Considering that in our community we’re surrounded by tech savvy professionals, high paying jobs and the best and the brightest when it comes to innovation, it’s interesting to note that in spite of this, many individuals are lacking a solid foundation when it comes to financial literacy. Women in particular, although they are usually the financial decision makers of any household, can many times just not have the exposure to financial decision making do’s and don’ts. Things like budgeting, planning for the future, and saving for emergencies or life’s big events is not only something we’re unsure of, but in many cases we’re not even sure where to start.
At MIT Federal Credit Union we understand the need for a relaxed, open, financially focused space to learn, share, and ask questions. No judgement, no pressure, and plenty of plain “put-the-facts-on-the-table” discussion so you can get the answers you need, and some support in deciding what next steps could be. But time is precious and having some fun along the way is also important. That’s why we’ve joined with Society of Grownups and a variety of experts in things like cooking, wine-tasting, art, and more to allow you an evening out with friends, to discuss important stuff in a relaxed setting. From budgeting to retirement, college savings for kids, and being prepared for unexpected, our sessions will give you an opportunity to reflect, ask questions, and have fun.
Send us an email to be included in invitations to our next F.E.W. session!
Calendar of Events
Negotiate Your Salary - Taking That First Step
Wednesday, September 26th | 5:30-7PM | 700 Technology Square Branch
When you received your job offer, did you negotiate for a higher salary or accept the offer as is? Have you ever been up for a promotion at work and asked for more money? If your answer is no, you are not alone. It’s been found that only 7 percent of women attempted to negotiate their salary compared with 57 percent of men. Women who negotiated were able to increase their salary by over 7 percent.
When women negotiate they increase their potential to receive higher salaries and better benefits packages – and those advantages add up over time. Negotiating fair and equitable salaries can also help women become better positioned to pay off debts such as student loans and mortgages and save for retirement, leading to greater economic security. Which is why we’ve invited Alexandra Howely from AAUW to help women in the MIT Community at all stages of their careers learn to negotiate fair pay.
In this session, Alex will be sharing tips from AAUW's Work Smart Salary Negotiation program to help you articulate your value and advocate for yourself in the workplace.
In addition to discussing salary negotiation, Alex will discuss the pay gap and how it specifically relates to the Boston area. In 2015, the AAUW, Mayor Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement launched a large-scale grassroots initiative to teach and empower 85,000 women by 2021 to confidently and successfully negotiate for salary and benefits packages and help close the gender pay gap in Boston.
Join us as we discuss these important topics – all are welcome! Men and women, currently employed or a student – we’re opening up this discussion to all in the MIT Community who are interested in learning more!
Alex Howley is the Program Manager for AAUW Work Smart at the American Association of University Women and an avid pay equity advocate. She manages two of the organizations largest partnerships, working closely with cities and states to close the gender pay gap through training and education.
Clear the Clutter: Organize your Home, Office, Life & Finances
Does your home or office need organization? Do your finances feel out of control? Sometimes clutter sneaks up on us and can make life unbearable. Taking the time to declutter; clearing our physical surroundings, and putting our finances in order, can assist us in improving our physical and mental state. But how do you get started? Thankfully, in this session, our F.E.W. experts from Organiz-ER and Society of Grownups will help you begin thinking of ways to start this process.
If your finances need a bit of organization, Rachel and Tyler from Society of Grownups will show you ways to get them back on track! We’ll share recommendations on how to organize debt and how to pay it off in ways that make the most sense.
For ways to declutter physical space whether it’s at home or the office, we’ve invited Susan Walko, owner of Organiz-ER, to talk about organization and how to begin the process as well as keep things orderly. Her work includes:
- Organizing the workspace via improved business systems, developing and implementing an organization plan, and focusing on continuous improvement.
- Organizing the home via personal organization skills – whether it’s downsizing, working with hoarders or a whole house clean out.
- Organizing life by coaching individuals to remove the chaos surrounding their being.
Did you know it only takes 15 minutes a day to remain organized? This session will discuss daily routines and strategies on what to do during the 15 minutes to keep yourself organized – no matter what aspect of your life needs some organization.
As always, our events are open to all, members, non-members, men, women, and anyone else interested in joining the conversation.
Exploring Retirement with a Cup of Tea
The thought of saving for retirement can be a little daunting. The process takes time, which is why it is recommended to start saving early. While everyone’s retirement plan is different, having a solid financial retirement savings is important for all. Is your plan to travel the world or build your dream home? Will you have multiple income streams? However your retirement plan looks, our speakers from Society of Grownups will provide tips on retirement planning and the retirement options available based on your future goals and needs.
In addition to exploring the process of retirement planning, we’ve invited Hillel Bromberg, a certified tea sommelier, to explore the world in a cup of tea. We’ll consider how tea is made, where it comes from, and how types of tea differ – and compare the process to retirement planning – diversifying funds, putting away a little at a time and leaving it there to grow.
Open your palate to the remarkable variety of loose leaf tea. Delicate whites and yellows, buttery oolongs, refreshing greens, and deep, rich pu-ehrs. Spend some time getting to know tea’s delightful flavors and aromas, as well as its health benefits and ceremonies from around the world. You’ll sample several varieties and learn how to steep tea for best flavor.
Unpacking Popular Trends in Food & Finance
Popular Food Trends - Are They Worth the Investment?
To kick off the 2018 Financially Empowered Women Series, we’re welcoming back Catherine Smart of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street to talk about the 5 most popular food trends we’re seeing now (think: meal service plans and the instant pot) and to discuss – is it worth the investment? What are the pros and cons?
Rachel and Tyler of Society of Grownups will also join us for a discussion on the personal finance side of these trends. We’ll talk about how to build them into your budget along with your other financial goals such as buying a home, planning for a major expense, or adding to your emergency fund. We'll also touch on some of the major financial trends to keep an eye on for 2018 such as budgeting apps, energy efficient loans and more.
Self-Defense for You and Your Money
Phishing, Ransomware, Identity Theft, Data Breaches….the list of cyber security attacks and threats against our financial and digital life grows daily. The sophistication of cyber-criminals is also growing. – learn tips, tricks and best practices to help keep your finances and identity safe.
Self-Defense Tips and Techniques
Knowledge is defense. Understanding cyber security attacks and threats and how to protect yourself can help prevent you from becoming a victim. Learning tips and techniques to identify and avoid unsafe situations in everyday life is also an important thing to know – whether you’re walking down the street, running through the park, or relaxing in your own home.
Society of Grownups will discuss the latest Equifax breach, how to monitor your credit report and steps you can take if you’ve been hacked. MIT FCU’s IT Specialist, Yasmine St. Eugene, will address the most common types of cyber security attacks; socially engineered malware, password phishing, social media threats and unpatched software. Learn tips and tricks to avoid becoming a victim of these all too common threats.
Dave Hagymas, the MIT Men’s Tennis Head Coach, has been teaching MIT students self-defense as a credited course for years. He will offer tips on how to avoid unsafe situations, and techniques to defend yourself in a potentially violent encounter.
This seminar is designed to provide basic knowledge to make you feel safer – in both the digital world and real world.
The night will consist of:
- Basic overview of financial self-defense, cyber-security, and what to do if you’ve been hacked
- Overview of and a 45 minute to 1 hour session of self-defense techniques
- Open discussion
Go Green, Grow Green: Tips for Retirement Planning
Whether you’re just starting out in the workforce, or looking forward to wrapping things up in the near future, retirement is something that deserves some thought. There are many different investment options and products available. It can be overwhelming, or something you may feel you don’t need to worry about quite yet, but in reality, planning for retirement isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of project, and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. Basic tips include:
- Start saving early
- Increase your contributions as often as you can
- Change your strategy as you get older
You don’t need to be an expert or a millionaire to begin building a nest egg for retirement. Come to our session where our speakers from Society of Grownups will give you the tips and knowledge you need to start saving now and set yourself up for a comfortable retirement.
Grow Your Own Little World!
Just as you grow your retirement nest egg, we’ll be starting your own little green world to care for at our session. We’ve invited Plant Nite to provide tips and guidance in building your own terrarium. Get your hands dirty by digging, planting, and decorating your one-of-a-kind tabletop garden. No green thumb? No problem! The instructor will walk us through the steps to create, care for, and keep your garden growing long after the night is over.
A Mindful Approach to Debt & Credit - Don't Stress It!
Do credit scores, credit card debt, and how to manage it all and still live a happy life keep you up at night? Are you looking for answers to:
• What's my credit score?
• What can I do to improve it?
• Are loans the only thing impacted by my credit score?
In fact, your credit score impacts not only your loan rates or ability to borrow, but also your chances at a new job, your insurance rates, and more! Come to our session at Health Yoga Life where our speakers from Society of Grownups will explain the ins and outs of credit, debt and how you can take control of it all.
Don’t let the stress of credit get the best of you!
As part of our event, we’ve invited one of Health Yoga Life’s co-founders, Vyda Bielkus to lead a mindfulness meditation session. With so many stressors threatening our balance daily, learning the benefits of mindfulness meditation, and understanding the power of sitting in the now to find your way past pain, stress, and dis-ease, can be life altering. Our session will include:
• Basic overview of credit and credit reports
• Overview of mindfulness meditation
• 40 – 45 minute guided, seated meditation
• Open discussion of credit, credit reports and what you can do to improve yours
If you'd like to get a free credit report prior to the session, visit www.freecreditreport.com.
Too Much is Never Enough: How to Make the Most of Extra...Money, Food & Everything Else.
Have you ever received a little (or a lot of) extra money - whether it be from a raise or bonus, an inheritance, or maybe winning the lottery? Do you ask yourself:
- Should I pay off debt?
- Should I invest?
- Should I just take an awesome vacation?
While this decision is a personal one, our speakers from Society of Grownups have tips for handling this kind of scenario.
And to make the evening interactive, we'll also be covering what to do with excess food!
We can all think of a time when we had too much of something...maybe zucchini from a garden, maybe a CSA share with more cabbage than you knew what to do with. Rich Shih, regionally known cook and food educator with OurCookQuest, and self-professed food-adventurer, will get us thinking about how to make the most of excess food. The evening's activities will focus on apples (usually the first fruit in a CSA and available most of the year and include:
- Techniques and variations for preparing sweet treats and out-of-the-box savory ideas. (Think caramel apple butter, barbeque sauce, soda and recipes including them)
- Fermented applications for ingredients like kombucha and hard cider.
- Minimizing food waste by using a whole food approach to cooking.
As a bonus, you will make your own kombucha to take home. There will be inspired drinks and snacks served throughout the evening. The presentation will be interactive so be prepared to participate.
For anyone interested in the Miso Butterscotch Dipping Sauce we had at this event, please see below for the recipe.
Miso Butterscotch Dipping Sauce
Makes 1+ quart
- 1/2 C Dark Miso (adjust amount to taste based on salt content)
- 3-1/2 C Brown Sugar
- 1 lb Butter
- 1 C Water
Heat through all ingredients in a medium pan until sugar is dissolved then allow to bowl for about 10 minutes, stirring throughout. Let cool and you'll have a wonderful dip for apples, pears, and other fruits! Or a great sauce for ice cream.
Rich was recently featured in an article in Serious Eats, check it out!
Finding Time, Finding Money - The Fundamentals of Food, Fun and Finance
Our session leaders, Catherine Smart of the Milk Street Kitchen and Rachel Rabinovich of Society of Grownups will start us off right with ideas, tips, tricks and more to get you started on the road to solid financial (and epicurean) wellness.