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Money Confidence Podcast Episode 9: The Blunt Truth About Financial Compatibility Before Marriage

Personal Money Trainer, author and speaker, Crystal Oculee, empowers women to get money confident with tips, advice, stories and special guest interviews. From the basics of budgeting to getting to the bottom of retirement vehicles – you’ll get insightful information you can turn into major savings and smart investments!



  • Ways To Have The “Money Talk” With Your Significant Other (Without It Turning Into A Fight)
  • One Common Mistake Couples Make
  • Why Having The Money Dialogue Can Avoid Other Painful “Talks” In The Future
  • Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Talking About Money
  • How To Identify Financial Red Flags Before Marriage
  • Financial Questions To Ask Your Partner In Any Stage Of Your Relationship
  • Bonus: The Budget Game (A Fun Way To Start The Dialogue)

Don’t Stop Here – Check Out These FREE Tools!  


Money Issues That Concern Married Couples

Top 5 Financial FAQ for Married Women

Merging Your Money When You Marry

What To Do When a Saver Marries a Spender


Get to Know Crystal – and Email Her With Questions! (She might answer it on the podcast.)


If you like our Money Confidence Podcast, be sure to leave a review on iTunes!

Confidence Wealth & Insurance Solutions 2 Comments

Dealing with Periods of Crisis

What is it?

By definition, a crisis is a turning point, a time when you have to make crucial decisions (often suddenly) that will affect your future. Although smart planning is the key to effectively dealing with periods of crisis, you may find yourself suddenly dealing with an unexpected event that you didn’t prepare for, and you wonder what to do next. Whether you’re planning ahead or dealing with a crisis now, take control. There’s no escaping the fact that a crisis is a life-changing event, but how you handle a crisis will, in part, determine whether your life changes for the better or for the worse.

Planning for a future crisis

Identify and manage risk

What future crises are you likely to face? While you hope that the answer to this question is none, that’s an overly optimistic thought. It’s almost inevitable that you will face one crisis or more during your lifetime. While you can’t have a plan to deal with all possible risks, you can plan for events that seem likely and for some events that may seem unlikely. You should, for instance, plan for events such as death, illness, and job loss. You may not, however, have to plan for crisis risks that are unlikely to affect you, such as divorce (if you are single or happily married), or natural disaster (if you live in a non-disaster prone area). Knowing that you have some plan will help you deal with a crisis if you ever do confront one.

Example(s): Jane and Hal built a beach house in Malibu. Their home was swept away in a mudslide, and they spent months replacing their personal possessions, as well as getting duplicates of their birth certificates, insurance policies, and other personal and financial records. Five years later after they had rebuilt their house, a fire swept through town, and their house was destroyed. Fortunately, this time they were ready. They had kept their important records and financial information in a safety deposit box, and had sent boxes of photos to Jane’s mother for safekeeping.

Plan for contingencies

Any plan you make for dealing with a future crisis should be flexible. Part of the stress you feel when confronting a crisis is because crises are unexpected and unpredictable. You won’t know ahead of time how you’ll react and exactly what you’ll have to confront. One good approach is to plan for a worst-case scenario. For instance, if you plan for a period of unemployment that lasts for two months, what will you do if it stretches for six months? If you plan around a six-month period of unemployment, however, you’ll know what to do if it only lasts for two months.

Organize your records

A key component of planning for a crisis is organizing your records and personal papers. This is particularly true if you become sick, incapacitated or die and your loved ones have to assume responsibility for your finances. You will also be able to readily access vital information instead of wasting time and energy trying to find it. At the very least, you’ll want to set up a filing system and give a list of your important documents and advisors to a trusted friend for safekeeping.

Plan your finances

Unless you have significant liquid assets, planning for a crisis means, in large part, planning your finances. Many financial professionals advise their clients to keep an emergency fund equal to at least three months worth of expenses, just in case your income flow stops or your expenses increase. This emergency fund can make a big difference because many things can change in three months. If you don’t have the emergency fund, however, you may have to make hasty decisions regarding your future, such as taking a new job you don’t really want, selling prized personal possessions, or dipping into your college or retirement fund. You should also work up a bare-bones budget that reflects only your basic living expenses. Cut out all luxuries, and determine the least amount of income you need to survive.

Quantify your plan

When you plan for a future crisis, don’t be too general. Instead, be as specific as possible and write down your options. This way, you’ll be less tempted to avoid decisions by thinking you’ll deal with that when the time comes, and you’ll have something concrete to refer to if you must deal with a crisis situation. You’ll feel calmer, too, when you’re facing the crisis. People who live in areas prone to natural disasters often keep emergency kits in their cars or homes in case they need to evacuate in a hurry–a good example of this principle.

Dealing with an immediate crisis

Act, don’t react

Often when facing an immediate crisis, you want to do something, just about anything to solve the crisis, or you want to run away. While both responses are natural, neither is helpful. While you definitely need to do something in a crisis situation besides hide your head in the sand, you shouldn’t do just anything. In fact, it may even be preferable to take no action for a few days to let your emotions cool a bit. Then, act, but don’t react. To the extent possible, collect information and advice and formulate a plan. You may have only hours or days to do this, but some plan is better than none. If you feel that you can’t keep your emotions separate from your actions, ask a friend, relative, or professional to help you sort through your options.

Make a list of things that you need to do

When you have to plan in a hurry, the easiest way is to make a simple list of things you have to do. List as many items as possible. Then, as you do them, you can check them off. This is important because when you’re under stress, you may forget to do important tasks. In addition, a list will help you remember to focus on action, not reaction.

Find help

No one should have to weather a crisis alone. Even if you’re alone in the world or if you don’t want to burden your loved ones with details, there are community resources and individuals (paid and unpaid) who can give you general and specific advice.

Dealing with illness or disability

Harness your emotions

If you find out that you, or someone close to you is sick, hurt, or dying, you’ll probably feel numb, scared, angry, sad, anxious, or even panicked. It’s likely that your initial feelings will change, but you may never accept your situation. You don’t necessarily have to accept illness and its consequences to deal with it, however, and you can control how you react to it. In fact, some people need to feel in control of everything when they become sick because they are unable to control their disease. Remember that this need for control is common, and it can be positive if you use your energy to make unemotional decisions that will affect you and your loved ones.

Find support

When you’re sick or hurt or caring for someone else who is, it’s vital to have a support network. Hopefully, you have close friends and relatives that will help you. But many people don’t come forward to help and even well-intentioned friends and relatives may not give you as much help as you need. Fortunately, there are many community resources available to help you.

Find a way to pay your bills

Paying your bills when you’re sick can be hard because you can’t work at all or perhaps can work only part-time. If you own your own disability insurance policy, check your coverage and contact your insurance company for claims information. Your employer may have group disability insurance that you aren’t aware of that will help you. If you were hurt or became sick from job-related causes, you may be able to collect benefits from workers’ compensation. If your disability is expected to last a year or more (or even result in your death), you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. But if you have no hope of receiving disability insurance benefits, you’ll have to cut your expenses and rely on your savings or spousal income. If you have limited income, you may be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or other government programs.

Determine how the illness will affect your job

If you work and become sick or get hurt, or if you have to care for someone else who is ill, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to keep your job. First, talk to your employer about what benefits you are entitled to in the event you are disabled. Your employer may be used to dealing with situations like yours and may have programs in place that you don’t know about. Next, be aware that if you work for a company that employs 50 or more people, you may be entitled to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 if you need time off to recuperate or to care for someone else.

Example(s): When her mother was seriously injured in a car crash, Marcy wanted to fly to Dallas to take care of her. Because of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, Marcy was able to take eight weeks of unpaid leave from her job, and she was restored to her former position at the same level of pay and benefits when she returned to work.

Plan for the future

Planning for the future is vital. When you’re sick, you suddenly realize the limits of your own mortality and your priorities may become clearer. It’s a good idea at this point to set new priorities and goals for the future. If you’re terminally ill, this step is critical. You may also need to quickly revise your financial and estate plans. Even if you expect to recover from your illness, you’ll benefit from reviewing your insurance coverage and your financial plans and by applying lessons learned from your illness to planning for the future.

Dealing with unemployment

Deal with your emotions

When you lose your job (unless you’ve quit), you’re usually angry and discouraged. It’s natural if your self-esteem is ebbing, and you may be tempted to run away from your problem instead of facing it. You may be tempted to make a drastic career change, start your own business, or continue your education. Although doing one of these things may be right for you, be careful. You may be reacting emotionally rather than logically. Following your dream can be wonderful, but it can also be a way to escape from the crisis that confronts you. Check out your options carefully, and don’t forget that finding a new job is one of them.
When Lou was 53, he was laid off from the automobile manufacturing plant where he had worked for 18 years. A month later while still depressed, Lou decided to take his life savings and invest in his dream. Six months later he opened Lou’s Lakeside Restaurant. Unfortunately, Lou’s restaurant failed because he hadn’t taken the time he needed to plan his business or to learn about running a restaurant. He lost all his money.

Find support

If you’re married, you may be tempted to rely upon your spouse for support, and he or she is probably happy to give it to you. Remember, though, the most loving spouse in the world can’t solve all your problems and is probably more anxious over your job loss than you realize. Share your burden with your friends, a support group, a career counselor, or a financial professional.

Find a way to pay your bills

If you’ve lost your job through a layoff or because you were fired, immediately contact your state’s unemployment office. You may be able to apply by phone or by mail, and you may receive benefits quickly once your application is verified. You’ll also need to find ways to cut expenses or increase your income. If you know that you are losing your job a few weeks or months before it happens, you’ll have time to restructure your debt, take a part-time job to fund your future unemployment, or borrow against your savings, home, or investments. If your job loss is sudden, however, you may need to rely upon your savings and find ways to reduce your payments on bills.

Find a new job

One of the first things on your mind when you lose your job is finding another one. You may be surprised at how difficult this is, particularly if you’ve worked at the same job for a long time. If you’ve dealt with unemployment before, you probably know the drill: update your resume, check the want ads, begin to network, etc. Even if you’re an experienced job seeker, there are resources that can help you.

Dealing with the death of a family member

When your spouse or a family member has died, you may need to plan the funeral, organize your finances, and claim life insurance benefits. You may need to serve as executor of your loved one’s estate, and you may need to be familiar with estate settlement procedures.

Confidence Wealth & Insurance Solutions 1 Comment

Layoffs After 50: You Have Options

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.
-Dalai Lama

From the lunchroom to the nightly news, older workers are bombarded with stories of how hard it is to get a job after 50. This can be a demoralizing refrain. It’s especially scary if you depend on an income to survive because you don’t have enough in savings.

One mistake many people make is to turn to their retirement savings as a life raft. But, if you’re 50 or older, this could be a terrible move.

3 out of 10 people who lose or change jobs cash out of their retirement accounts.1

An estimated 1.5 percent of assets “leak” out of 401ks and IRAs each year through early withdrawals, cash-outs or loans, according to a white paper from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.2 Without these leaks, IRA retirement wealth would be 20 percent higher.3 This is a substantial amount for people on fixed incomes.

Apart from draining your IRA or 401k during unemployment, being out of work can hurt you in other ways, too.

The Center for Retirement Research4 reported that:

➢ The average older worker who loses her job has a reduced income of 15 percent a decade later versus her older peers who averted a layoff.

➢ Not only that, but her pension is worth 20 percent less and financial assets are also reduced by 30 percent.

Let’s put all of this doom and gloom into perspective. Although, it is tougher – in some instances – for older Americans to find work, it’s not impossible. In fact, there are dozens of resources out there to help you capitalize on your experience.

Many of you might be thinking: what about age bias? Yes, age bias exists – but so do companies and hiring managers who understand the value seasoned workers bring to the table.

And with the wonderful world of technology, there is a whole new job market that many people don’t know exists. Or, if they do – they don’t know where to begin.

So, before you touch that 401k you have worked so hard to build up, roll it over into an IRA or just leave it where it is – if you need help figuring out what to do with your investment, contact us and we’ll walk you through the next steps.

Now, let’s look at 5 job options you can explore today!


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    Thought freelancing was just for Millennials? Think again. This is an entire world full of skilled, talented people of all ages and backgrounds who make money doing what they love – without ever having to leave their house. The world of freelancing is open to everyone from teachers and administrative assistants to engineers, voiceover actors and salespeople. There are many freelance job sites out there that will help connect you with employers. Here are a couple popular ones: and


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    Have you been on a website and a little box appears asking you if you would like to chat? The person you would be chatting with is called a “virtual agent.” They are probably wearing slippers, sipping tea and sitting in their living room. But, they will still do a great job helping you get what you need. You could be one of these people. Many reputable companies hire virtual agents as a way to up their customer service game. Needle is a fantastic resource for virtual agents. You can fill out an application right online:

  • 3. TUTOR

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    College graduates can make money working from home as a tutor. This goes for people over the age of 50. is one resource to find work making $10 per hour or more remotely. As all teachers know, college can’t prepare you for hands-on teaching – only experience can do that. So you have a huge advantage! Popular subjects include math, English, social studies and history.

    Kaplan is another reputable employer that hires experts in a variety of areas to teach online courses. Subjects include software development, data science, UX/UI, IT, test preparation, finance and accounting, business, insurance, real estate, legal, healthcare courses and more. You can apply directly on their website:


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    Good writers, editors and proofreaders can make a living working right from home. There is a growing need for content these days, so the demand for quality writers is huge. If you have experience writing or editing, you already have a leg up on your younger peers – as many inexperienced writers make rookie mistakes.

    You might want to collect pieces you have written and create an online portfolio. There are many free sites out there, so you don’t have to spend a penny. It doesn’t have to be fancy either, just a place where employers can go to see your work. WordPress is an easy-to-use (and FREE!) DIY website builder. In some cases, samples aren’t required – you might just have to take a skills test. Check out Global English Editing ( and to get started.


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    If you want to get out of the house and interact with people, without having to rejoin the rat race, seasonal and part-time work might be the best option. There are so many jobs for people who are flexible in their hours and expectations. You could sign up with a temp agency and take jobs as they come or work part-time at a store, as a bookkeeper or as a museum membership agent. The sky’s the limit!


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    Don’t believe the hype! Unemployment is relatively low for people over 55, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Recent data shows that the unemployment rate for people over 55 is just 3.2 percent; contrast that number with a whopping 16.1 percent for teenagers (16 to 19 years) – and older workers aren’t doing too bad.5

    Of course, you might face hurdles as you get older – but so do recent college grads. Everyone has their own challenges they must overcome when job hunting.

    It’s natural to feel anxiety if you’re unexpectedly let go from your job, but avoid making hasty decisions. Tapping into your retirement savings should be the last thing you do.

    TAKEAWAY. Make a list of all your skills, stay positive and before you know it, you’ll have a brand new job – and your retirement savings intact.




Confidence Wealth & Insurance Solutions 3 Comments

If You’re Getting a Divorce, You NEED to Do This Now

Put Emotions Aside and Avoid These Four Common Traps

Jen and Steve have been married for eighteen years. They have two children, 16 and 14, a beautiful home, good jobs, vacations every year and money saved. In short, their life looked picture-perfect. Until Steve asked for a divorce. Blindsided, Jen was unable to function normally. Her emotions were turned to 100. It was as if her world had been t-boned by a semi-truck – driven by her husband. At least that’s how it felt.

Jen was stuck in a whirlpool of anger, sadness, confusion and guilt. Why? What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? What if…?

Jen and Steve are examples of the, approximately 813,000, couples who get divorced every year.1

The 4 Major Mistakes Women Make

But here’s the deal: if you’re a woman who is faced with divorce, you must avoid making these four common mistakes – for your future well-being.


Of course you’re emotional, the most important relationship of your life is about to end. This is totally normal.

But you can control how much damage it causes by getting your head together. This is especially important during divorce proceedings.

Here is something you should think about when you’re in the thick of divorce: what do I want my life to look like in two years?

Tap into your innermost desires to paint a picture of your new life, post-divorce.

► Do you want to have financial security?

► Do you want to be able to enjoy all the same things you do now?

► Do you want your children to live in the same neighborhood or go to the same schools?

This picture of your new life is your map for navigating negotiations of finances and assets. Because if one thing is certain: men usually treat divorce like business deals. They leave their emotions outside of the lawyer’s office. And you should, too!

This means if your soon-to-be ex tries to convince you that you don’t need a lawyer, you must put your emotions aside. You should definitely get a lawyer – and one that comes with high recommendations. Also, make sure you don’t empty your bank accounts paying attorney fees.

 You might be tempted to stick it to your husband by taking him to court until he hands over his left kidney – but that may cost you and your family.

So keep cool and look at this like a chess game. You want to the most you can get without hurting yourself.


This is a biggie. Many women have no idea what they have or what they owe. Here’s a very important piece of advice: if you are thinking about filing for divorce, find out what you have before you do.

 This is why: as soon as the word divorce comes up, your husband will have a head start at hiding assets that might have gone to you and your children. Not all partners will do this, but it happens.

You can either do the detective work yourself (open those bank statements) or hire a forensic accountant to do it for you. The more you know, the better off you will be when it comes time to divide assets.

You might not believe this, but many women walk away from a lot of money – millions even – out of guilt or emotional fatigue.

Let’s talk guilt first. As women, we often try to please. We don’t want to hurt anyone and we don’t want to be judged poorly. Because of this, so many women feel guilty about asking for what they are entitled to.

If they were stay-at-home moms they might feel like they don’t deserve half of the assets. And guess what?

 When they do walk away from their fair share, they often regret it later. The simple reason for this is that emotions clouded their judgment (see #1).

After the dust settles and you begin to see things clearly, it is too late to redo divorce proceedings.

So be smart. Make sure you get the maximum you are entitled to by law.

Remember, many men treat divorce like a business transaction – and you should, too.

Make your partner aware of your intentions: you want what is legally owed to you – nothing more and nothing less. If he bullies or harasses you into settling for a lesser amount, you can avoid talking to him and use a mediator instead.


Once the divorce is over you are now left with your assets. For women who have relied on their spouses for financial support and guidance, this can be a very intimidating situation. This is when many women make irreversible mistakes.

First of all, you might still be emotionally vulnerable. It could take two years (or more) to get over a divorce.2 What does this mean? You could trust the wrong people to help you heal your wounds.

 Predators are very good at spotting potential victims who are often emotionally fragile, hungry for love and companionship.

Predators can come in many forms. They can be a new boyfriend. An unethical financial advisor or attorney. Someone who wants to sell you their business.

Whatever the case may be, you need to secure a financial advisor you can trust. Why is this so important? Easy. It’s important because your advisor will help you manage your assets to achieve the lifestyle you want.

You want to avoid paying tons of fees or locking money into investments that might not match your current situation.

Make sure the advisor comes with excellent recommendations and is a fiduciary.

Click here to visit out our affiliate company PLJ Advisors. And yes, they are fiduciary!

Bottom Line

Divorce is not the end of the world, ladies. You will survive it! The difference between women who handle it rationally and those who let their emotions take the wheel is enormous.

Don’t be afraid to get support from women who have been through it. Make sure you trust the right people. And, finally, don’t short change yourself!

To learn more about what to ask a prospective advisor, read this article: If You Don’t Know What a Fiduciary Is… NOW Is the Time to Find Out




Confidence Wealth & Insurance Solutions 3 Comments

Rich Habits for Women: 4 Secrets of the Ultra Wealthy

“Never spend your money before you have earned it.”
-Thomas Jefferson

You Can’t Retire Off Shoes and Handbags

Women are bombarded with ways to improve their lives. From talk shows and magazines to social media and best-selling books. The advice women get usually revolves around looking better, losing weight and being in style.

  • We are told how to reduce calories, how to dress better, how to get a flatter stomach and longer eyelashes – but we are almost never told how to get financially independent.

For every article on saving money, there are 100 on how to curl your hair or apply eyeliner.

What’s Sexier: Money in the Bank or a Mountain of Credit Card Bills?

The thinking is that financial responsibility isn’t very sexy. Who wants to read an article about interest rates? But, what people don’t think about is that money is only sexy when you have it – borrowed money, like credit card debt is the opposite of attractive.

The goal is to be financially secure and independent.

Image from Better Decorating Bible


“I wanted to be an independent woman, a woman who could pay for her bills, a woman who could run her own life – and I became that woman.”
-Diane von Furstenberg


The lesson here is don’t let billboards and commercials convince you that you need one more kitchen gadget or body wash to feel good about yourself. Or that you need to borrow money to fake a lifestyle you can’t afford. Money in the bank is one of the best feelings in the world… just ask anyone who doesn’t have it.

Less Lipstick, More Benjamins

We wanted to add to the conversation about women owning their money – because it’s more important than losing 5 pounds. Don’t get distracted by all of the ads for miracle serums and the latest hair product; these are all designed to do one thing: separate you from your hard-earned money. Don’t be tricked!


For women to be financially independent, they have to be aware of slick advertising that preys on vulnerabilities. Instead of a drawer full of lipstick, you should having a savings account full of money!

Dodge the Debt Trap

Your goals should be to leap across those murky debt moats – the ones filled with high-interest loans, credit cards and second mortgages. Women should enjoy a comfortable lifestyle after they retire, not one riddled with bills and phone calls from collectors. The stuff you buy today is not worth the anxiety you will feel tomorrow. 

Make Sure You Find a Reliable, Experienced Advisor

“Trust me—most investors who lose money due to bad or risky investments do not have the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) knocking on their door to help. There is no one holding a bouquet of roses waiting to give them a big rescue kiss and return their life savings in the form of a check.”
-Crystal Oculee, “Money Confidence”

After saving money, downsizing and creating a smart budget that works FOR you, not against you – it’s time to lock in a great financial advisor. Not an average advisor, a GREAT one. Don’t trust your savings to just anyone. Make sure you get an advisor who is certified and comes with top recommendations. And never be afraid to ask questions – it’s your money, you are 100% responsible for its well-being.

Now… are you ready to get wealthy?



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    “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

    Starting today, deduct at least 10 percent of every paycheck and put that into savings. If you value financial security, then you have to prove it with your budget. People who spend hundreds on clothes every month, but have no savings, DO NOT value financial security. So change your habit and change your life.


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    “If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes.”
    -Warren Buffett

    When you invest in a 401k in your 20s, 30s and 40s, you have to commit to this investment for the long haul. Make sure your funds are allocated properly, but don’t sweat small shifts in the market. Selling or getting out because you panicked is almost always a bad move.


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    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
    -Dale Carnegie

    In money terms this means being proactive with your paycheck. Look at your check like it’s a superpower that will enable you to retire comfortably, afford any emergencies and eliminate money stress from your life.

    Don’t rely on your spouse or financial advisor to do all the retirement heavy lifting. Get involved in your investments. Ask questions. And make sure you meet with your advisor at least once a year to ensure you’re on the right path to financial freedom.


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    “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
    -Richard Branson

    So, you made mistakes. You got into debt. You claimed bankruptcy. That was in the past. Today, you’re going to make smart choices to climb out of each and every financial hole you are in. Yes, it will be hard… but IT WILL BE WORTH IT! Make small steps toward a big goal, before you know it you will be debt-free with smart investments and lots of money in your savings account.

    Part of being tenacious and overcoming past missteps, is sacrifice. This might mean getting a second job (or one that pays more), investing in your education – so that you can get a higher-paying job, downsizing (trade in an expensive car for one that costs less) and cutting out the extras (instead of getting weekly manicures, use that to pay off a credit card).


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    Remember ladies, shifting your priorities can be tough at first. But once you start, you will feel so much more powerful and in control. These are habits that work – so start shopping in your closet and depositing money into your savings.