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This Week In Your Wallet: Riding High While Selling Low 

Jean Chatzky  |  June 11, 2019

Good news — the economy is booming, and we’re all feeling pretty darn good about it. With an unemployment rate of 3.6% (lower than it’s been since 1969), and hundreds of thousands of jobs added to the economy this year, consumers are more confident about their job prospects than they’ve been in nearly two decades, according to data from The Conference Board. Nearly half of us feel like jobs are “plentiful,” and the number of consumers who feel like jobs are “hard to get” fell a further 3% from April to May. If you’re looking to ride this wave of optimism all the way to the corner office at a new company, take a look at the four most transferable skills that can help you land a job in any industry, consider getting a mentor who can walk you through the current job landscape, and make sure you avoid the 9 most common job application mistakes that can trip up even the most seasoned of applicants. If you’re currently job seeking or hiring, have you seen anything in the last few months that’s made you sit up and take notice? Is all that job confidence justified? We’d love to hear your story. Write to me at Jean@HerMoney.com

Women-Owned Businesses — Starting…Then Struggling?

What’s increasing faster than the mercury in July? The number of women-led businesses, that’s what. They grew a whopping 58% from 2007 to 2018, according to American Express’ State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. Today, 40% of companies in the United States are women-owned, employ 14% of the workforce, and generate $3.1 trillion in revenue. Since last year, female ownership of companies in the health, beauty, and fitness sectors increased by 55%, while ownership of food-related businesses increased by 45%, according to Guidant Financial’s new 2019 Small Business Trends Report

And yet, it’s not all easy money.  Just 71% of female-owned businesses are profitable, compared to 80% of male-owned businesses. And, as we’ve noted in our conversations with female founders like Rent The Runway’s Jenn Hyman and Sprout Pharmaceuticals Cindy Eckert (the woman responsible for the little pink pill), funding for those businesses can be maddeningly difficult to obtain. Female founders raised just 2.2% of venture funding in 2018, and according to the most recent Biz2Credit report, although the number of business loans made to women rose 13% last year, the average size was 31% less than those that went to men. If you’re in business for yourself, there are a number of things you can do right now to jumpstart your fiscal 2020 — take a look at your business plan and see what may need updating or revising, make sure you’re doing what you love (because passion breeds profits), and see what aspects of your company may need a good house cleaning


Summer travelers beware: You now stand a higher chance of getting bumped off your flight. U.S. airlines denied boarding to 6,175 passengers in the first quarter of this year, nearly triple the number this time last year. (Note: this number only includes folks who are unwillingly bumped by airlines, not those who volunteer to take a voucher and/or a later flight.) This bad news is due at least in part to the grounding of more than 70 of Boeing’s 737 Max planes, which were blamed for two fatal crashes in the last six months. Most airlines, we should note, have measures in place to avoid involuntary bumping. For example, if your flight is oversold, you may get a notification via text before you get to the airport, so you can either opt to rebook your flight, or take a later one in exchange for a voucher. If you go the voucher route — particularly if you’re already sitting in the concourse — make it worth your while. You can and should negotiate beyond the first offer.  Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

Holding Your Adviser To A Higher Standard 

For Kiplinger this week, wealth adviser Carlos Dias, Jr. dishes some inside information on some of the things many financial advisers may not be telling you. For example, your adviser (particularly if they work for a bank, brokerage firm, or insurance agency) may not be operating under a fiduciary duty or fiduciary standard, where they put your best interest before their own profits. Certified Financial Planners are fiduciaries, but not all financial planners are CFPs.  So, when in doubt about who you’re working with, ask the question directly. Another helpful tip: You may be able to negotiate how much your adviser charges you in fees, and those fees can make a big impact on your bottom line. (For example, if you have a $500,000 portfolio, the difference in a 1% vs. 2% fee is the difference between $5,000 and $10,000 — a year — over time it really adds up.) Dias recommends rate shopping just as one would with any other financial product. If you don’t like where your adviser stacks up and they seem unwilling to budge on their number, it’s okay to float the idea of changing firms and see if they might be willing to negotiate their fees. Lastly, if your adviser used fellow client testimonials — even those posted on social media — to persuade you to join their firm, they broke the law. (Specifically, Rule 206(4)-1(a)(1) in Section 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, any client testimonial constitutes a fraudulent, deceptive or manipulative act.) Never fall for a flashy sales pitch or endorsements from others. Just think of the classic “results not typical” warning on many diet products… Just because it worked for someone else does not mean it will work for you. 

Have a great week, 


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