Tales from the Wallet: Retirement Savings

retirement savingsLadies, how much do you save for retirement? Why do you do it? There was an interesting commenter thread about feeling saving burnout and wanting to splurge a little — do you count retirement savings as something you can cut back on, absent a strong need? We’ve talked about how much to save for retirement, what kind of tax-savvy investments exist to maximize your retirement savings, when to pay down debt vs. save, and where retirement should fit in your total money roadmap.

(Pictured: Hobo ‘Taylor’ Glazed Leather Wallet, on sale at Nordstrom for $70.)

For my $.02, I didn’t get started saving for retirement in a 401K or other tax-savvy vehicle until my late 20s, and I regret that — as they say, there are few powers in this universe stronger than the power of compound interest, and this kind of chart always freaks me out. My husband and I have generally taken the view that saving for retirement is one of our top priorities, and we max out every tax-advantaged vehicle. Like most parents of small kids, I’ll admit that these past few years (yay, childcare expenses) have been tight, and we’ve been moving money from our other, non-tax advantaged savings in order to max out our retirement accounts. (In case that’s unclear — I try really hard for us to spend less than we earn, and I kind of freak out if our take-home earnings for the month are less than we need to pay our bills. But then I remember that our retirement savings and 529 savings are deducted before they get to our take-home earnings, so as long as I can use our other savings to make up for the shortfall, I feel OK about it — within reason.)

How about you, ladies — what are your strategies for retirement savings? Does anyone get a match or perk you’d care to tell us about (anonymously)? Any good tips on how to do it? 

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Do You Still Apply When You Don’t Meet the Job Requirements?

Do You Still Apply When You Don't Meet the Job Requirements?Here’s a question, ladies: do you apply for a job if you don’t meet the listed job requirements? For those of you who do, is there a general number of percentage that you use as a goal (“if I meet at least 50% of the requirements, I’ll apply!”)? For those of you who’ve already gone ahead and gotten the job that you weren’t qualified for — share your success! How’d it go? Was there a learning curve, or did you hit the ground running?

I think often about The Confidence Code and their conclusion that “[u]nderqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. . . . Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent.”  I mean, yow. I just recently passed a job listing along to a friend that, we both agreed, was a bit of a stretch for her — she joked that she’d like to work for whoever was hired for the position, and decided not to apply for other reasons.  But the job posting itself seemed a bit absurd to me — like someone just wrote down The Perfect Candidate — and I wondered, really, how many of the listed requirements, the ultimately-hired candidate would meet. Alison at Ask a Manager even notes that “[t]hose qualifications are a composite of someone’s idea of the ideal candidate. Believe me, they will look at people who don’t perfectly match it.” I agree with her that you have to do a bit of extra prep before applying, such as rewording your resume to better match some of the skill sets, or even signing up to take other courses or certifications so you can at least show that forward movement is planned.

Ladies, what are your thoughts — do you apply to jobs where you don’t meet the job requirements? Do you think imposter syndrome is behind this, or something else?   (Fun challenge idea (maybe): let’s all apply to one job (or volunteer position) for which we’re only 50% qualified sometime in the next 6 months, and all report back on how it goes.)

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The Hunt: Camisoles for Work

camisoles for workSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We haven’t rounded up the best camisoles for layering (or demi camisoles) in far too long — so let’s discuss. Which are your favorites, ladies? What do you like about them — simplicity, stretch, shaping powers — something lacy or pretty? — or fun colors or prints to add a pop of color or fun to an otherwise basic outfit? What color camisole do you think is best under white blouses? (I’m on Team White all the way!)…

First, some picks in a few special interest categories:

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Pregnancy Worries and Your Job

Pregnancy Worries and Your Job | CorporettePregnancy worries can run the gamut from childbirth to health issues to being able to conceive in the first place. Add in concerns about how your job will be affected by your pregnancy (to say nothing of parenthood), and you’re dealing with a TON of worry.  But is it as bad as future moms might think — and is there any point to worrying about it before it happens (or is that similar to Sheryl Sandberg’s thoughts on “leaving before you leave“)? We’ve talked about many aspects of being pregnant — negotiating future maternity leavehandling frequent doctors’ appointments, working through first trimester exhaustion, and how to announce your pregnancy at work — but we haven’t touched too much on the worries that can loom large when you’re thinking about getting pregnant.  Reader B’s pregnancy worries involve handling her future pregnancy at work, as well as postpartum body changes:

I have a question that I have been looking everywhere to find answers to but have been unsuccessful, probably because the subject matter is TMI for most people and also very personal. I do not have kids yet but my husband and I plan to try in the next 3 years or so. Honestly, there is only one thing holding me back right now and that is my job. I absolutely love my job and plan to return after having a baby (I realize I could change my mind after having a baby), but the problem is that right now I share an office, with a male colleague. (I also realize that my office situation could change in 3 years, but I see no evidence of that happening.) My concern is with figuring out how to deal with bodily changes both while pregnant and after the baby comes and I return to work. I know that women deal with frequent bathroom trips, nausea, bladder accidents, milk leakage. How do I handle that while I office with a male coworker?

Hmmmn. I’ll agree that there are definitely body-related changes both during pregnancy and postpartum — but I worry that Reader B may be putting the cart before the horse here (and, you know, packing the cart with a lot of unnecessary anxiety!). A few thoughts:

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“I’m Exhausted” — How to Investigate When You Have No Energy (An Open Thread)

exhausted-no-energySomething I hear more and more these days is that people are exhausted and have no energy.  You can say what you want about information overload, device mania, etc — to say nothing for those of us with small kids, where it’s generally accepted that exhaustion is par for the course — but the fact is that for some people, there are actually things that medicine can do to help.  But even when you admit to yourself that it’s time to seek help, there are a million different routes to go down — and for friends I’ve seen seek help, it seems like doctors often need to be convinced there’s a medically-related problem. I thought it might be helpful to have a discussion for those of you who’ve gone down the huge topic that is energy and exhaustion — what did you research, what tests did you take, what doctors did you see?  Did you find resolution? How did you function at work and in life in the meantime?

For example, I know any of these could be possible answers to a constant exhaustion: [Read more…]

Deal Alert: The Nordstrom Winter Clearance Sale

nordstrom winter clearance saleThe Nordstrom Winter Clearance Sale is on, and there are so many great finds… I’ve made a few general notes as well as a few specific picks, below:

  • Hugo Boss – prices are 40-50% off; sale prices for pants are generally under $135
  • Classiques Entier – lots of dresses under $135
  • Tahari sale – lots of coats and dresses, regular and plus sizes
  • Ivanka Trump – lots of nice dresses, shoes, and bags
  • Stuart Weitzman – nice selection of boots and heels on sale, including their new bestselling heel (40% off, 5 colors, huzzah!)
  • AGL – tons of shoes newly marked down 40%, from flats to low heels to some sleek high heels
  • Kate Spade – tons of jewelry, lots of nice bags as well
  • Tons of markdowns on luxe tights from Falke and Wolford

A few quick picks for workwear are pictured below — ladies, have you bought anything yet? What do you have your eye on at the sale? 

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