A Message From Kim


“Imagine you’ve just had an ideal week. What 3 things did you complete?” It’s all about
being clear on your priorities.

Women’s News: I Don’t Believe in a Savings Account


Megan Baldwin

When I was a little, I kept a small green backpack embroidered with Sesame Street characters at the foot of my bunk bed. It was my “just in case” bag, assembled after a terrifying fire safety assembly. I’d known just what I’d pack: Cabbage Patch doll (plus outfit changes,) black patent party shoes, swimming lesson certificates, and feather collection. Since these, my most prized, possessions were zipped away, I couldn’t play with them as much as usual. It was hard, but that was the price of being prepared for a phantom house fire.

Sometimes I think about this backpack and wish my grown-up self was just as willing to stave off momentary wants and plan for life’s fires. I won’t. I don’t exactly believe in a savings account. I used to blame it on a genetic incapability. I was never particularly gifted at math, which I thought was a prerequisite for wanting a savings account. And writing isn’t a career in finance. So it wasn’t my fault that I never had excess money lying around, I rationalized. Writers aren’t supposed to have money, or even care about it. Yet, the fact is I make more now, than I ever have in my career of unpaid internships. My savings account, however, probably has no idea that I don’t still babysit.

Out of excuses, I have been forced to stare at the fact that my casual dips into the red are not a side effect or an accident, but a choice. To most, like any bank employee, this is wrong. And maybe sometimes it feels like I should be putting money aside, instead of investing in my closet or whatever else I happen to want from the bodega. But, I am really good at ignoring this feeling and defiantly swiping, because what am I saving for?

I know what it takes to pay my rent, keep my phone on, and get to and from work. I know enough not to live beyond my means. I am not in debt. I know, I could put whatever is leftover from my expense list under my mattress and not have a massive panic attack when my car gets impounded. But even armed with this knowledge, I don’t really make an effort to save and inevitably when my rent is due, I have enough to write the check and buy a pack of gum.

If you’re someone who religiously puts a portion of each paycheck in an account and anticipates putting down a deposit on your first house, you’re probably thinking: dumb, entitled, annoying. But what is the real harm in it — I’m single. There’s no wedding looming or a kid who needs a bowl of mac and cheese. Even if I could afford a dog, I wouldn’t have time for it. And to be honest, I’d rather have a gym membership than a 401K and it’s an either/or situation. I don’t think I’m alone either. Like many in my age/tax bracket, I don’t really want to rationalize going without in the present in order to plan for an amorphous future. I understand that maybe that future might contain big ticket items — wedding, houses, cars, kids, college tuition — but then there’s a version that will not. And until I get to a point where I want to fork over a couple thousand dollars to live somewhere with a walk in closet, it’s difficult to see the purpose of saving for something that feels completely irrelevant to how I live now. Right now, living is going to dinner with friends, complaining about shitty $20 manicures, paying to have my laundry folded and dropped off at my doorstep, and buying kale everything.

Saving on the other hand, is a nice thing, I should probably do, but don’t really want to. It’s little more than a “just in case” bag — a sense of security that answers the question of what do you do when something happens.

I think that’s the other part of the story. Because there’s never really been a question of what I would do if something happens. Conveniently, it’s always been figured out. It’s not the “just in case” bag I would have assembled, but nevertheless it’s always sitting at the foot of my bed, reminding me that there’s a way out if you get into an accident and don’t have health insurance or you need to pay a ridiculously high brokers fee. I know how fortunate I am to have been born with a pair of knee pads because in my 20-something years I have fallen down quite a bit. I also understand that as I leave my 20s they are wearing thin. There are times I wish I’d been forced to break my own falls. Pick myself up. Pack my own just in case bag. Then maybe I would view saving differently. But retraining how you think is difficult — even once you are technically financially independent from your parents (read: pay your own cell phone bill).

It requires completely forgetting everything they’ve drilled into you: we are there for you, we want to help, we will do whatever it takes so you can have exactly what you want, you should have whatever you want. It requires deciding that you want to pack your own “just in case” bag because only you think that feathers count as a priceless possession, and moreover because you are capable of it — even if there is a part of you that enjoys still feeling cared for and wants to take a cab home. I don’t know when it will click and my savings account will stop looking like a penny bank. I know I probably shouldn’t have bought $60 worth of juices today because I literally just pissed that money away. Keeping the change is hard, so if you’re doing it, great. For now, I’ll be trying to calculate if I can buy this coat and still pay my rent on time.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-baldwin/i-dont-believe-in-a-savings-account_b_4302754.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

A Message From The Creator


Women’s Health: Link Between Domestic Abuse and Long-Term Women’s Health


Ludy Green, PH.D

President and Founder, Second Chance Employment Services

The physical and mental health effects of domestic violence can have a devastating and long-term impact on victims. In a recent ABC News report on the long-term health impact from domestic abuse, author Leslie Morgan Steiner commented that she still deals with psychological damage, physical joint pain and some short-term memory loss more than twenty years after suffering horrific abuse from her now ex-husband. Leslie is not alone.

Results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) reports that men and women who experienced rape or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime were “more likely to report physical frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with sleeping, activity limitations, poor physical health, and poor mental health than men and women who did not experience these forms of violence.”

The survey also reports that “women who have experienced these forms of violence were more likely to report having asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and diabetes than women who did not experience these form of violence.”

Another alarming report was published in September 2013 by an interagency Federal Working Group, created by President Obama in March 2013, to explore the intersection of HIV/AIDs, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities. The report states that “for women living with HIV/AIDs, violence is especially prevalent with over half of the women living with HIV experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV), which is considerably higher than the national prevalence among women overall (55% vs. 36%).”

Awareness and prevention of intimate partner abuse and violence is necessary to stop this cycle of domestic abuse. Increased National awareness and prevention of domestic abuse is improving each year. On September 30, 2013, President Obama declared October 2013 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The presidential proclamation promotes peace in our own families, homes and communities and calls for our commitment to end domestic violence in every city, every town and every corner of America. This proclamation has strengthened advocates charge to bring an end to domestic violence.

Domestic violence among intimate partners is an epidemic and the perpetrators are like diseases. The National Domestic Violence Hotline National Report, based on hotline calls during the first half of 2013, reported that the hotline received nearly 120,000 calls or an average of 20,000 calls a month. Approximately 64% of the callers were victims or a survivor of abuse from an intimate partner. Additionally, 95% of the victims experienced emotional abuse and 70% physical abuse. Without prevention, this disease cannot be cured.

Similar to preventing many diseases and illnesses, the first step to preventing domestic abuse is education. The NISVS report states that prevention efforts should start early in the home by promoting healthy, respectful relationships in families by developing positive family dynamics and emotionally supportive environments. These environments help children adopt positive interactions with adults based on trust and respect instead of fear.

For current victims or survivors, the prevention efforts need to be addressed by the community and healthcare system. These women and men need coordinated services to ensure healing and prevent recurrence of victimization. NISVS suggests that one way to strengthen the response to survivors is to increase training of healthcare professionals. These professionals should be trained to recognize domestic abuse and work with organizations that can offer shelter, legal services, mental health care, career training and employment opportunities.

Another important form of response to domestic abuse is to hold the perpetrators accountable. Many times laws are not enforced adequately or consistently and perpetrators may become more violent after the victim reports the crimes against them. Proper training within the criminal justice system is necessary to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.

CDC, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survery 2010 Summary Report
Interagency Federal Working Group Report, Addressing the Intersection of HIV/AIDs, Violence against Women and Girls, & Gender-Related Health Disparities, September 2013
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Report Based on Hotline Calls Documents in the First Half of Calendar Year 2013
Presidential Proclamation – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2013

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ludy-green-phd/link-between-domestic-abu_b_4341373.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

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