Blog Posts by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

  • Hate Your Job? 5 Ways to Make Work Better

    Never mind Monday morning -- does every day at work get you down? Most of us can't just quit our jobs...but we can do little things to make work better.

    Don't knock these tips until you try them! You never know what could result from putting these babies into action...

    1. Take your lava lamps and green plants to work. Both are scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve health on the job. The motion of the lava lamp is visually relaxing, and green plants increase job satisfaction by providing a sense of rest. Research shows that having plants in your office is more beneficial than having a window!

    2. Develop strategies for coping with workplace bullying and office conflicts. The better equipped you are to cope with conflict at work -- such as dealing with office politics -- the less mental stress and strain you'll feel. Achieving your career goals is more about empowerment than getting a job promotion. Take classes or read books about dealing with difficult coworkers. Go

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  • 10 Myths About Getting Pregnant as You Get Older

    My fertility doctor told me that too many wome have misconceptions about age and fertility levels. Sure, he said, we hear about women getting pregnant in their 40s - but it's easier said than done.

    Here are 10 facts about a woman's fertility (or infertility as she ages)'s not exactly the best news for women who are around 40 and want to get pregnant -- but it is helpful to know!

    "Once we're in our forties, only a few eggs can start to grow each month," writes Dr Margo Fluker, co-director of the Genesis Fertility Clinic in Vancouver, BC, in her article "Forty is the New Thirty", Right? "Those remaining eggs are of lower quality than in our teens and twenties. It's harder to get them to ovulate, to fertilize, to implant and to grow normally. This translates to lower pregnancy rates, higher miscarriage rates, and a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the few babies that are born to mothers at this age."

    Yikes - but don't let this stop you from trying to get pregnant

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  • 6 Smart Ways to Spend Your Income Tax Refund

    "More than half of all Americans will get a tax refund this year," say Scott and Bethany Palmer, authors of First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple's Guide to Financial Communication. "Since the average refund is around $2800, that money can make a significant difference to your financial security."

    Should you save or spend your income tax refund -- which will hopefully be more than one dollar? Here, the "Money Couple" offers six things to do with your tax refund -- and they're all smart ways to invest your money...

    1. Don't spend your refund until you actually have the money. It's tempting to spend your refund as soon as you know it's coming, but, there are no guarantees in life! In the weeks between the time you file your income taxes and the time you get your check, you might have a job change, the TV might die, your child might get accepted to a more expensive college, a friend might fall on hard times and need financial assistance. Be patient and wait until you have your

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  • Tips for improving a bad credit rating when you have massive credit card debt

    Toni will soon be opening the champagne because she's finally paying off her credit card debt -- after four years of making payments!

    Now, she wants to know how to improve her bad credit rating....

    "Four years ago I turned all of our credit card debt over to a credit counseling service, and I have been making payments ever since," says Toni on my easy ways to get out of debt article. "In two months we will be credit card debt free! My questions are 'What does this do for my credit rating which isn't so great at the moment?' and 'How can I repair my rating?'"

    I did a little digging, and here's what I discovered:

    First, get out of debt by paying off your bills or loans. Paying off debt is the first step to repairing your credit report. You can't improve your credit rating unless you're out of a financial crisis. So, the first step to rebuilding credit is to get out of debt the "traditional" way : by creating a budget and living frugally.

    Consider consolidating your bills into

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  • 4 Ways to Bounce Back From Financial Bankruptcy

    Has your ship sunk and now you're drowning in an ocean of unpaid bills, debt, and piranha-like creditors? Going financially bankrupt feels terrible -- but it doesn't have to be the end of your dreams of financial security or even prosperity!

    "Bankruptcy is designed to give people a fresh start," says prosperity advisor Paula Langguth Ryan, author of Bounce Back From Bankruptcy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Back on Your Financial Feet. "If you're losing sleep, your health is failing, your relationships are negatively affected, or you find yourself looking for 'ways out' - including harming yourself or doing something illegal - then claiming bankruptcy may be the best option for surviving the overwhelming financial stress."

    Here are her four ways to bounce back from financial bankrupty:

    1. Know that going bankrupt doesn't mean you'll never achieve wealth. Many wealthy, successful people have gone bankrupt (some more than once!). "When I went bankrupt at the tender age of 21,

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  • 6 Steps to Financial Fitness for Women

    Are you a financially independent woman? That is -- are you in control of your debt, income, and spending habits? Are you controlling your money...or is it controlling you?

    Financial fitness is just as important as emotional, spiritual, and physical fitness for women. Luckily, achieving fitness levels in any aspect of life just requires a little motivation, planning, and discipline...and these tips for financial fitness will help you bulk up your money muscles!

    To increase your financial fitness levels, you can...

    1. Schedule your "retire rich" or "find financial freedom" time.
    Take an hour a month to think about how you can be a financially independent woman . Do you need to learn about basic personal finances, figure out where to invest $100 a month, or learn how to put money towards your retirement or children's education? Block off an hour a month (or an hour a week, if you're really motivated!) to pursue your financial goals.

    2. Identify the flaws in your personal finance

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  • 6 Ways to Get Supple as a Couple

    Do you and your lover need to tone down and shape up? These six weight loss tips are especially geared for couples -- and they'll help you get to know your man (or woman) in a whole new way! My husband and I do Pilates, core fusion, and various fitness programs together. Not only are we learning more about each other's bodies and personalities, we're increasing our motivation to get and stay fit .

    We've also found certain exercise DVDs to be a great way to lose weight as a couple. I've listed several of them here....

    Before the tips, a quip:

    "Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us." ~ Peter De Vries.

    Are you eating for emotional reasons? The first and possibly most important weight loss tip is to figure out why you eat when you're not hungry. This involves improving your mind-body connection, which some types of exercise do. For instance, one of my favorite exercise DVDs incorporates yoga, dance, Pilates, cardio and strength training - and all

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  • 9 Money Tips for Women in Their 20s, 30s, and 40s

    Are you controlling your money, or is your money (and debt) controlling you? Basic personal finance may not be that interesting to most women in their 20s or 30s, but it's one of the keys to a happy, fulfilled life!

    Money may not make you happy, but it can at least make you miserable if you're miserable (I think Gloria Steinem said this...or was it Suze Orman?). Anyway -- the point is that the sooner you start planning your finances, the better off you'll be.

    "Age is more than just a number when it comes to financial planning," say Lisa Caputo and Linda Descano - the dynamic duo behind Women & Co, a financial resource for women. "Starting early can help give you a leg up on a comfortable retirement. This is particularly important for women because we live longer than men, are more likely to require long-term care services, and take more time out of the work force to care for children and family members. These financial realities make it even more important for us to start saving

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  • 8 tips for first-time home buyers

    Whether you want to buy a new condo or house in three months or ten years, you need to know the steps involved. First time home buyers are in an exciting and terrifying position -- and these tips for new home owners will help smooth the process...

    "Home ownership remains a good investment and a big part of the American dream," says Ethan Ewing of "You may be able to save thousands on your piece of that dream by buying a house this year -- but you must act quickly."

    Here are his tips for first time home buyers....

    1. Double-check your credit report. The mortgage industry meltdown means the best deals go to buyers with spotless credit. People with damaged credit might not be able to get a home loan at all, or may face high interest rates. "Before starting house-hunting, check your credit report to be sure it does not show any incorrect information," says Ewing says. "If it has an error, dispute it immediately and make copies of evidence regarding the error to

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  • Yes, You Can Quit Your Day Job! 6 Tips for Starting a New Career

    Do you want to go back to school, get a new job, or otherwise change your career? You can quit a job you're tired of and change your career path! These tips are inspired by the successful Suze Orman, who encourages women to find work they love -- even if it means going back to school or taking a low-paying job.

    But, getting another diploma or degree isn't the solution in all situations:

    "Going back to school makes sense only if it is a necessary step in a well-conceived career change," writes Orman in The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke. "Otherwise, it's just a bad excuse to get out of a situation that isn't working for you."

    Whether you're thinking about going back to school or aiming for a promotion in your current job, these tips might help...

    1. Think career, not short-term job.
    When I first started freelance writing, my husband kept talking about my "writing career." That freaked me out at first, but then I began to think about my writing that

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