Nov 1: de la Femme’s “A Guide to Financial Planning”

money tree and financial planningJoin us for de la Femme’s event on November 1st. The topic will be Financial Planning.

Many people spend more time preparing for their dream vacations rather than their dream retirement.  We all talk about what we want to do when we retire, whether it be pursuing a hobby, volunteering for a worthy cause, moving to a beachfront property, or the bucket list of vacations that we’ve been dreaming of. But, do you have what you need to retire comfortably and pursue these dreams?

Sometimes life and work get in the way of your financial planning, but remember time is your friend — the sooner you save, the more you will have saved up. Don’t delay!

Our event in November will be a guide toward educating yourself on financial planning. Scot and Briana will be on deck to answer some of the following basic financial questions:

  • What to prioritize first savings vs. investments?
  • What are 401K, IRA, Roth IRA?
  • What is a financial portfolio?
  • How can you diversify your investments?
  • How much should you set aside each month for saving?
  • What are a couple of approaches you can do daily to save more? Does it mean you need to cut down on your early morning coffee run?
  • What does it mean to invest in a tax efficient way?  How can you approach it?
  • What are some available options for paying off your loans (student, car payment, etc.)?

These and many other topics which include ways to save up for rainy days will be covered at the event. This will be an interactive discussion about your questions on saving and achieving your financial goals without overstretching your budget. With our guest speakers Scot Reynolds and Briana Willander combined experiences in the financial planning field, they will cover ways to plan for your retirement in a way that not only fits your budgets but also gives you the knowledge you can take away to start your financial planning.


Date/Time: Tuesday, November 1st at 6:00 PM.

Location: The Broad Institute, Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA.

Appetizers and wine will be provided.  Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

Registration: https://dlf-guide-to-financial-planning.eventbrite.com


Scot Reynolds, CLTC Vice President assists families, businesses, and individuals in Scot Reynoldsdeveloping and achieving their unique financial goals. Since 2007, his mission has been to help his clients accumulate, enjoy, protect and distribute wealth in the most tax-advantaged way possible.

Scot has received many awards for his accomplishments in the financial services industry. Most recently, Scot was recognized by Boston Magazine as a Five Star Wealth Manager in 2015, recognizing the top financial advisors in Massachusetts. From 2012-2015 he qualified for four consecutive “Achieving Client Excellence” (ACE) Awards, for his achievements in Sales Management, including twice in the top 5 in the country. The ACE award is one of the highest honors that Signator Investors bestows on financial professionals within the national network.

Along with these prestigious accomplishments, Scot is a perennial Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). MDRT is considered the premier and most exclusive association for financial professionals. It is an international network of leading financial advisors who serve their clients with a high level of performance and the highest standards of ethics, knowledge, service and productivity.

Scot is also an active member of the industry and community. He is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), a two-time past president of his BNI group the Middlesex Money Makers, and an active member of the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce. Scot graduated from the University of Maine with BS in Business Administration.

Scot is originally from Falmouth, Maine and currently resides in Charlestown, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, snowboarding and attending Boston sports events.

Briana Willander, Associate, began her career with Boston Partners Financial Group in 2015. Since then she has been assisting families, individuals, and small businesses achieve their unique financial goals.

Briana holds her Series 6 and 63 Securities Licenses as well as her Life, Accident, and Health Insurance Licenses. She graduated cum laude from Plymouth State University with a major in finance and minor in economics.

Through Briana’s affiliation with Boston Partners Financial Group Briana has access to John Hancock products as well as a variety of financial products and services from many other carriers. These services include Retirement Planning, Life Insurance, Asset Protection, Long-Term Care Insurance, and Disability Income Insurance.

Briana grew up in the small town of New Boston, NH and currently resides in Shrewsbury, MA. In her local community, she is an active member of Shrewsbury’s BNI Elite Referral Group. In her free time, she enjoys staying active, running, snowboarding, golfing, and spending time with family and friends.


de la Femme (DLF) is a Massachusetts organization passionate about promoting the advancement of women and bridging the gender gap. This can be seen in the wage gap and under-representation of women in senior-level positions and the boardroom, from Corporate 100 to startups. Our mission is to provide a centralized network and community where career-focused women can access resources tailored toward their career goals. We provide resources and information to help women efficiently navigate work opportunities and to provide a supportive environment that will nurture female leaders. Our vision is to generate a community of like-minded, high-achieving women, who help each other to succeed in the workplace.


*No refunds issued once registered.

**de la Femme is a volunteer-based organization striving to provide resources for women to achieve their career potential.  Donations are instrumental in sustaining our mission, and any amount is greatly appreciated.

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Register for the Salary Negotiation Workshop

ATTENTION WOMEN: Did you know that over a woman’s working life, she could earn a million dollars less than a man?


  • In 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid.
  • Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.
  • Worse of all, the pay gap grows with age.

Whether you’re conducting a job search, just entering the workforce or have been working for years, this Salary Negotiation Workshop is for you!  Diane Pacuk and Megan Cooney will lead a 3-hour workshop with interactive presentation and role-play.

The workshop will help you:

  • Learn the art of salary and benefits negotiations.
  • Acquire the tools, strategies, and confidence to ensure you’re compensated fairly.

ATTENDANCE IS LIMITED given the intimate nature of the workshop.

Date/Time:   Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 5:30 PM (since this is a 3 hour workshop, we will start immediately)

Location:  The Broad Institute

Dinner and drinks will be provided.

Register at Eventbrite

Registration is required, sign-in upon arrival.

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Diane croppedDiane Pacuk is a Senior Vice President and Assistant Complex Manager at Morgan Stanley.  In that role she is responsible for developing business as well as managing risk within the complex.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Diane spent 24 years at Merrill Lynch in a succession of roles within the firm.  Diane holds the Series 3,7,8,24,63,65 securities licenses and has a BS in Business Management from Lesley University. She is on the corporate advisory board of the Boston Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.  She chairs the Complex Diversity Council and is a member of the regional council.

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Megan Cooney Photo copyMegan Cooney, a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, works closely with successful individuals and their families to provide thoughtful investment solutions designed to protect and preserve their wealth. In particular, Megan focuses her practice on female executives and women in transition, utilizing a consultative wealth management process tailored to bestow each client with a lasting foundation for financial security and personal success.  Megan is involved with The Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit women’s organization with a distinct mission to help women CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives grow their businesses and careers. Megan is also a member of the Morgan Stanley Women’s Financial Advisor Forum and holds the Series 7, 66, 31, and Massachusetts Insurance licenses.

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Workshop is sponsored by the Center of Work & Women at UMass Lowell.CWW_logo+UMASS copy




*No refunds issued once registered.

**de la Femme is a volunteer-based organization striving to provide resources for women to achieve their career potential.  Donations are instrumental in sustaining our mission, any amount is greatly appreciated.

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Retirement: Never too early to start planning!

Written by Sze Ng, PhD, de la Femme co-founder.

I’m amazed by how many young professionals my age postpone thinking about and planning for retirement.  Let’s face it; we all have bills, lots of bills, whether living expenses, student loans, car payments, etc.  We think to ourselves that we just don’t have the extra cash flow.  We’ll definitely contribute to a retirement plan in the future when we’re making more money.  However, let me just state that there are many advantages to STARTING EARLY!  (Obviously, if you have lots of loans or debt that you’re paying high interest rates for, you should pay those off first, but that’s another story.)  Ladies, set aside a few moments to take those first steps to preparing for a financially independent future!

I’m going to focus on my favorite retirement tool, the Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  I think that a Roth IRA is a must for young professionals like myself to consider because we have lots of time to allow our contributions to grow, making tax-free withdrawals a major perk of the Roth IRA.  There are many other perks, but I’ll discuss some of the ones I think are the best incentives for opening a Roth today, if you haven’t already done so!

You’ll most likely pay fewer taxes.  A Roth IRA is different from a Traditional IRA in that for a Roth IRA the tax advantage is deferred until the future.  Contributions to a Traditional IRA are tax deductible now and distributions are taxed in the future.  Thus, a Traditional IRA would be a good investment vehicle if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket upon retirement.  However, I think that most people will (hopefully) be earning higher salaries as they advance in their careers, and as we get older, we’ll probably be accustomed to a higher standard of living… no more of that poor college student lifestyle where ramen noodles were a perfectly nutritious and satisfying dinner.  Therefore, a tax deduction now would not be as advantageous as TAX-FREE WITHDRAWALS OF ALL THAT INTEREST YOU’VE ACCUMULATED over 20, 30, 40, or 50 years of retirement savings!  I also want to note that with tax season around the corner, the Savers Credit is another incentive for why young people should start saving for retirement.  THE SAVERS CREDIT ALLOWS UP TO AS MUCH AS $1,000 OFF YOUR TAXES.  The amount of the credit depends on income, filing status, and how much is contributed to retirement that year, but the possibility of an extra $1,000 in your pockets for doing something that is financially responsible is a win-win scenario in my book.

You can take your contributions out AT ANY TIME TAX- AND PENALTY-FREE.  The concept of a Roth IRA is that you are saving for retirement, and so you should try to save that money until retirement.  However, what if you’re strapped for cash and need the emergency funds?  While other retirement vehicles will charge you an early withdrawal penalty, the Roth IRA allows you to take your contributions out tax- and penalty-free.  ONLY CONTRIBUTIONS ARE ALLOWED THOUGH, the interest earnings made from those contributions need to wait until the retirement age of 59.5 for withdrawal or you will have to pay penalties on that portion.  A major consideration is that the Roth needs to be OPEN FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS before you can withdraw your contributions tax- and penalty-free, thus another reason to START EARLY.  Note that each yearly contribution doesn’t have to be in the account for five years, rather the five-year clock starts with your first contribution.  For instance, let’s say I contribute $500 to a Roth for the first time in 2006 and then add $500 to it every year (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), and have earned $300 worth of interest; well, I can take out all $3,000 of contributions tax- and penalty-free for any reason because my five year clock started in 2006.  However, I will not be able to use the $300 from interest earnings without taxes and penalties, unless it is for a qualified reason such as eligible medical expenses.  In addition, the IRS allows individuals to withdraw up to $10,000 tax- and penalty-free, which include earnings, to help with a first-time home purchase.

Lastly, I want to spend some time on the power of compound interest.  You have heard my reasons for why I have chosen to contribute to a Roth, but if you decide this is not the retirement tool for you, it is still advantageous to start saving for retirement as soon as you can because the sooner you start saving, the greater the benefit of compound interest.  Compound interest is the interest earned on reinvested interest, as well as the original amount invested.  Thus, time will help you generate higher returns on your money.  Even if you contribute just $500 today to a Roth and don’t do anything with it ever again, that $500 and its future interest will both be helping you make money for retirement!

Thus, it is never too early to start thinking about retirement, and to stay financially independent.  Stay tuned for my next article, where I discuss some of my favorite Roth IRA companies and accounts.

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