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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Give Yourself Permission to Dream

The year 2020 was unlike any other. The difficult times affected people around the world. But, for many of us who remain, it also had beauty. Sunsets. Phone calls with loved ones. The ability to wake up to new days.

In 2021, I hope you can still dream big—even if it scares you. Then reach for it anyway.⁠⠀

We can certainly note what we’ve experienced. For me, it’s also important to remember that I am still here. And that I have much to be thankful for.

So, as we enter a new year, I am wishing you joy, good health, peace, and success. And I thank you for reading my work across publications and websites, and for staying in touch here and on my Instagram, YouTube, and other pages.

In 2021, I hope you can still dream big—even if it scares you. Then reach for it anyway.⁠⠀

Look, sometimes we can talk ourselves out of opportunities, because we think we’re not ready. But we may not ever be 100 percent ready. So let your heart dream in the coming weeks. Reflect. Research. Ask for help from your loved ones—or even a professional, mentor, or other coach—if you need it. Then take steps to make it happen. ⁠If you’re afraid, acknowledge the fear, but still do what you can. For me, doing this has been a gift. Though it has not always been easy.

As 2020 proved to us, life is unpredictable. But growth is possible.

As I close this post, I also want to share: If you’re working toward something—whether it’s writing, financial goals like saving money, a mindset shift, or something else—and you haven’t seen the results you want yet, please know that with faith and hard work, things can change. Suddenly.

The journey will have hard spots. But, to make it to the place you dream of, keep believing in yourself and do the work along the way, if you feel led to a particular result. ⁠

Please feel free to comment or contact me if you have thoughts about this post or questions about how you can work on your goals for the new year. Best wishes for 2021, no matter what. ✨

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Bitcoin Hits All-Time High. Why It—and Other Cryptocurrencies—Matter

Tweet by lesliequander reading "Well, this has been a day" about bitcoin

If you’ve ever wondered if you should take cryptocurrency seriously, you should.

On December 16, 2020, Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency (but not the only one by far), hit $20,000 for the first time ever. It then went on to more than $21,000. By the next day, it was at more than $23,000.

After its lows of around $3,600 in March (when the pandemic affected global markets), this all-time-high is major. And it’s particularly interesting for U.S. investors during our current economic times, as the dollar has been down when compared to currencies like the euro. Plus, everyday and institutional investors have been buying Bitcoin. ⁠

What does this milestone mean? Well, if you’ve ever wondered if you should take Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency seriously, you should. I certainly do.

As I write this post, the global market cap of cryptocurrencies is more than $600 billion, CoinMarketCap reports. Yes, billion with a B. This is clearly something to pay attention to.

For now at least, as news continues to break, be aware that cryptocurrency—decentralized digital currency—exists. (The paper money in the background of the photo in this post is not the only game in town.)

Also remember: Bitcoin is a leader, but thousands of other cryptocurrencies exist at varying price points, including Ethereum (aka Ether or ETH), XRP, Litecoin, and Chainlink.

Also know that the crypto market is volatile and care is needed when investing, as you can see from Bitcoin’s intense price fluctuation just within a day (and during this year). And every currency is not something to invest in. So know that investors can have real gains and real losses.

Note: This blog does not offer investment advice. Always do your own research if you decide to invest in any financial market.

So have you heard of cryptocurrency? Do you find it confusing?

If you follow this blog and my YouTube channel, you may know one of my core subject matter areas is personal finance. And that I like to share what I know and encourage people that success and a wealth mindset are possible. This post is just a quick look at the landscape; there are many other things to discuss including the importance of blockchain technology, pros and cons of holding or investing in cryptocurrency, and more.

In closing, remember news is happening in this sector, which is one worth tracking. Please stay tuned. And feel free to share your thoughts or questions here, or on my Instagram page. 💥

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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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The World Still Needs Our Skills and Small Businesses

Pondering life in Washington, DC, in this throwback photo.

We’re in difficult times now. The news is sad, and this pandemic has changed our everyday lives and movements in ways we’ve never seen. As we’ve been encouraged to physically distance—leading to stay at-home-orders and business shutdowns—I’ve been thinking about what it means to own a business. And the role we can play in our economy, even as the economy contracts.

I settled on this: The world still needs our skills and small businesses. And we should continue to market them. Even now.

If you work as a consultant or freelancer, or own a small business, you might wonder if it’s still okay to sell your services. I wondered about this myself, especially since I’ve been developing more offerings for my success coaching program. And after doing some reading on this topic, I think it’s absolutely okay to market our services. And that we should.

⁣Small businesses contribute to the economy. And small business owners need our help right now. I just bought a face mask and earrings from Etsy sellers. I’m still assigning stories to writers as part of my consulting work.

For my part, I’m going to keep writing for media outlets and clients, working to grow my business, and supporting other business, too. If you’re able, I hope you will join me in giving that support.

With this in mind, I’m also keeping a few spots in my coaching calendar available for anyone who wants a free chat about how you can find success working for yourself (including as a writer or editor); find new clients; or just make extra money on the side, from home.

Our stories should be told. And companies still need help telling theirs.

Please feel free to email me or comment to learn more. Or if you just want a word of encouragement.

Your wellness matters. And your work does, too. ✨

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