Hello Again. Here’s a Project Update (Ta Da!)

The interesting thing about my quiet time on this blog is that I’ve been posting so much for other sites. How dare I leave my own little corner of the world dustier than it used to be?

So I’m back to catalogue a bit of what I’ve been up to during these changing times. And I’ll add, dear reader, that I hope you’ve been okay. It’s important to set boundaries with our time, and to care for ourselves, and no one needs to channel superheroes. So my blog falling away is a result of me following my own philosophy. (On a side note, did I also just channel Lady Whistledown?)

Okay, now here we go…

Editorial updates

I’ve been doing lots of reporting and writing.

For instance, I’ve done stories for Men’s Health on the ways people can be attracted to each other. For example, romantic and sexual attraction often are discussed, but people also can feel non-sexual physical attraction, intellectual attraction, and aesthetic attraction. Check out my author page on menshealth.com to read this series, and more content, and see answers to frequently asked questions.

I’ve also done as-told-to stories on interesting people for AARP The Magazine, including this one on a veterinarian who treats the pets of unhoused people.

When it comes to personal finance, I’ve reported on everything from the facts about investment banking (for Insider) to cryptocurrency as a payment option (for Gokhshtein Media) and what to know about Bitcoin IRAs for Insider (yes, this is a thing). There’s definitely much more, so check out my author page at Insider and my author page at Gokhshtein Media.

And my podcast has been airing and features some guest interviews. There I spotlight the mindset of investing and considerations for meeting your goals. Watch episodes on Gokhshtein Media’s YouTube page (or some via my media page here), or recent streamed episodes via my Twitter.

Social media and speaking

I have a fairly new TikTok account, and I’m thankful to have reached millions of viewers. Because if I can help anyone remember life’s lovely moments, or that mindset matters, or that they’re not stuck, or that people do care, that’s meaningful. (I’m @lesliequander everywhere, in case you want to follow along.)

I also spoke on a fun panel at the 2021 conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, giving the inside scoop on things that irritate editors. Because, look, there are things you need to know to stand out in a good way.

By the way, I have more to say about mindset, wealth-building, the pursuit of dreams, and best practices for breaking into media outlets. So, if you’re interested, check out my speaking page to learn how to request to book me as a speaker, moderator, or host.

Consulting life

Right now, I’m loving this consulting life. (Learn more about what I do.) At the end of 2021, I decided to leave my consulting post at Sisters From AARP, where I worked as senior editor and reported stories; edited writers; advised on brand strategy, product development, and communications; and developed and hosted live social media events. (That’s not even the whole list!) I’m glad to have been able to contribute. You can see my stories, including tips on how to move forward after divorce, how to cope with failure (I may post more on this actually), and various personal finance items as well as celeb and author interviews on my author page.

I’ll wind down here and will conclude with this: The quiet times definitely have their place. And it’s okay to be laid back. After all, we don’t have to share everything.

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How to Talk to Friends and Family About Crypto

The cryptocurrency market—which is volatile and includes risks and benefits—can be a modern pathway to potentially building wealth.* And I want to share as much info (for people to consider for themselves) as I can.

If you’re into the market, you may find yourself in a similar position of wanting to share news with friends or loved ones. But these conversations can be complicated.

For instance, your contacts may not understand the financial and tech possibilities of cryptocurrency—which, by the way goes beyond Bitcoin and includes a variety of altcoins like Ethereum, Cardano’s ADA, and even Dogecoin (created as a meme). Or maybe your contacts just aren’t fans of the market. After all, some people—maybe even you, dear reader?—may have (falsely) heard that crypto is nothing but a scam. Or that it’s only used for nefarious purposes. 

Nevertheless, if you understand the market, it may be worth trying to explain the landscape to others. Because, yes, there are some scams of which to be wary. But as Bitcoin has been surging to all-time highs this year—and mainstream media sites share news while celebs tweet about the space—it offers yet another chance to set the record straight. 

Plus, as we see companies like Tesla and firms like MicroStrategy pouring billions of dollars into cryptocurrency, many of us don’t want our loved ones left behind. So, since I’ve written about the possibilities that cryptocurrency presents—and continue to co-moderate public conversations on this topic with other knowledgeable people—I wrote about tips for having these conversations for Gokhshtein Media, where I’ve recently become a contributor.

One tip: Lead with facts instead of feelings. While it may be tempting to share emotions, sharing facts gives your loved ones a chance to evaluate information and news from their own perspective. 

Also use plain language. (This also is helpful when discussing a variety of subjects.) In general, by avoiding jargon and complex phrases—our cryptocurrency community has coined lots of them—you can help people understand your messages.

For more tips, please read the full story. I’m glad to contribute to this site and team and look forward to sharing more news on crypto in general.

P.S. Are you the one who has doubts or questions about cryptocurrency? You’re not alone. For background, feel free to check out my blog post on how not to have regrets in this space. Or feel free to comment here or follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay tuned about my articles and talks on this topic!

*Note: When I share info about investing or finances, it is not financial advice. It’s so important to do your own research and evaluate your own financial goals. If you have questions about your specific situation, consider talking to a certified financial planner. It is possible to learn if you take time to do it.

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Tips for Dating During This Pandemic: What to Know Right Now

Dating in 2020. Is it still possible? How can you adjust? And what exactly should you consider before meeting in person? Things are different now, and there are many issues to navigate, so I wrote about some tips to consider for Men’s Health.

Here’s an experience I had: After mainly staying home during the coronavirus pandemic and not seeing most of my family and friends for months, I reopened dating apps just to check out the scene. Things got a little weird.

The thing is, meeting someone IRL can mean having to be confident in their COVID compliance—and even then, it can still feel off. And I wasn’t the only one concerned about how to navigate using dating apps right now, as dating experts shared with me.

If you’re considering using dating apps, but feel confused without a roadmap, it’s normal. I did some research (for myself, Men’s Health, and humankind), and now I present…a plan that can help.

Some apps are trying to help daters navigate these uncertain times. For instance, Bumble now allows users to show which dates they’d be comfortable with (e.g., over video or socially-distanced with masks) and has encouraged people to date virtually.

Still, this pandemic can feel uncertain when it comes to our health and relationships. If you’re considering using dating apps—or considering meeting someone new in general—but feel confused without a roadmap, it’s normal. I did some research (for myself, Men’s Health, and humankind), and presented…a plan that can help.

For instance, when considering whether you want to meet, it’s okay to ask people questions about habits and preferences that matter to you, including whether they’ve been hanging out in crowds and who else they’ve been seeing. That might be different than what you’re used to, but these times can call for adaptation.

It’s also totally appropriate to be more selective about who you meet in person, and to establish ground rules if you decide to connect. Being more direct and particular about what we want actually can be helpful.

So would you go on a date with a new person now? See my article for more specific tips, as news continues to develop. Feel free to share this story with a friend or even a would-be date. (I’m here to help if you need a conversation starter!) And stay safe out there.

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What 3 Self-Made Millionaires Want You to Know About Building Wealth

I’m a contributor to Business Insider and often write about personal finance. I recently participated in an important project there about the racial wealth gap, which was developed by my editor.

For instance, the United States has the greatest number of millionaires — 18.6 million, or 40 percent of the world total, according to the 2019 Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse — but that doesn’t mean millionaires are the majority of this country’s population. In fact, the report notes that the level of wealth inequality “is high, both within countries and for the world as a whole.”

Since knowledge can help others, I want to make clear that I don’t think sharing your story is bragging at all.

The gap is even wider when we look at Black and white Americans. In recent decades, the median net worth for white households has “far exceeded” that for Black households, according to the Brookings Institution, and the gap is only growing.

Still, I think it’s important to highlight the Black people who have found success in America over the years. Knowing our history matters, but we also can consider how to grow beyond our original circumstances. I decided that I wanted to write a story about it. I pitched my editor, and got the assignment.

By the way, if you want to learn how to be a professional writer, or write for outlets you love, check out my recent YouTube video.

So how can we build wealth? One way is to know what’s possible and how to do it. But we don’t always discuss money openly in America.

I’ve dedicated my career to sharing information. And since knowledge can help others, I want to make clear that I don’t think sharing your story is bragging at all.

So see my story over on businessinsider.com for straightforward advice on building wealth from three Black millionaires—who didn’t start out that way. Then check out the other stories in the series, including my second piece on how to bridge the investing gap.

Do you realize you can build wealth? Do you want to learn more about how, including advice on investing? I’ve written about this in the past (and done YouTube videos) and plan to keep sharing on this!

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Insider Tip: My Strategy for Saving Money

To save money, I act like I don’t have any. 

That may sound odd. So I explained exactly how I do it in a recent story I wrote for Business Insider.

First, I actually like putting away money. As a child, I had my own little bank in the shape of a mailbox. I remember it being a gift from my grandfather, who’d worked for the United States Postal Service. I’d slide coins into the shiny mailbox and grew up learning that it was important to have my own money so I could take care of myself.

As an adult, I’ve set savings goals like traveling and having an emergency fund. The savings strategy that has consistently worked for me is the one where I transfer money out of my checking account, put it in a separate, online savings account with a higher rate of return — and then pretend like my stash doesn’t exist. 

If we’re lucky enough to be working, and to be able to save some extra money, this mind and money trick can be a way to save for education, debt reduction, a “freedom fund,” and more.

I think this strategy can be especially important now, especially for people who are fortunate enough to have additional money as typical spending activities are off limits.

Having savings in the form of an accessible emergency fund is important for many reasons. It provides some cover if things suddenly go south (with jobs, health, or other unexpected expenses). And having savings allows us to have a bit more freedom when it comes to choices like travels and even how we earn money.

Unfortunately, we can’t go to Europe now from the United States—or really move about freely. But, if we’re lucky enough to be working, and to be able to save some extra money, this mind and money trick can be a way to save for education, debt reduction, a “freedom fund,” and more. (I once used it to fund travel to Europe, across three countries, for a month.) 

Even with $20, $50, or $100 at a time.

So have you met your savings goals? Or do you want to? I’ll plan to revisit this topic again because it’s so important.

Read my story in Business Insider to see exactly how this game of pretend has helped me — and could help you. (Just remember this is not financial advice.)

Then feel free to follow me on this blog, and on Instagram and my YouTube channel (!) to keep up with my latest tips and news. Or feel free to comment or email me if you have questions.

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How 5 Lessons I Learned from a Furlough Can Help You in Today’s Economy

In the days before Christmas 2018, I’d been working as a writer and editor for a federal agency when I learned we needed to prepare for a possible government shutdown. 

On December 22, 2018, part of the federal government did shut down. In my office, the shutdown meant we were furloughed alongside hundreds of thousands of others. We could not report to work or receive pay; meanwhile, other federal employees had to work without pay.

I never imagined the shutdown would extend for more than a month, into 2019, and become the longest federal shutdown in history. You’d think I would have been worried, but I felt fine.

During that time, I did freelance work, reduced my expenses (while still enjoying life), kept my mindset positive, and more. In the end, the furlough was a helpful part of my financial journey.

If you want to learn more about working for yourself, I’m opening up a few spots in my coaching calendar to help anyone who wants a free chat about how to write or edit professionally—or how to move up in your career or make extra money freelancing from home.

Recently, I wrote about this furlough experience for Business Insider. You can read the entire article—including details on my five personal finance tips for then and now—on BusinessInsider.com.

And if you’re looking for a way to make extra money now (like I did then), it is possible. If you want to learn more about working for yourself, I’m opening up a few spots in my coaching calendar to help anyone who wants a free chat about how to write or edit professionally—or how to move up in your career or make extra money working from home. Because we do have some options, even when times are hard. And it can help to learn, and then take steps to get there.

P.S. In the end, the furlough confirmed for me (like other things in my life) that many events can help us grow. And even things that seem bad for us at first can be helpful. At least … they’ve been helpful for me.

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Video: 7 Ways to Fight Loneliness

Did you know feeling lonely can affect your health? It’s been linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diminished sleep quality, and more, even after controlling for various other factors, reports University of Chicago Medicine.

And with social distancing in effect, we can really feel lonely. ⁣

I reported on this topic for Sisters From AARP, where I’m a freelance contributing editor— and again, just recently, on my YouTube channel.

In this new video, I reveal seven ways to grow your relationships and feel more connected. Right now. ⁣(Even if you watch this video after distancing has been lifted in your area, the tips still can apply.)

Please watch and share. And feel free to subscribe to my channel.

How are you feeling as we physically distance? ⁣I hope this info helps you or someone you know. ?

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I Changed My Travel Plans Because of COVID-19. Why I’m Not Changing My Investment Strategy

I was scheduled to travel to Germany from DC during the first week of March and had been looking forward to the two-week trip. I thought the European travel would give me time to see the sights, write, and rest.

But then news of the spreading coronavirus and its fallout began to get worse, and I read about travel restrictions, quarantines, illness, and deaths. It was sobering — and really sad. I realized I needed to cancel my trip. In the days that followed, I watched the markets fall and saw worldwide news continue to worsen.

But even though reports have been rough, I’m not panicking. And even though I’ve changed my travel and social plans to be cautious, I haven’t changed my investment plans.

I’ve been writing about personal finance quite a bit lately, as the coronavirus pandemic also has had a real effect on our money. In this story for Business Insider, I revealed the three reasons why I’m leaving my investments as is.

The short version: I can stick with my investment plans because I have savings, I trust the market will recover, and I know the market isn’t the place to be emotional.

Check out the full story for the details, including info on how to avoid being an emotional investor—and why I think this market situation will change.

And feel free to pop onto on my Instagram page to tell me what you think about this topic. No matter what, I know this time is tough. Hope you are hanging in there as much as you can.

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Want to Quit Your Job? Ask These 4 Financial Questions First

If you’re longing to quit your job, you’re not alone. In fact, 3.6 million people quit their jobs in one recent month, according to a September 2019 release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And a third of US workers seriously considered quitting in the three months prior to one 2019 survey.

I was one of the people who considered quitting in recent years — and actually did it! — so I know how you may be feeling. But whether you want to get a new job (perhaps with a better salary or more growth potential) or work for yourself (like I do now), it’s important to think ahead. And a certified financial planner can help.

So I wrote about four questions to ask a CFP before you resign. Or, at minimum, four questions to consider for yourself. Because quitting can feel great. But being well prepared for your next phase can feel even better.

Check out my story on BusinessInsider.com to learn more.

And if you’re thinking about quitting to become a writer or editor, work in communications, or even to work for yourself, feel free to send me a note. Maybe I can help!

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6 Rules Any Investor Should Follow

I love writing about personal finance and helping people learn how to meet their goals in this area. That said, when it comes to investing, I know it can feel overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. And even if you have experience, it never hurts to keep learning and improve your strategy.

For instance, many of us may have learned more about shoe shopping than buying stocks—and we pay for this lack of knowledge when we miss out on the returns investing can bring.

Meanwhile, some people in older generations are working longer than they’d planned. So it’s important to have an effective investing strategy for the short and long term.

To help, I recently wrote about six key investing tips for Business Insider.

Topics include:

ŸŸŸŸ–what to know about emotional investing (there are ways to avoid it)

–what it really means to diversify your portfolio (people are getting this wrong, ya’ll); and

–how much cash it actually takes to start (it’s not as much as you might think).

So how much do you actually know about investing?

Read the story to see my six tips to help you get started or grow your money. Then feel free to comment or email me and tell me what you think!

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