

Mistake #2 Saving - Forgetting to save - or not knowing how to save - is mistake number two. According to the report, 40 percent of respondents are saving less this year than last, and another 40 percent have no money saved for retirement. Many surveyed reported that they didn't know how to save. I'm not even sort of suggesting that you need to be perfect at any of this, but you do have to try. That's what grownups do. They make proper plans. And when they don't know how to do something, they ask for help. We don't know what you don't understand unless you ask for help. I want to help you! But I don't do Vulcan mind-melds, so you'll have to speak up. Then I will quickly help you.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 13:14

Business, kid-style

I love business. I love owning my own, hearing the stories of other business owners and encouraging folks to begin a new business.

So helping kids develop the skills and passion of business owners and giving them practical experience in running a business seems brilliant to me. It's no surprise that I love the concept of Lemonade Day.

Lemonade Day is both a national organization and a specific day.

The organization promotes entrepreneurship and financial literacy. It does this by choosing one day for each community - this year in Maine the date is Sunday, June 3 - for kids to run a stand.

Frequently a kid's first business is opening a lemonade stand. What the organization Lemonade Day has done is use this entrepreneurial instinct in children to teach substantive lessons in a fun way. They have created a 14-lesson package walking an inexperienced kid-preneur through all the cool concepts one needs to consider when starting a business, subjects such as customer service, marketing and debt, credit and net income.

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