Author: Lori Brand

Blog author, Lori Brand, of SafeChoice Financial Group writes about wealth building for the rest of us.
Debunking the “ I Can’t Afford To Save” Myth

Debunking the “ I Can’t Afford To Save” Myth

Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

By, Lori Brand

It is estimated that 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75% last year. Living paycheck to paycheck can leave you financially devastated if faced with even the smallest unplanned financial emergency, not to mention the stress of worrying about one. The biggest obstacle to combatting the paycheck to paycheck trap is telling ourselves we can’t afford to save. When we send our brain a message, we seem to listen. It’s no wonder then, when we tell ourselves we can’t afford to save, we don’t. So how do we turn the cycle around and begin saving?

1. Set Money Aside Each Month. The biggest way to stop living from paycheck to paycheck is to have money in the bank. While it sounds ridiculously obvious, the truth is you need to change the rules. Rule #1 is to stop telling yourself you can’t save and then download STASH on your IOS or Android phone. STASH is probably the most effortless way to save extra money. You decide the amount you want to save each week and it goes into an account that you are most likely going to forget about until the reminder pops up on your phone that you’ve saved some money. Afraid to commit? You can try it out for as little as the price of that latte you just ordered. You can stop anytime and should you need to move money back for that unplanned emergency, it’s simply a swipe on your phone. STASH will charge $1.00 per month for balances under $5,000 but it’s a small price to pay if your not disciplined to save anywhere else.

2. Sign up for a Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account with an attached savings. (free if you use your debit card 10 times a month) Every time you swipe, and extra dollar is deposited into a savings account. If you spend $2.00 at starbucks, $3.00 will come out of checking with the extra dollar going to savings. I was able to save several hundred dollars each month just from my regular purchases.
Be disciplined each month to then move that money to another outside account such as STASH or open another long term investment account (or check with me) and watch your money grow.

3. Invest your change digitally with ACORNS, another Iphone app that rounds up each purchase you make with linked debit and credit cards and puts the money into a savings account. Once the money builds up you can choose to invest the money or check with me and I can help you put it somewhere to maximize your return.

4. Still not using your 401-k plan at work? Then you are definitely leaving dollars on the table. For each deposit you make, no matter how small, Uncle Sam is going to contribute to your savings by reducing your tax liability with your pre-tax deposit. For instance, if you save $50.00 per month and your are in the 28 % tax bracket your true cost of saving is approximately $36.00. Additionally, many employers have a built in match plan. As with most automatic savings programs, once it starts coming out of your paycheck you don’t see it, feel it or miss it but you’ll love watching your savings grow! Another benefit of the 401- k? Many plans have loan provisions that will allow you to “borrow “ your own money at a very small rate of interest.

Stop telling yourself you can’t afford to save, you can’t afford not to!

About the Author – Lori Brand

Lori Brand is Managing Director of SafeChoice Financial Group and a co-founder of Connect the Dots 4 Women, an organization whose mission is to connect, inform and educate women in business in areas such as work, money, well-being and lifestyle.

Thoughts on Social Media and Supporting Women in Business

Thoughts on Social Media and Supporting Women in Business

Do we really want to see others succeed?

By Lori Brand

Riddle me this…. I spend half a day creating content for a blog post for my business. The finished product is quite informative, even to my own critical eye. Posted on my website, cross-post to Facebook and LinkedIn. It gets 4 likes. The next day I posted a picture of the tuna tacos I ate for lunch and it gets 220 likes. What gives ladies? And it’s not just me. As a member of several women’s networking groups, I see women constantly posting business invites, product launches, seminars, you name it, and none of them (except for the same small handful of women) seem to garner a whole lot of support, at least in the “like” category. Post a pic of a buzzfeed recipe, your kids, or a sordid reference to a cheating spouse and the likes are off the charts.

With social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn being such an integral part of our lives, as women in business, or stay at home moms, spiritual sisters in the universe; do we really want to see other women succeed? Well, it’s complicated. We want to see other women succeed, but only to the degree that it doesn’t tread on our already fragile depiction of our accomplishments in the business world, or only to the degree that it does not cast an even more negative pallor against our own (perhaps compromised) sense of self worth in what is still largely a man’s world,at least as far as business and money are concerned. We are conditioned to have to appear uber capable against the archetypal male wage earner, and anything less would be, well, just that.

As women, we often unfairly categorize our wage earning ability as “bread-winner” or “support staff” and our position on that playing field largely determines the support we may offer our universal sister, at least on social media. The logic is pretty simple….(and it goes like this), “If your success makes me feel bad about my life’s choices, I won’t give you a like.” If we somehow feel like we can’t compete, then we don’t need to be reminded of our inadequacies by reading another women’s super post of her accomplishments in the business world.

When the stay at home mom, barely able to sustain her multi level marketing business due to the demands of home and family, reads about Jane who just launched her wildly successful natural food line, an imbalanced comparison to her own business success may leave her feeling frustrated or inadequate. And in a society where a digital presence is increasingly more important, do we really want to give a “like” to someone who appears to be surging ahead, if someone else feels like they’re lagging behind? It appears not.

Despite the team we play for, aren’t we somehow sabotaging our own success and the success of all women by failing to embrace the choices we have made, no matter those choices? We know best that life is full of twists, turns, and changes. Some planned, some unforeseen. Second careers, second marriages, second families. New friends, old friends, new adventures and new challenges. New failures along the way too, but always a chance for a reboot and a chance to start again. And wouldn’t it be so much easier if as women, we embraced each other’s changes, successes, and failures unequivocally, without fear, judgment and comparison? You never know what lies down the road and when you will cross paths with one of your sisters.

Connect The Dots 4 Women is committed to supporting women in business, their stories, their challenges, and inspirations. Coming soon, Connect The Dots will be inviting you to share your stories with us. Be sure to like us on Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter at

Ten Mistakes Smart Women Make with Money

Ten Mistakes Smart Women Make with Money

Mistakes are an inevitable part of life, we’ve all made them, and most likely will continue to as long as the demands of life push and pull us in unmanageable directions. Money poses its own unique set of challenges. Here are some of the most common money mistakes smart women make and what we can do to correct them. Continue reading “Ten Mistakes Smart Women Make with Money”