Category Archives: Financial Literacy

Financial Friday Round-Up: June 7 – June 11, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on predicting the stock market, immigrant entrepreneurs, reducing taxes in retirement, and more.

Women, Work and the Pandemic

In a new episode from the Planet Money podcast, NPR maps the most recent effects of the pandemic on women in the workforce. At the beginning of the lockdown, millions of women left their jobs to take care of their children while schools were shuttered. Listen to this episode to see how these women adjust to reentering the workforce.

This Two-Minute Viral Video Proves It's Impossible to Time the Stock Market

This week, Money posted this video that proves just how difficult it is to time the market. In about two-and-a-half minutes, the video charts just how many large fluctuations the market has undergone in the 125 years since the Dow Jones emerged. Watch this video for a great visualization of how the market works.

Why the U.S. is Losing Immigrant Entrepreneurs to Other Nations

The United States’ labyrinth of immigration policy has slowly caused immigrant entrepreneurs to look elsewhere for opportunity, Forbes reports this week. Check out this article for a look at the numbers and how they can be reversed.

4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement

When it comes to retirement planning, taxes linger large over our decision-making. Trying to forecast how much taxes will change by the time we retire requires a fortune-teller’s sense of the future. Luckily, Kiplinger listed four ways you can reduce your tax liability when your reach retirement; check out this link for more information.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 31 - June 4, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 24 - May 28, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 - May 21, 2021

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 31 – June 4, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on the May jobs report, a story on Black Wall Street, a profile of 50 powerful women over 50, and more.

50 Over 50: The New Golden Age

This week, Forbes partnered with Mika Brzezinski, founder of Know Your Value, a platform focused on empowering women and achieving gender equity in the workplace, to profile 50 powerful women over the age of 50. Check out this list for profiles of women as varied as Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Forget Something? Americans Have Left More Than $1 Trillion Sitting in Old 401(k)s, a New Study Finds.

Money published this surprising report this week that approximately $1.35 trillion is sitting in forgotten 401(k)s, with an average of about $55,000 per account. As changing jobs becomes the norm, more and more Americans are forgetting to roll over their contributions before switching positions. Check out this piece for more information.

Black Wall Street

At the beginning of the 20th century, a thriving Black neighborhood in North Tulsa was known as “Black Wall Street” for its financial success. This month is the 100th anniversary of the burning of the neighborhood by a mob, dashing any dreams of prosperity for the residents of Black Wall Street. Listen to this episode of Planet Money for more on the story.

The May Jobs Report Shows Signs of Labor-market Acceleration as Unemployment Falls

Good news from the jobs front as unemployment fell in May and the labor market continues its recovery. Check out this report from Business Insider for more information.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 24 - May 28, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 - May 21, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 - May 14, 2021


Financial Friday Round-Up: May 24 – May 28, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on how to keep active at your desk, what happens when life insurance is denied, what it takes to get consumers to buy something new, and more.

Covid-19 Expands Life Insurance Purchases Beyond Wealthy

During the pandemic, a number of life insurance policies saw their biggest quarterly gain in almost 40 years. However, the numbers show that the average policy size shrank, suggesting that more policies are now being bought by those with smaller incomes. For more on this change in coverage demographics, check out this report from The Wall Street Journal.

What Does it Take to Get us to Try Something New?

Planet Money conducted an interesting experiment to see just how consumers react to new and innovative products and why they are not always as excited as businesses would expect. Listen to this short episode for a glimpse into the best way to introduce a new kind of product to market.

Insurers Sometimes Deny Life Insurance Claims. Prevent That From Happening to Your Family

An unfortunate but rare outcome for life insurance beneficiaries that often goes undiscussed is when insurers must deny a claim due to the terms of the policy. Though fewer than one in 200 claims is denied, it is worth knowing what could lead to a claim denial. Check out this piece from Money to stay informed.

Bounce, Balance, Burn: Keep Moving When You’re Stuck at a Desk

Bloomberg has a few tips for anyone feeling sore after being at their desk all week. Check out this brief guide to office movement including standing desk tools, air cushions, and a tiny trampoline.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 - May 21, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 - May 14, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 3 - May 7, 2021

Share Your Umbrella Podcast: A Conversation with Daniela Dubach

For each episode of Share Your Umbrella, the First Financial Security® podcast where entrepreneurs share stories of helping families in need with financial solutions and opportunities, we like to take the most interesting parts of the interview and offer them here on our blog. This week, our guest was Daniela Dubach, a Field Vice President at FFS who moved to America from Europe to pursue life as an entrepreneur. We spoke to Daniela about the differences between the two cultures regarding financial education, how financial vulnerability impacts women, and just how much progress can be made in ten years.

See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.

Daniela, what were you doing before you joined FFS and what was your career like then?

Before FFS, I did a bunch of different things — first of all, I moved to this country about 20 years ago. Because this is America, the land of opportunity, I figured, “Let me just see what I can do here.” So I got here in 2000, started in the beauty industry, and ended up in real estate. After 2008, when the market crashed, I realized that was not the industry I wanted to stay in.

I was looking for something else where I still could interact with people and be my own boss. Then, an old friend of mine who has been in the business for a long time suggested, “Well, why don't you get your insurance license?” I thought, “I might as well try.”

I was born in Germany and raised in Switzerland, where I spent my life. I had a great job in Europe — I worked for an airline, I was very fortunate to travel a lot, but soon I realized that corporate Switzerland wasn't for me. I never looked back.

I don't know what my life would have been back there, but it would be very, very different than what it is here. I always say it would have taken me probably five lifetimes to get where I am today, here in America, if I had stayed in Europe.

It's just a different mindset. It's not good or bad, it's just different. When we're talking about entrepreneurs, America is just the mecca for people who have big dreams and want to make those dreams come true.

Do you have any stories of sharing that dream with others? For example, we named the podcast Share Your Umbrella because umbrellas are an insurance symbol — they cover, shelter, and help people. For us, the umbrella represents not only the products that shelter our clients from risk but also the opportunity to build a business in the financial services industry. In what ways have you shared your umbrella?

Well, I felt very lucky when I got into the insurance industry. I kind of fell into it, because I would say that a little over ten years ago, I was a financial disaster. I didn't even know what a 401(k) was — mind you, I didn’t grow up here, but I had to learn many lessons the hard way. I realized that I can't be ignorant about finances.

I started learning a lot on my own, which opened a lot of doors, but also made me realize that there are a lot of people in this country, especially women, who just don't really know a whole lot about finance. I would say 80% of my clients are women, and I want to help them feel more empowered by being in control of their finances.

I think in Europe, in general, people are not so into instant gratification; that was a big adjustment for me. Everything is on credit, the beautiful homes, the amazing cars — 90% of those things aren’t even fully owned. Kids get out of college here and start their adult life already in debt, chasing their tail because they're living paycheck to paycheck. That’s why it’s so important. Financial education can get us out of that rat race.

2020 was a challenging year for everybody — how do you and your business adjust at the time?

Before COVID, our industry was 100% face-to-face. I didn’t even know — nor did I want to know — how to run a webinar, because I considered myself a face-to-face person. That’s what I was good at. When COVID hit, I had to make some major adjustments to that attitude. I had to get out of my own way and adapt because otherwise, I would have had to close up shop. I was very nervous for my first few meetings, but I remember how excited I was when I closed my first application via Zoom. After that first success, I knew that adapting was possible.

We've heard from so many agents that Zoom has really transformed the way that they do business. How do you see those Zoom meetings being incorporated into your practice going forward?

I would never have imagined me saying this a year ago, but I don't want to get back to face-to-face. Of course, it's nice sometimes. But if I have to go out in person to deliver a policy or pick up a check or something, I can’t help but think, “Well now I have to get in my car, I have to drive 20 miles, and I have to fight all the traffic coming back.” Before, I would fill up my gas tank probably twice a week; now, it's every

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 – May 21, 2021

Every week, our Financial Friday Round-Up compiles the best things to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance on the web. The articles below cover topics like the importance of money for startups, the difficulty of calculating risk, COVID-19 aid to theaters, and more.

We're Bad at Calculating Risk

In the life insurance industry, one becomes well-acquainted with our brains’ capacity to fixate on certain smaller risks like shark attacks and ignore larger ones like illness. The latest episode from the Planet Money podcast investigates the reasons for this disconnect and how we can overcome it.

The Importance of Money in the Different Startup Stages

Premature scaling is the main reason for new business failure, according to the Startup Genome project cited in this article from Forbes on why money is so important to building a business. Read more for a guide to what resources are necessary at each stage of a business’s growth.

Covid-19 Aid to Concert Halls, Theaters Set to be Distributed Next Week

As more and more Americans are vaccinated, people are anxious to return to pre-pandemic entertainment like movie theaters and performance venues. The industry, like most, was hit hard by the pandemic, but the Small Business Association will start giving aid to concert halls, theaters, and other live entertainment venues early next week. Read this piece from The Wall Street Journal for the details.

Aftershocks: The Funeral Industry Overcomes Challenges of the Past Year

Last year was a challenge for the funeral industry, as an increase in activity forced memorial services to change their business model to operate within federal guidelines while also handling a country-wide increase in grieving. Read this piece from Worth for a glimpse at what last year meant for an oft-overlooked industry.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 - May 14, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 3 - May 7, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: April 26 - April 30, 2021

Three Women Entrepreneurs on What it Takes to Run a Business

Women are still making only 82 cents on average for every dollar a man makes, but inspiring women entrepreneurs are providing good models for how society can increase that number. Though more women have degrees in higher education these days and many work longer hours than ever before, the gender wage gap persists. For now, women who work as employees for those who set their salaries risk lower pay than their male peers.

Entrepreneurship provides a bridge for this wage gap. A lot of progress has been made by pioneering women who have built their own businesses to pay themselves and their employees fairly. In 2019, the number of businesses owned by women had reached 42%, employing about 9.4 million people in total. These women were paving the way for equality and achieving the dream of flexible hours and virtually unlimited income opportunity.

Unfortunately, the pandemic came and took its toll on these women entrepreneurs, particularly those who were set to launch their businesses in 2020. More than 850,000 women had to stop working last September alone, while only 216,000 men had to leave the workforce in the same stretch of time. This is discouraging news, but hope is not yet lost.

There were certainly many women who kept and even grew their businesses during the pandemic, providing a model of hope for those who wish to get back out there as the economy rebuilds. Below, we gathered advice from our Share Your Umbrella podcast, where we interviewed women whose businesses have weathered the storm of COVID-19.

Plan Each Day with Care

When we spoke to Brandi Bridgett about how she kept her business going through the pandemic, she pointed to her careful calendar planning as her secret weapon. “When you become an entrepreneur, you have to build your own schedule and you have to have a daily method of operation. You have to live by your calendar.” We recommend the handy ContentCal to help you manage social media posting and free up your day to focus on other parts of your business.


"When you become an entrepreneur, you have to build your own schedule and you have to have a daily method of operation. You have to live by your calendar."

Maintain a Positive Mindset

When asked how she overcame her biggest business challenges, FFS’ Pahoua Xiong spoke about the importance of intention and the power of focusing on long-term goals:

“The transition is hard because now you’re doing it for yourself. You’re no longer working for someone; you’re building your own business. It takes a mindset shift. I kept telling myself: ‘This is for my kids, for my future, for our community — so we can grow more and be more.’ It was something I had to tell myself every day.”

"The transition is hard because now you’re doing it for yourself. You’re no longer working for someone; you’re building your own business. It takes a mindset shift."

Embrace and Adapt to Change

Many industries that relied on face-to-face interaction faced the difficult task of pivoting to an entirely virtual operation. Many business owners who had previously stayed away from virtual meeting technology like Zoom found themselves needing to learn these tools quickly without much training. But anything is possible — when we spoke to FFS agent Daniela Dubach, she demonstrated just how quickly people can adapt:

“Our industry was 100% face-to-face. I didn’t even know — nor did I want to know — how to run a webinar, because I considered myself a face-to-face person. That’s what I was good at. When COVID hit, I had to make some major adjustments to that attitude. I had to get out of my own way and adapt because otherwise, I would have had to close up shop. I was very nervous for my first few meetings, but I remember how excited I was when I actually closed my first application via Zoom. After that first success, I knew that adapting was possible.”

Entrepreneurs Can Change Our World

These stories are only a small sample of the strategies that can help women entrepreneurs build their businesses. The gender wage gap is a complex web of issues that stem from history, psychology, and social dynamics — it will take many solutions working together to raise the wages of women across the country. But many women are proving it is possible, and entrepreneurship remains a path women can take to raise their wages and be their own boss to achieve financial security.

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Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 – May 14, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on credit card debt, health care in retirement, raising your home value, and more.

Credit-Card Debt Keeps Falling. Banks Are On Edge.

The Wall Street Journal reports this week that Americans have been paying off their debts at a rate not seen in years. Using numbers from Discover, Capital One, and Synchrony Financial, this piece provides a snapshot of a country eager to leave credit card debt in the past.

Health Care Now Costs Couples $300,000 in Retirement, According to Fidelity's Latest Estimate

Health care is one of the major factors to consider when planning retirement. This year, Fidelity reports that a 65-year-old couple can expect to spend a combined $300,000 on health care in retirement, up 1.7% from last year. Check out this piece from Money for how to plan for and lower those costs in your retirement plan.

The Best Places To Retire In 2021

There is no one-size-fits-all retirement city. Instead, you should consider the factors important to you and your partner — access to medical specialists, lack of hurricanes, affordability, weather — and narrow it down from there. Forbes makes it a little easier by providing a list of retirement cities with the greatest long-term value.

6 Home Improvement Projects That Actually Pay Off When You Sell

The right touch-ups before you sell your home can boost its selling price, but you have to know which projects are worth the work. Check out this list from Money this week for six projects to consider that could boost your home price when you sell.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 3 - May 7, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: April 26 - April 30, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: April 19 – April 23, 2021