Women Investors: Things to Think About

As women take on more responsibility and independence with financial matters, we need to make sure that we are contemplating the big picture. With the multitude of choices out there, it can be confusing and frustrating trying to do the research and due diligence in picking the right choices for you and your situation. Below are a few things to keep in mind to help you along the way.

If you feel you don’t know enough about investing, you aren’t alone. Plenty of people know less than they should when it comes to how to handle their money. The problem is they don’t admit it or recognize it and as a result, their choices can cause them problems. A good investor recognizes when they need to ask questions or when then need to ask for help.

If you make a mistake, can you admit it and deal with it? Many people have suffered more because of failure to recognize a mistake and failure to handle it sooner rather than later. There is a saying “Good investors know how to take profits; great investors know how to take losses.” Ever person experiences losses. The smart ones follow a discipline that helps them know not only when to put money in but also when to adjust or sell.

Can you be patient? Knowing how long you have is a very important key to life choices. Your time horizon is the financial way of saying how long will your money be invested. Will you need it for something sooner or can it stay invested for the long haul and withstand the inevitable ups and downs of the market? We all need to make sure that we think about our short term goals and needs as well as our long term goals and needs. Sure tomorrow is never promised. But you want the ability to make your own choices for years and years.

Can you handle risk? There are two aspects to risk tolerance. The first is your financial ability to survive a loss. If you expect that you will need that money soon, those needs reduce your ability to handle the possibility of a loss. The second is your emotional ability to handle a possible loss. If you are invested in a way that you loose sleep at night, you may want to reduce the amount of risk in your choices. There are plenty of ways to help manage risk such as having an emergency fund or diversifying your investments. It’s just important to consider the possibilities before making your financial choices.

Hopefully, these thoughts will help you contemplate the possibilities as you equip yourself to pursue your financial goals. It will definitely be time well invested.

Author:    Amy Jordan is a Wealth Advisor for Indiana Trust and Investment Management Company where she helps clients with their financial planning.

Source: Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

5 Travel Tips for a Happy Vacation

  1. Check the weather before you leave.  Knowing what to pack will make your vacation easier and will save you money when you don’t have to buy weather ready clothing.
  2. If you are taking a road trip make sure your car is current with maintenance.
  3. To make sure your bottles of liquids don’t spill, take a piece of plastic wrap and place it over the opening of the bottle.  Secure the lid.  The bottles should still be packed in a plastic bag but the plastic wrap gives you an extra layer of protection.
  4. When packing shoes place them both into a shower cap or individually into two shower caps.  Also make the most of that space by placing socks, jewelry or electronic cords into your shoes.
  5. Keep children entertained on the road by placing an over the seat activity center in front of them for easy access. You can store coloring books, crayons, paper, pens, an iPad, earbuds, kleenex, cd’s – you name it. 

Author: Wendy Taddeucci, CPO®, Simply Organized, LLC, Organization and Productivity Consultant
Wendy Taddeucci

Tips for a Great Summer Party


  1. Pre-planning is key! The more you have planned every detail ahead of time, the more relaxed you will feel on party day. Plan the menu. Assign each item a serving dish and rinse it ahead of time. Prep food the day before. If you have outside furniture to wash, do so a few days ahead. Hire a few teens to help you with the party. Have them set up, clear dishes, refill food trays, keep the ice bucket full, and help with clean up.
  2. Little details make a huge impact! Create a “theme” and carry it through from the invites to the cards on the food tables to the thank you cards. Pinterest is a great resource to find ideas!
  3. Save time and money by sending “evites”.  There are several sites for this.
    The first is the most popular, but my least favorite.  All three are easy to use. You create an invite based on pre-made designs, customize it for your event, enter email addresses and voila! It also tracks rsvp and can send reminder emails. Celebrations will even automatically send a thank you after the event. (you customize it when you set up the evite)
  4. Always have a rain back up plan if it is an outdoor party. A pop up tent or garage space works great if you don’t want all of those guests inside the house.
  5. Remember to relax and enjoy your guests! No little detail is worth it if you are so stressed out you don’t enjoy your own party!
  6. Don’t experiment with “fancy food” you have never tried before! Use a favorite recipe and reinvent it with a fancy display instead.
  7. Be sure to consider your guests needs and comfort. Offer shade, plenty of water, & sunblock on sunny days. If it is night time and is chilly, offer throw blankets to the ladies, have bug spray on hand.

If all of this seems too overwhelming, hire a party planner like to handle and execute all of this for you! It will be the best party you ever had because you will actually be a guest at your own party instead of a worker!

Author: Angie Anderson, Owner, Belle Behind the Ball.

Living Green-Tips for Conservation at Home and the Office

by WBOM members Pam ProctorColdwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber and Evie Kirkwood, St. Joseph County Parks

April is for Earth Day and Arbor Day, and a great time to think about living a little more lightly on the planet. To save energy and natural resources at your office or at home, check out these ideas!

Skip the drip. Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth, time your showers and repair leaks.  Fill the dishwasher and the washing machine, rather than running partial loads. If you have an irrigation system, override the automatic timer to cancel a watering if we have had rain in the last few days, or if the forecast calls for rain.

Unplugged. Most of us know to turn the lights off when we leave a room. But did you know that the average home has about 20 appliances that use electricity even when they are off? In your office, things like copiers, printers, paper shredders, and fax machines, all use standby power. You can save some of that “vampire power” if you plug these items into a power strip, and turn off the power strip when you are not using the appliance.  Most battery chargers and phone chargers should be unplugged as well. On the high tech side switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, or even more efficient LEDs. On the low tech side, hang your clothes on the line to dry.

The hot and the cold of it. Now that the heating season is over, make a note to clean or
change your furnace filter. To reduce demand on air conditioning, use draperies and shades, especially on south and west facing windows.  To maximize cooling from your central air, be sure your registers are not blocked by furniture, rugs  or drapes. Lamps, TVs and older computer monitors all give off heat and trigger a false reading for the room temperature if placed too near a thermostat.

Got trees? Trees planted on the south side of your home generate a cooling effect from their shade and evapotranspiration (releasing water from their leaves). An ample layer of compost or mulch around plants conserves soil moisture, so you don’t need to water as frequently. However, avoid cedar or cypress mulch because often these products are harvested unsustainably. Better choices include lawn clippings, shredded leaves, or cocoa bean hulls, or free or low cost mulch from your community recycling center.  And, if you really care, let your lawn go dormant in summer. Unless your house is on the market and you need that curb appeal, you can reduce watering, mowing, fuel consumption and emissions by just letting the lawn turn tan in summer, which is what grass does in its natural state.

Thinking “green” at home and the office not only saves money, but also reduces our environmental impact. It may  make a home more marketable, too!

Pam Proctor is a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber providing residential sales and marketing and tips on buying and selling your home. Evie Kirkwood, is Director of St. Joseph County Parks in Indiana, featuring parks and programs for outdoor family fun. 

The 5 Ps of Proprietorship

By WBOM member, Rita Miller, CPA, Kruggel, Lawton & Company

I’ve worked with some amazing business owners and have found that they all practice what I summarize as “The 5 P’s of Proprietorship.”

1. Proficient-Successful business owners can man their own ship.  They know something about every duty that it takes to make the company run well.  They may not be able to complete every employee’s job from start to finish, but they can tell you quite a bit about the big picture of the jobs that their employees hold.

2. Positive– The best business owners maintain a positive outlook.  They come to work with a smile on the faces and they radiate a “can do “attitude.  This happy countenance helps the rest of the work force feel good about their jobs and the company.  It really makes a difference to start the day with a smile.

3. Personal– Owners that know something about each employee, and seek to inquire about employee goals, likes or family, are employers that create positive work environments.  I will never forget the day at my office when the retired owner stopped by, went straight to my shelf of family pictures, and said “I haven’t been updated on your family.  Please tell me about them.”  This gesture was so typical of this man, and remains part of the tradition of each partner since his retirement.  It made me feel very valued as an employee.

4. Practical-Employers who keep it real, keep their eyes focused on important items and retain a practical outlook are successful because they have their feet planted on the ground.  They realize the office doesn’t need a new coat of paint every year, or company cars don’t have to be luxury vehicles (the IRS doesn’t like the luxury vehicles either!), to make a successful business venture.  Focus on what is important and your employees will follow your lead.

5. Punctual-Great employers value their time and your time.  They don’t keep you waiting and they are prompt to respond to issues.  No one feels second rate and no issue goes unresolved.

One of the nice things I gain from working with a wide variety of clients is the opportunity to learn from them. The five items listed above have certainly helped me in my career.  I hope they  inspire you too!

Rita Miller is a board member of WBOM and a manager with Kruggel, Lawton & Company, a public accounting firm in South Bend, IN that offers tax and other accounting services.  For more information regarding tax tips, contact Rita or visit  klcpas.com.

A Change of Heart that Matters!

By Debra Sheehan of Body Matters, Inc.

February is for Valentine’s Day and a good time to focus on your heart. Modern science is coming to the same conclusion as our wise ancestors: our hearts hold the key to our happiness, health and harmonious relationships.

Bodies under stress

A definition of stress could be “emotional unease.”  It is not the event causing stress, it is our reactions/feelings to this.  In a stress response, we have over 1400 biochemical reactions in the body.   Cortisol levels (stress hormones) increase and DHEA levels (vitality, anti-aging hormone) decrease.  High cortisol levels increase our blood pressure, sugar levels, age us, diminish our memories and accumulate fat around our midsections and thighs. Think of the times during that day that your buttons get pushed! This is the stress response (survival physiology), which drains our energy!  If you could transform this stress response in the moment, you would think better, feel better and perform optimally.

Heart-Brain relationship

We are taught the brain is our power center, and in many ways it is.  However research at the Institute of HeartMath, has proven there are more neural pathways  from the heart up to the brain than from the brain to the heart. The heart can perceive (intuition) things before the head can think them. Ever walk into a room and feel a vibe of tension?  That perception is from your heart! When your heart is in a smooth rhythm pattern, the higher centers of the brain function optimally, and creating new neural pathways!

Heart rate variability

Heart rate variability is the beat to beat change in our hearts. Doctors look at this to see the health of our nervous system and the heart-brain interaction.  Emotions influence this pattern!  When we feel anger, worry, frustration, anxiety, or disappointment, a pattern is sent to the brain to minimize our higher brain centers (creativity, planning, impulse control, etc.).  However, when we feel love, care, compassion and gratitude the heart sends a different pattern, and those higher centers function well. Have you ever been angry and said something you wished you had not?  Yes, anger makes us stupid😉.

Heart Power 

The heart  has the ability to entrain our brain, respiration, digestion, immune, hormone  and most other systems to work harmoniously!  The heart is 5,000 times more powerful than the brain magnetically. This magnetic field around the heart radiates out 5 feet and influences others. We can influence the energy around us and inside of us by feeling “heart” emotions.  Feeling these emotions stops the stress response and the damage it inflicts!

Making the Shift

Next time you feel stressed try this:  focus on the area around your heart, breathe deeply into your heart, shift to feelings of love and appreciation!  Doing this consistently in life changes your health, performance and relationships!  Every time we do this we are influencing the energy within and around us!  We co-create with Spirit from the Authentic Self….our Hearts.

Debra Sheehan is a member of WBOM and owns BodyMatters, Inc. along with her husband. She has worked in the health care industry for 25 years.  Using HeartMath tools & technology, Debra coaches others on ways to reduce stress and bring more heart into your life.  She is trained and certified in massage therapy, orthobionomy, craniosacral and mind/body awareness. Ckick on her name to email her.

Communication with purpose

By Susan Miller, Creative Chameleon Writing Services, Bremen, IN

As social media infiltrates our daily life, good writing and communication skills are becoming more relaxed. While we don’t need to follow Victorian-era etiquette in our correspondence, we should still maintain certain standards to keep our messages clear and professional.

Be appropriate and accurate. Email has relaxed the rules on how we communicate. It is tempting to be less formal when writing an email than a printed letter. Regardless of the end product, use appropriate salutations and formatting when contacting someone you’ve never dealt with. Also, be sure to run spell check and use proper grammar. Nothing ruins credibility faster than sloppy writing.

Know your audience. If you’ve ever sat in a meeting where acronyms and insider knowledge was batted around like a Badminton shuttlecock, than you know what is like to feel like an outsider. Be clear when you write – or speak – defining your term the first time and then switching to acronyms.

Example: “Parts Per Million are defined on the report. Engineers expect the PPM count to be accurate.”

Even if you are writing a technical article for a technical audience, avoid the jargon. You never know who your reader might be.

Get to the point. A recent article in a major business magazine encouraged email writers to be direct in their messages – almost to the point of being rude. The article discouraged the use of pleasantries and email “chit chat” in favor of direct communication. While the advice on how to write messages was, in my opinion, a tad extreme, the notion of not rambling is valid. Electronic conversations can feel burdensome to overworked individuals. Consider just giving the necessary information and save socializing for another time.

No spamming. If you think you are allowed to send your business promotions to everyone you just met at a trade show or anyone in your email contacts database, think again. CAN-SPAM laws cover all commercial messages, including email that promotes content on commercial websites. Business-to-business email is included, too. So, if you want to send a message about your new product line, make sure you follow the rules or you are spamming. (Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to learn more – http://business.ftc.gov.)

Declutter cyberspace. Do you have a burning idea for an article you are sure will change the lives of your clients? Before you create that e-newsletter or blog post, be sure of your reason for writing it. The Internet is bursting with information (too much sometimes) and our email boxes are brimming with junk email. Just because you have a platform for publishing your ideas doesn’t automatically mean it is a good idea.

Susan Miller is a WBOM member and owner of Creative Chameleon Writing Services, Bremen, Indiana. She offers professional writing services to businesses and is a personal historian, working with families interested in capturing everything from treasured recipes to histories.