Tuesday 7 August 2018

Saving: Where to Start?

Whether you want to start saving (or improve saving) in a TFSA, RRSP or a plain old savings account with your bank, you have to make a decision before you even consider risk tolerance, savings vehicle, and investment goals. You have to figure out how you're actually going to do the saving.

There are two methods of saving that I've seen fail pretty consistently, and they are as follows:

1. Deciding to save whatever you have left at the end of a pay period after you've paid all of your expenses. So you get your paycheque (let's say for simplicity's sake you clear $1,200 biweekly), and after paying rent, bills, etc. you put whatever is left into your savings vehicle.

2. Having easy access to your savings account. So, regardless of how you decide to save, you can remove the money with the click of a button anytime you feel like accessing it.

These two styles fail for two different reasons.

The first fails because, honestly, most people either forget to tuck the money away every two weeks, or they get to the end of the two weeks and realize they don't actually have much, or any, cash to add to the account. I've been working as a financial advisor for 4 years, and in that time I've had a few clients come in and tell me very confidently that they can save better on their own, without my help or plan. Fast forward a year from that meeting when we sit down again to do an annual review. I show them how much they would have saved with me, and then I ask them how much they saved on their own. Almost without fail, I've got the winning number and we end up moving forward together. This is partly because my method involves a set Pre-Authorized Contribution (PAC), say $100, set to the day your paycheque lands in your bank. We call this "paying yourself first" in the biz. So mentally, you're living as though you have $1,100 landing in your account biweekly. We always choose a conservative number to start, so that you're not overwhelmed with a slash to your budget. It's just a phone call to increase or decrease your PAC, so don't get too hung up on the number you start saving.

The second point above fails because accessibility to your savings can create a situation where you're putting $100 in every two weeks and pulling it right back out with a few mouse clicks. Sometimes having your savings being an extra step away (like a phone call to your advisor or a temporary hold) can make you question whether you really need to remove it or whether you should keep saving for that vacation you want to take next year, or those snow tires you'll need for winter, or that early retirement someday.

So. The best way to start saving, regardless of your budget or goals, is to set up a PAC for the day your paycheque lands and put your money in a vehicle like a TFSA or RRSP (vs a savings account you can access with the SAVINGS button on your debit card, for example).

I can personally attest to this method. Years before I began working as a financial advisor, I set up two TFSAs. One was for "bulk saving" where I would consciously put extra money, and the other had a $25/week PAC. In the beginning my bulk saving TFSA was much larger, but within a few months my PAC TFSA slowly took over. I hate to relate all of this back to fables but this is a true case of the tortoise and the hare.

There are definitely exceptions and some people take an active interest in their savings. Nine times out of ten though this "set it and forget it" method of saving is going to get you consistent results, and it doesn't hurt! Most times, my clients don't even notice a change of lifestyle at all.

As always, if you have any questions just reach out and ask! I'm happy to help, and happy to see the women around me grow their wealth and knowledge.

Peace, love, and WEALTH,

Friday 23 March 2018

RRSPs vs. TFSAs: A Breakdown

this gif serves no purpose
Sometimes when I meet a client and ask what they have for savings, they’ll say they have a TFSA and some mutual funds. Then I ask them what their TFSA is invested in, and I get a blank look. This is totally common in that many first-time investors had a TFSA opened at their bank because someone suggested it (Dad, teller, online ad), but totally abnormal in that TFSAs and mutual funds are not mutually exclusive. Tax-Free Savings Accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plans are what we call Investment Vehicles. They are the car model you’ve decided to go with. Mutual funds, savings bonds, cash: all of these can be the drivers of your vehicle (aka: the money that you put in your vehicle still needs a driver). I don’t want to get into investment options yet, because I want you to understand the difference between two of the biggest savings vehicles we have available as investors: RRSPs and TFSAs. These savings vehicles are what we call registered, in that they are government-created vehicles that have tax advantages. The growth of money inside of non-registered investments is taxed every year. I made this table below to answer some quick questions and to compare the two registered vehicles. 

What kind of dollars are contributed?
After-Tax dollars go into a TFSA (aka you’re not getting a return at tax time)
Pre-Tax dollars go into an RRSP (aka you could get a return at tax time)
When I withdraw, how is it taxed?
None of your original contributions or any growth will be taxed at all, because they were taxed before they were contributed.
100% of what you pull out (original contributions plus growth) will be taxed as income. But remember, you haven’t paid taxes on any of this yet.
What can I invest in inside this account?
Cash, GICs, bonds, stocks, mutual funds (same!)
Cash, GICs, bonds, stocks, mutual funds (same!)
How much can I contribute?
Contribution room starts accumulating when you’re 18 (around $5000/year). This question would require some investigation!
18% of your previous year’s income, plus any carry-forward from years’ previous (there are maximums. This year it’s $26,230). This question would require some investigation!

To help you further understand which one might be right for you, I’ve made this handy little chart! Often, clients will have both vehicles because they have a few different goals in mind. To use the chart below correctly, focus on one goal at a time.


1.      For the first result to the left, I’ve indicated that if you were saving for the short-term, you may want to consider a TFSA. Taking money out of a TFSA doesn’t trigger taxes, and none of the potential growth from investments is taxed either, which means that if you wanted to take out $2,000 for a vacation, you would get $2,000 in your pocket. Alternatively, with an RRSP, you would end up with $1,343 (having paid $656 in taxes at an income of $45,000 annually) or withdraw $3,025 to net $2,000.

2.      For the second result, I’ve indicated that if you’re making more now than you hope to in retirement, you may want to consider an RRSP. Because all withdrawals from RRSPs are taxed as income, and because you’ll be making less annually in retirement, you’ll be in a lower tax bracket. So, withdrawing $2,000 while making $60,000 will cost you ~$706, vs when you’re making $40,000 annually in retirement, withdrawing $2,000 will cost you ~$541. What this means is that in contributing years while making $60,000 annually, you’ll receive the higher tax bracket percentage back (so, $706) as a tax return but when you withdraw it later on in life while making an income of $40,000 you’ll only pay $541, which means you’ve saved $165 in this example.

3.      For the opposite reason above, I would potentially recommend a TFSA if you’re currently making less now than you anticipate making in retirement. RRSPs exist to help save on taxes overall. If you had an RRSP in the case of less-now more-later, you would end up paying MORE in taxes overall. Ew!

4.      The first yellow box is to address potential home buyers’ concerns. If you’re saving up for the down payment on your first home, you can utilize the First Time Home Buyer’s Plan which allows you to access your RRSP savings without paying taxes (repayment time limits exist). You should definitely look into this before you decide how you want to start saving for your home!

5.      The last yellow box is a toss-up between an RRSP and TFSA depending on the saver. Perhaps you want to save for retirement in theory but you’re not sure if you’ll need the money for something else along the way. Perhaps you’re saving up to take a year off work. Perhaps you’re paying for a child’s education in a decade or two (in that case, an Registered Education Savings Plan needs to be discussed!).

This chart is by no means a flawless solve-all for savings. We also haven’t gotten into the finer details of risk tolerance, investment style, or fees. That being said, it’s a great start to help you see how you can be making decisions right now to impact your economic future.

Peace, love and WEALTH,


Sunday 11 March 2018

Financially Fluent Females - Chapter One: Introduction

If you've read any of my blog, spoken with me in person, or taken a micro-second to scroll through my personal Facebook page, it is not hard to discern that I am a feminist. I've spent a long time educating myself on the inequalities and unbalanced power dynamics that create violent and oppressive situations for women in school, the workplace, relationships and basically everywhere. I have taken steps to ensure that my feminism is intersectional (ie: I'm straight and white, which means I typically will experience the best-case-scenario of sexism), and I've explored the different insidious ways that sexism impacts us, whether it be how teachers call on us in class, the levels to which we need to prove our points in order to be heard, the steps we often take (but shouldn't have to!) to keep ourselves and our friends safe on a night out, or the...you know what? I better cut myself off because I could go on and on and on and...

I started at Freedom 55 Financial as a financial advisor in August of 2014. I was in a training class composed largely of men, my teachers and trainers were men, and when I passed all of the tests to earn the licenses to work in New Brunswick, most of my colleagues and all of my directors were men. This is how my industry currently operates, but I know that I wasn't hired simply to show upper management "hey, we got one". As my director will attest, I was recruited to this position because of solid community connections (through years of volunteer work and outreach), a genuine interest in others' goals and struggles, and I'm smart as heck. 

It is impossible for me to drop the ~feminist~ lens that I use to look at the world. It's less a pair of glasses and more a biological part of my eye at this stage. So when it came time for my trainer to tell me how to approach clients, how to put together effective financial plans and how to position myself as an advisor, I took a moment to question. These sales strategies and training methods were created by men for male advisors in a time when the "money person" in a relationship was a man. But wait a minute, I can hear you say, you're a woman! I knew that if I wanted to find success in this career I would have to look outside my board room for source material, and if necessary, re-imagine a client-focused, feminist approach all on my own. 

And this, ladies and gents (haha jk this is just for women), is how, through research, conversations with my few female peers, and a few amazing books for women in business, I created Financial Fluent Females - a woman-centered approach to financial planning. I take into consideration the the following:

1. Women earn less money on the dollar than men.
2. Women live longer than men.
3. Women on average begin financial planning ten years later than men

There are also a myriad of other factors that I consider, including the financial literacy gender gap, maternity leave, entrepreneurial setbacks (did you know women are approved less often, and when approved receive less funding than their male counterparts, when applying for start-up funding?), and unique health concerns. 

It brings me borderline-embarrassing joy to have found feminist fulfillment in my career. I'll be sharing saving tips, plan advice and financial red flags, as well as some treat-yo-self strategies as I continue on with this blog (do people still call these blogs?), and I'm so excited to be sharing it all with you.

Peace, love and WEALTH,

Wednesday 18 January 2017

March on "Washington"

Hi All,
It's been a while :)

There is no way to encompass in one quick blog post all of the feelings and thoughts that I have about Donald Trump. He has made a farce out of the political world, out of the American people he claims to understand, and out of journalistic integrity.

His Titles:

This is our reality - not reality TV. This is a man who preoccupies himself insulting Meryl Streep on Twitter while preparing for his inauguration day. This is a man who described grabbing women "by the pussy", a man who was on trial for the sexual assault of a 13-year old girl, a man who calls women pigs and dogs, who claims "you gotta treat 'em like shit", and who has routinely harassed, abused and denigrated women.

Donald Trump's reign will usher in a Republican attack on women the likes of which we have rarely seen in North America. He will be in their bedroom, their doctor's offices, their board rooms and their schools.  

Our neighbors to the south need to see that Canadian women stand by them as they stand up to his tyranny. 2017 may very well be the year we see women everywhere acting out those training montages in sports movie where we learn to fight for our lives. It's the final countdown. The eye of the tiger.

So what can we do? How can we direct this fire in our veins so that we don't tear our hair out in helpless frustration?  Well, we can start by marching. This Sister Marches Website will direct you to the nearest march in your town. For you Saint Johners out there, we're meeting at Queen Square at 12pm on Saturday, January 21st. Give one hour of your day to prove that we are not apathetic and indifferent.

Canadian women are marching to lend our strength, passion and unity to our American neighbors. We march in solidarity against a sexist tyrant. It's a hell of a start! 

Friday 29 January 2016

Five Marriage Lessons After Five Whole Months

Well I'm a wise married wife now, and therefore valued much more as a woman (though less valued than a mother, as I haven't yet completed my duty as a person with a vagina). Speaking of which, here are some things I've learned in these five months of marriage, as I am now clearly an expert.

1. When I decided to keep my own last name, I caused a hell of a lot of confusion. I was having a conversation with a woman and she said something like "Oh it's been a while, Rachael...who now?", I said "oh I'm still Rachael Grant", to which she gasped and immediately replied "Oh my God you didn't get married?!" Yes, this allowed me to show off my engagement ring and wedding band, but still. This is 2016! Unless I change my name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock, there is no need to act shocked. 

2. My uterus became a topic of conversation as soon as we got home from our honeymoon (Scotland, it was incredible). Did we conceive in Europe? Not answering that. Are we trying now? Not answering that either. Are we trying in a year? *silence*. How many kids do we want? *this is me not answering*. Here's a scary truth: you can actually have a child out of wedlock. You can also decide not to have a child after you're married. You can conceive on the first try or try for years. You can have miscarriages. The whole process of having or not having children can be emotional, painful, difficult and overall (and most importantly) personal. I understand that in the eyes of a laced-up society I have now been given permission to conceive, but that doesn't mean I'm comfortable having the subject constantly discussed. Do I seem shy? If I want to talk baby-making, I will.

3. My husband (woo) and I became really good at throwing dinner parties. Not sure if this is because we're married or because we bought a house or because I definitively gave up on trying to help with the cooking, but we've got a nice flow on. This point is a bit less informative and slightly more braggy. Sorry (not sorry).  But I always felt like we weren't quite hitting the mark and now we are totally on point. 

4. This has been a really hard lesson to learn, and I'm embarrassed about how long it took me to realize this, but I think it's important to pass this message on. Ladies for the love of God dry-clean your wedding dress ASAP. Don't wait, don't dawdle. The longer you wait, the more...pungent...the situation becomes. 

Raya in the Dominican enjoying a coconut <3

5. The most extraordinary thing about being married is that there is very little difference between five months before and five months after. We were very happy before we got married despite the stress of planning said wedding. Now we're very happy today, and I think only some of it has to do with our new puppy (she is incredibly cute). We may only be married for 5 months but we've been together for over six years, and we've spent that time learning how to not murder each other, and that's been a real value-add. 

I can live with the baby questions, the last-name shock and the smelly wedding dress. I can deal with cleaning up after a dinner party. What I wouldn't be able to handle, though, would be thinking that marriage would change us, solve our problems or somehow act as a miracle cure. Our issues are still ours, our love is still very present, and we continue to communicate as we always have - with passive-aggressive comments and petty low-blows. Kidding. It's actually probably with noodles and Simpsons quotes (far more effective). You don't need to understand us! We just have to understand each other :) 

Saturday 16 January 2016

Two Words: Homeless Youth

I want to take some time to discuss those two words in my title, and I'm going to start out with

I, like a regular kid, had a tough time growing up. Teen years are confusing! All through high school I dealt with the issues of boys, self-esteem and a mother and father who just didn't understand. I think there was a period of time there where my parents were legitimately concerned that I was possessed. I have a feeling when they said "And who do you think you are?" they half expected me to answer with my demon name. Well, an exorcism never happened (that I can recall), and I made it out alive. In grade 11 we had a pretty big blowout about whether or not I could go to prom party, and in grade 12 I had bronchitis and missed a few weeks of school. I was the lead in the musical (humble brag) and taking a lot of AP courses, but luckily my director put in extra practices with me and my Chemistry teacher helped me study. I definitely had some tough times but those years shaped who I am today.

Now let's tackle that second word, 

I have no experience with homelessness. It is not a word that ever coincided with my childhood, with the exception of when I ran away to the Commons and lived at the rink house for about 5 hours. It's a really funny story now, and we laugh about it at family parties or when my parents think back to when my undeniable sass truly began. That's right, the closest my life has ever gotten to the atrocity that is homelessness is a cute joke. When you read about my years as a youth with the lens of homelessness, it's almost disgusting. I was worried about prom party when there are kids worrying about where to sleep. I had a teacher give me extra time to study when there are students who don't get to class because they have more important things to worry about, like when this round of couch-surfing will end, where they'll eat, if their mother or father have reappeared after weeks of absence. Honestly I can only imagine. I really do mean that. I can only imagine, because I was lucky enough to have spent my time worrying about my best friend making out with my crush and my parents enforcing an earlier curfew than my crew. My problems were so silly, and they are the only kind of problems that kids deserve to experience. I don't want to minimize my own, and all teens' experiences because they're certainly authentic while you're feeling them. But when I compare my in-hindsight-idyllic memories with those of a homeless youth in Saint John...there is such a sadness.


And now, Safe Harbour, the Saint John transitional home for homeless youth, is closing its doors due to lack of funding, not even a year after opening. I've heard some grumblings about poor planning or unsustainable whatever, but you tell me what should have happened after gathering information telling us that at least 70 youths in Saint John are homeless. We have organizations with deep coffers claiming to support education and yet do not see the value in providing homing to teenagers. Each body in the beds of Safe Harbour is enrolled in some type of schooling, be it a GED program or a more traditional path. We have well-supported organizations that provide beds for teens IF they're pregnant or young mothers, or running from abuse. We have shelters for grown adults who need a warm place to stay, because it's the right thing to do. And we have Safe Harbour shutting down despite maintaining almost 100% capacity from two weeks after opening until this upcoming closing.

I'm not privy to the inner-workings of Rothesay and Saint John politics, but I'm still going to ignorantly comment on the situation. Rothesay, you damn fools. We spent, what, a cool million putting medians in on Hampton Road that pretty much everyone hates? We spent 2.5 million on a makeover for the rink where I ran away for five hours. Maybe it's just ridiculous to suggest that our pretty medians and our fancy rink are less important than putting roofs over the heads of homeless youth. But maybe, just maybe we could have built a two million dollar rink and just given Safe Harbour that little point five. Maybe when Rothesay Netherwood students hosted their annual fundraiser each year trying to get Rothesay more involved, people could have answered students' phone calls and pledged donations. Like I said, I am not privy to how this all goes down. All I think, all I know, is that Safe Harbour's doors should not be closing. We are failing our community, we are failing our youth, we are failing ourselves if we think it's enough to say "Oh no, what a pity", and carry on. Because there is a group of teens out there who are saying "Oh no, where will I be sleeping?", and we, as a community, have the ability to answer that question with "Safe Harbour" if we just pull together and find a way to make this happen.

To learn more about Safe Harbour, please check out this link: Safe Harbour SJ 
There's a link to donate at the bottom of the page. You know what to do.

Monday 30 November 2015

Gettin' Wiggy With It

You wanna know how to start a blog post? Pose a question.
LOL see what I did there? AND THERE?!

Okay but fo serious, I went to a party about a month or so ago and had an absolute blast. Let me paint you a picture: A group of female human beings, sitting around on the floor consuming sangria and other various assortments of alcohol. Great music, good butt pillows (essential for floor-sitting), delicious pot luck food, and WIGS.

Back in university this wouldn't have been a shock at all, but it's so much fun, so refreshing, to have a silly and wild themed party now that my days at Memorial are over. And these wigs were awesome. We had pinks, blues, greens, purples. We had long 'dos, sassy bobs, curls and pin straight locks. You would think that this would have been the highlight of the night, but it wasn't.

When you're a guest of Kristin's, you smile with the shark. Period.
 My highlight was the amazing camaraderie I felt with this smattering of women, many of whom I'd never met. Women are taught both overtly and insidiously to hate other women. We are taught to compete, to measure ourselves not against our past or our future selves, but against other women. We are told that our success is subjective and subject to comparison at all times. It is not enough to be just one thing. We must be all things, but only in moderation. Any explosive display of talent, passion or intelligence must be tamped down. We must never forget that a large portion of our personal wealth is made up not of integrity, wisdom, and accomplishments but in a patriarchal construct of beauty and feminine ideal.

But that constant weight was not felt on this evening. Women I'd never met complimented me not on my wig (which was fabulous) but on my sense of humour. I swear I had the biggest smile. Another woman there was a fellow classically trained singer and after showing off some impressive chops, encountered nothing but happiness from her audience. Our hostess made a ridiculously delicious pulled pork and we raved. One girl simultaneously showed me her tattoos, baby niece, and love of Christmas, to my delight.

We talked about our education, careers and goals. We discussed travel, politics and family. Petty gossip was checked at the door. Girl hate had no place in this circle. It was pretty amazing. Unlike the costume parties of university and the dances in high school, there was no judgement.

I think I'm writing this post because we see a lot of negative media about young women. Articles depicting narcissism in the extreme, girls so shallow if they were a puddle they couldn't drown a newborn, women so self-absorbed they speak only in terms of makeup, hair and fashion. You know what? Maybe there are bunches of women like that out there. But I haven't encountered many. I see and meet and speak with women who have intense aspirations, who have dynamic personalities, who have insecurities stemming from culture and fear, who have intelligence based on education and experience.

...OR NOT.
We have dimensions. We have curved edges and sharp points. Parts of us shine bright while other parts are faded or torn. We are not perfect, but we are not boring. We are more than our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We exist in the real.

Wig Night was the kind of experience I wish for all women. Not the food and wine and synthetic hair (though that was great fun) but for that sense that we can move beyond the box of cultural expectations to enjoy and celebrate one another.

One could say that I was...wigging out. I hope to keep that wigged-out feeling the next time I find myself being sucked into negativity, self-doubt and girl hate. I'll walk around like I've got rainbow hair and a smile that won't quit.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Feminist Bride

Since getting engaged in the summer of 2014, I've been positively humbled by the amount of love that has been expressed for my fiancé and I. From squeals of delight over my ring (it's a great ring) and bridal showers to beautiful messages of happiness and promises to travel from all over the world for the big day. These sentiments have been the definite majority.

A sizeable minority, however, seem to have slipped into some archaic, revolting, baseless stereotypes.

Here's some crap I've heard:
"How'd you trick him into proposing?"
"So when are you due?"
"Are you going to try to lose weight for the wedding?"
"Better start training to be a wife"

And here are some of the lovely comments my fiancé has gotten:
"There's still time to run!"
"How'd she manage to pull that off?"
"Getting a ball and chain now eh?"
"Your life is over"
"Hope she can cook!"

Some of those were made in jest, and I've been told (just love being "told" how to act) to excuse that kind of behaviour. You know what? Those jokes aren't funny. I have a right to be appalled by those jokes. I have a right to be disgusted by people diminishing the very real, solid commitment my partner and I will be making to one another.

My partner proposed to me. It was beautiful and perfect and wonderful (and all sorts of other lovely adjectives) but it was not forced. He loves me, so he asked me to marry him. Why would anyone ever call that into question? We are equals in this relationship. We both made an intellectual, rational and emotional decision to spend our lives together. You can take those stupid and, frankly, mundane jokes and go to hell.

I deserve better. So do the other brilliant brides you encounter.

Also, he's the cook!


Commonly mistaken for a bridezilla, this is actually a mother-of-the-bride-asaurus
I wrote the above before I got married but never got around to posting it. As I'm sure you can tell I was full of piss and vinegar. I was just raging that while I was about to celebrate a pretty important day, such hateful, ignorant comments were intruding my bubble of happiness.

I'm on the other side of the wedding now, and reflecting back on the words that I wrote, I think I'M A DAMN GENIUS. I stand by it all. I love that fiery, intense part of my soul that bursts out onto the page. I embrace that part of myself because from it I find passion, determination and a backbone made of Valyrian steel (shout out to my fellow GOT fans).


ps: Winter is Coming

Thursday 2 April 2015

Advice for 15 year old Rachael, from 25 year old Rachael

Ten years' difference here
(left = now, right = then)
(hard to tell)

Sometimes people talk about how they “came into their own” in high school or university or grad school or their thirties or twenties or whatever. When people talk about me, it’s more about acknowledging that I’ve been the me that I am since I exited the womb. And it’s mostly true. I have, however, learned a few valuable lessons about life and about myself along the way that I sometimes wish I could tell my teenage me I started keeping a list of some pro-tips for my youthful self. Here they are: 

Advice for my high school self:

  1. Acne – that shit is not temporary. I am now 25, still fighting the good fight. So try to find a solution a little earlier in life (Nivea cream works great for you/us).
  2. The era of leggings is fast approaching; you only have to put up with jeans for a couple more years.
  3. Your blonde hair is gorgeous, do not dye it dark brown. You don’t know this, but when you’re 17 you melt half of it off. Wasn’t a great move.
  4. About boys – just keep doing what you’re doing. When you’re older you’ll realize you did everything for you and not them, and you will LOVE that about yourself.
  5. Those other girls in your school? Turns out they are not bitches. Turns out girls aren’t all “bitches” the second we disagree with them. So weird.
  6. Rachel McAdams was right – “fetch” really doesn’t ever become a thing.
  7. Only one friend is ever going to call you Ray, so stop trying to make that happen.
  8. Some of your teachers really are idiots, and that’s okay. You know who the good ones are.
  9. High school actually DOES matter – don’t believe those people who said it doesn’t. Your current boss went to high school with you.
  10. Are you ready for this? It’s going to blow you away: You’re not fat.
  11. You are going to start identifying as a feminist very soon, congratulations. This makes you awesome.
  12. You are going to meet three best friends in university. They are crazy. They are insane. They are wild. You LOVE them. They love you.
  13. You’re engaged (holy shit right? Totally didn’t see this coming).
  14. Don’t wait until fourth year university to buy a straightener. Good lord, what were you waiting for?
  15. Your brothers are still buffoons (so are you).
  16. You 100% cannot live without music, without singing. It’s okay boo. You gotta do you.
  17. Elope! Just kidding...I think.
  18. A lot of people belittle the emotions of teenage girls, but don’t ever diminish your own feelings.
  19. That being said, whatever you’re worried about right now, I can promise you it’s going to be okay. We are doing just fine.
  20. When people tell you it’s too soon to get a dog, ignore them. Our dog is the best decision we ever made.
  21. That guy you’re currently hopelessly in love with? You get over it eventually. He ain’t the one.
  22. Mom and Dad knew about all the parties. They are cooler than you give them credit for.
  23. No one can take away your education, your professional successes, or your experiences. These are incorruptible, and when you start to tie your confidence to these instead of silly and subjective things like looks and likeability, you find out what genuine confidence really is. Then it, too, becomes incorruptible. 
Now I have to read over this advice, and wonder what my 35 year old self would be telling me right now. What am I stressing unnecessarily about? What insecurities am I toiling over that are 90% fictional? What am I going to carry with me? What’s going to matter in ten years? Are jeans making a comeback? Questions for another day.

Friday 13 February 2015

Feminist Astrology

A Feminist Astrology 

Aries: You have the ability to move past the stereotypes placed on your gender to become someone unrestrained by expectations.

Taurus: Because there are moons and suns and stars, you exist. Therefore, strive to exist in a world you can actually live with. Can you live with a culture where women are synonymous with the lesser? No? Then change.

Gemini: You are a gem. It's in your name. Shine like one. Don't let the smut of prejudice, sexism, racism, ever tarnish your glow. You have the strength to be the brightness.

Cancer: Don't let yourself be a cancer to society. Stand up when you see something horrible happening. But first, foster the ability to determine what those horrible happenings are. Understand that cat-calling, harassment, unwanted touching, are horrible. First understand, then act for change.

Leo: You are a lion. You are powerful. You have the privilege of being king of the jungle. Understand that this is also a responsibility. Care for the creatures around you with grace and poise.

Virgo: Although you are associated with the Virgin, there is nothing wrong with a person experiencing their sexuality, regardless of gender. The Virgo's key phrase is "I serve". Serve not another person but your own goals. Serve society. 

Libra: When the scales of humanity are equal, when women and men have the same rights and opportunities, when justice is achieved, your work will be done. So get to work. 

Scorpio: Use your strength for the good of our poisoned culture. You are a creature of nature - use that nature to be the force for change.

Sagittarius: You are honest, so be honest with yourself. Are you satisfied with gender inequality? Are you content with the status quo of harassment and shame? Of course not. Be part of the change!

Capricorn: You have grit. You have that immeasurable quality that is part motivation, part determination, part sheer force of will. Harness that quality and aim it at the patriarchal system.

Aquarius: Water is incredible. It forges a path regardless of obstacles. It crumbles mountains and seeps into the earth and smashes through walls. Be water. Persevere. Conquer the obstacle of conforming to a predetermined mold of your gender. Smash through those walls.

Pisces: The salmon battles upstream for hundreds of miles to reach their destination. It is trying, difficult, and exhausting. Such is the battle that the Pisces faces when confronting sexism, hatred and ignorance. The salmon succeeds. So will you.