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Money Matters - Taking Control

finance pensions retirement Oct 19, 2019

For this week's topic, I asked Caroline Anstee, Managing Director and Founder of Financial Designers, Anstee and Co to talk us through pension options for women in the UK.

Question: What options do women have to take control of their finances independently?

Caroline:

  1. If you are in your 40s and still working: Keeping up to date with their pension, having it reviewed regularly and contributing if affordable after looking at the budget. Request a state pension forecast. Have a plan and review it annually, saving as much as you can. Keep protection under review to ensure all liabilities are covered. Review any company benefits and ensure any dependents are secure. Don’t rely on anybody else looking after you in retirement.
  2. If you are in your 50s and still working: same as before but streamline the plan a bit more, review the plan and see if you are on track. Review whether current plans are still fit for purpose.
  3. If you are 50 plus without a pension of...
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Worry, worry, worry

anxiety mental health worry Oct 13, 2019

Worry is such a pointless occupation, we all know that. And yet sometimes when hormone levels start to fluctuate some of us are beset by anxiety that seems to come from nowhere.

Anxiety caused me untold angst during my own perimenopause. It didn't matter how much my head reassured me that all was well, something nagged away inside my brain, telling me it was a lie. I walked around with a vague feeling of dread which sat in the pit of my stomach like a heavy stone.

I would wake up in the morning and was immediately assailed by a horrible sense of impending doom. To try to counter it, I would lie in bed and think about each of my four children. "He's doing x with y and is going to go to z," I would think, "so I know he's ok." "I'm seeing her at lunch, so I can check she's ok..." It was endless.

To be fair, our family were dealing with some serious difficulties at the time. Weirdly, I seemed to be able to cope with the big, obvious stuff. It was the little things...

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Midlife - Time to Start your own Business?

In 2017 one fifth of new business start ups were headed by those over 55, with women leading the way. 

People 50 plus account for less than one third of the workforce,  yet account for over 40% of new business start ups. Furthermore, those over 65 and self employed have more than doubled this decade.

And why not?

“There is a whole third life that people look forward to: it’s not just about sitting under a tree in the sun, it’s about staying active and keeping the brain stimulated. One way to do that is to keep working. And there is a financial imperative to make sure the future is secure as you live longer.” Liz Earle quoted in the Guardian

The good news is that new businesses set up by those 50 plus have been shown to be more likely to succeed than the average. Experience counts for a lot when making the leap.

Many who have had corporate careers who feel they have been  managed out of their jobs post 50, have the funds available to...

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5 Minutes of Fame

What a week that was! Forgive me if I seem naive, but welcoming a news crew into my home, being interviewed and filmed and then appearing on the BBC isn't something I do very often (ie: never)!

It was interesting, and gratifying that the BBC decided to showcase The Midlife Movement's Face it, Own it! Project. It was also frustrating that they cut all mention of The Midlife Movement from the segment. Nevertheless, over 60 women (so far!) have hunted me down and sent their no make-up selfies to be included in the forthcoming book and exhibition.

The project has clearly struck a chord. I have been inundated with emails, not just with selfies attached, but with messages of support like the one below:

"I  just wanted to thank you for taking up the topic of the natural beauty of us all. As a 63-year-old mother and a retired teacher, I appreciate the pressure to conform to a stereotypical, idealised, artificial and unattainable image of womanhood. It's wonderful to see just how...

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The Skin We're In

Skin. When I think about the years I've spent looking after it, moisturising it, despairing of it, taking it for granted...

Skincare regimes need to adapt post 50. For me, it's not about "anti-ageing", it's about keeping our skin healthy, supple and comfortable.

Here are the essentials for skincare at any age, but especially as we get older.

1. Cleanse regularly

2. Exfoliate - gently!

3. Moisturise thoroughly

4. Protect from the sun

5. Drink plenty of water to hydrate the skin from the inside out

6. Eat a healthy, varied diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and good oils

But of course, you knew that. It's not rocket science. Add to that, don't. smoke and drink alcohol in moderation and you've probably got it covered.

I once read quote by doyenne of romance fiction, Barbara Cartland, that said (to paraphrase) that once we get past a certain age we have to choose between maintaining our figure or our face. She claimed that she had chosen to look after her skin and "sit down a...

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Move or Die!

fitness health Sep 15, 2019

That's a dramatic title for a blog post, isn't it? My apologies. But I needed to catch your attention.

As we get older we often start to notice a few aches and pains that never troubled us before. Feeling stiff in the mornings, slower recovery times after exercise, a slower metabolism, feeling tired... it's enough to make you want to give up and sit on the sofa. Which is what I am doing now, actually, as I type this blog post...

I confess, I have never been physically energetic. Mentally, I could win Olympic Gold, but physically... well, let's just say I am more Pooh than Tigger. I also have significant cartilage loss in both knees which makes squatting, running and walking up and down stairs difficult at times. It would be easy to give up and slide gently into old age whilst sitting on my (not inconsiderable) bum.

But here's the thing. The less I move, the more I ache. The more I ache, the less I move - and the more I eat. The more I eat the heavier I get and the heavier...

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The 3 Things Your Child Needs from You When they Leave Home

It comes round, so fast.

One minute, you're learning how to be a parent, how to keep this tiny, delicate human being thrust into your care alive. You help them learn to walk, talk, function. Navigate milestones like first teeth, potty training, first day at school.

Before you know it, you're helping with homework, freezing your bits off at the edge of a [insert appropriate ball-game here] pitch, washing dirty kit, learning the offside rule. 

Then there are hormones to contend with, slammed doors, broken hearts, exams... 

Until, finally, the day comes when they fly the nest.

It's a happy day, right? After all, isn't this what we wanted? Happy, confident, independent children? We're pleased for them, proud.

1. Recognise your Feelings

So what is this hollow feeling in the pit of the stomach? Why do our eyes smart with tears on the drive home? Why does walking into that quiet, empty house for the first time without them make your stomach turn over?

Of...

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Where there's a Will...

planning practical wills Aug 20, 2019

...there's a way! In this case, a way to ensure that your assets are divided the way you want them to be. This week, Guest Blogger, Dani King of Wellingborough Wills explains why you need to write a Will and what to consider.

What is a Will and why you should have one! 

What is a Will? 

Essentially, a Will is your chance to say what you want to happen to your assets when you die. 

Many people still think that writing a Will is something that you only really need to think about if you are…

  • Old
  • Have a terminal illness
  • Wealthy

…when in reality, there are many reasons to need a Will. 

Age, wealth and health are all valuable reasons, but it is generally your personal circumstances that are the most important factors to consider. 

Changes in your life can determine when it’s the right time for you to write your Will, or perhaps review and update it if you already have one in place. Some of these life events include:

  • Having a baby
  • ...
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Letter to my Younger Self

memoir personal reflection Aug 13, 2019

What would you say if you could write a letter to your younger self? It can be a meditative exercise. I wrote this ten years ago on the blog I was writing at the time, and it is included in my book: "Oh Crap - I'm 50! A Journey from Fearful to Fabulous (Sometimes)" available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions, and as a pdf download here on the website

Dear Jo,

If only I could stand at your shoulder and whisper in your ear, there is so much I would like to say to you.

If you were still the little girl in the picture I am looking at, I would hold you tight and rock you and tell you that it’s ok, YOU are ok, that it’s not your fault that some of the adults around you are so screwed up. I would tell you that you are a good, kind girl, that you don’t need to be afraid for much longer.

If you were five years old, I’d say, you know that lump in your throat that stops you from swallowing? That’s not your fault either. You won’t...

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Menopause in the Workplace

 

Neurological symptoms of the peri-menopause can include brain fog, which causes  difficulties such as loss of concentration and poor short term memory and impaired word retrieval. Along with anxiety, hot flushes and sleeplessness, they can severely impact a woman's confidence in her own performance the workplace.

Half of the British workforce are female, 3.5 million of those women are aged 50 and over and with increasing pension ages, this figure is set to rise. Studies show that 75% of women in this age group experience symptoms that are attributable to the peri-menopause, with many feeling those symptoms have adversely affected their performance at work. 1 in 4 actively consider leaving their roles as a result.

It makes good economic sense for companies to make reasonable adjustments for menopausal women, just as they do for any other condition. In this interview with Menopause at Work Trainer, Julie Dennis, she explains why neuro-diversity awareness is so...

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