Categories
Life

6 Lessons from Over 25 Years Online

A long time ago I attended the University of Manitoba where I saw my first computer. It was 1983 and I was introduced to the Lisa (Apple’s first personal computer). It was worth $5,000 and had 1MB of ram and a floppy disk.

I would not actively use computers until the ’90s.

A History Lesson

The year was 1993 and Outlook and AOL came into being. Prices of computers started to drop and there were plenty of places non-computer owners could log on. I lived in Toronto in 1994 when I got my first email address and got my first Hotmail address in 1996. I was working in Toronto and would use the computers at Chapters to login in.

I then moved to Nova Scotia after the death of my stepfather 25 years ago and convinced my mother we needed our own. It was in Nova Scotia, I started using the computer to connect to others globally.

I met my ex-husband online before online dating was a thing. I moved to New Mexico, got married, and divorced, all within a year. That taught me a thing or two. I even had 2 newspaper articles written about my adventure into online relationships. One was a full-page article about the danger of online relationships.

A few months after my divorce was final, I came home to Canada. I bought my first computer when my daughter was 2 and started to share our lives online. Have you heard of Geocities? Xanga? or MSN spaces. I was active on all of them. I also had early WordPress and Blogspot blogs ( you can still find my Blogger-hosted blog). I knew I had a story worth sharing.

Then came the onslaught of social media and all of our lives changed.

From the early days of Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Google +, Periscope, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more recently TikTok, Clubhouse, and now Clapper there are so many ways to connect learn share and grow your own community.

6 Lessons from 25 Years Online

This past weekend was the 25th anniversary of my stepfather’s death and as I reflected on life since his loss I also reflected on my time online and my story. The story is not over and there are still many chapters to be opened. So what have I learned so far?

  1. Own It

Social platforms come and go. As quickly as both Google+, MySpace, and Periscope came and took root, they went away. Have your own platform where people can always find you.

2. Be nice

Kindness always counts especially when it comes to the online world. You can always find room to be kind. Empathy and respect matter.

3. Amplify Others

For years, I was the host of the #CDNMoney chat on Twitter. Financial literacy is a passion of mine. I often said I am not the expert but I will build a community that includes experts and we could grow together. I was blessed to moderate and lead hundreds of online conversations where I could amplify others. Look for the opportunity to amplify others.

4. Watch what you share online

Sometimes, we don’t need to overshare. You never know who is watching, reading, and listening. It might be your boss, a potential boss, a brand wanting to reach out. You simply never know who your voice will resonate with.

5. Make friends

friends made in thev last 25 years online

I will forever be thankful for the friends I have met online. Many have turned into my besties and these friendships make my heart full. I have made many friends by turning online relationships into in-person ones where we can hang, learn, grow and share.

6. If you share it online you never know where it will end up

I have had social media posts and blog posts end up being quoted on tv, in books, in magazines, and by celebrities. You never know what stage you may end up on./

What lessons have you learned during your time online?

Categories
Life

One Woman Job Hunting after age 50 in Canada

I never knew until I did.

Sometimes, it’s hard to face reality.

jobhunting
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

Reality

Three years ago I lost a job that I loved. I was working for a global company on a contract and I was sure the role would go permanent till it didn’t. What was funny to me though, they simply chose not to pay for the experience I had. They saw and knew my worth and decided the old woman in the room was not a voice they needed.

My wisdom and customer care skills were useful during a crisis but once the crisis was past and I was no longer needed to field the global complaints I answered daily. It was easy for them to cut the cord. They hired 2 staffers under the age of 30 to replace me.

As a woman in her mid 50’s, I headed to the employment center to collect unemployment for the first time in years I was shocked with what I encountered. Everyone at the session I attended was a woman over 45 except for one gentleman.

As we celebrate women tomorrow, let’s remember there is still much work to be done.

Women Over 45 and the Workplace

Women age 45 and older are often pushed out the door of the workplace faster than any male counterpart. With the pandemic, these numbers have only increased. Only some of that can be attributed to caregiving ( a role women pick up in most families)

Parity, especially for an older woman, is elusive and many women do not make it to the C-suite. In 2019, less than 4% of the big Canadian companies were led by a woman. Less than 31 % of senior managers are female. If you look at work in the world of startups and tech roles held by women over the age of 45 are rare and hard to find.

Jobhunting for women over the age of 45 is extremely difficult. In my case, I sent out over 400 resumes. I got a few calls, 2 interviews in my year on unemployment. I took a very junior role and now earn $6 less an hour than I did in 2018. I remain in a third-party call center while looking and creating something better.

What does this mean for Canadian Women

First, we need to keep in mind that especially as we age we need to be prepared financially. We need to be smart with our spending, saving, and investing.

We need to be ready to learn new skills rapidly. Technology, social media, and the way we do business are constantly evolving. We must accept and adapt to our new realities.

We need to be constantly networking and supporting women who are doing good things. Remember when you amplify the voice of a smart educated woman who is leading out on a topic you lift all.

On this International Women’s Day there is much to be done to give women parity and inclusion.

Personally, I have learned to have more than one stream of income, lift and encourage voices that can lead to change, and take things one day at a time.

Categories
Personal Finance

The Dangers When It Comes to Payday Loans

There are dangers when it comes to payday loans

I was on Facebook a while back and I saw an Influencer campaign for a payday loan company.  A Canadian payday loan company was using mom bloggers to shill the benefits of payday loans.  Let me be very clear about my take on payday loans and why all Canadians should try and stay clear of them. These high-interest loans simply do not make economic sense.  They may be very tempting if you are in a pinch or having an emergency but there are better ways of getting the cash you need. There several dangers when it comes to payday loans.

 I knew I had to write about this topic. Unfortunately, I have taken out several payday loans and getting out of that cycle of debt took hard work.

The dangers of payday loans

Payday loan companies say they are a quick and easy way to take care of an immediate financial need. They even tell you their interest rates which in Canada average anywhere from 15-23% per hundred dollars borrowed in 2019. They tell you it is an easy simple way to meet a financial burden. I am here to tell you they are wrong. I am literally scared to see the numbers during 2020 and post-pandemic.

Payday loans are like gateway drugs, they can lead to a heap of trouble. Let’s look at the stats:

  • Most Canadians carry some sort of monthly debt forward every month. That number continues to grow.
  • 37% of all bankruptcies in Canada include payday loan debt.

The fact is those that take out these loans are often living payday to payday and can’t really afford the loan in the first place.  Like me, back in the day, I lived payday to payday and struggled to get by. Payday loans came into play when I had maxed out the credit cards and needed to survive.  A simple loan of $300 was repeated several times before I finally got wiser and started adding up the numbers.  Payday loans have the highest interest rate when it comes to loans in Canada and they prey on the poor, that is why in recent years most provinces have capped the interest rates. The law across Canada is that a Canadian can not pay more than 60% per annum.  Here in Ontario for a $500 loan for 2 weeks, you will have to pay back $575.00 and if you are late there are fees on top of that.

So what can you do if you need money in a hurry instead of a payday loan?

Take a credit card cash advance. Yes, it still has an interest payment but it is far less than a payday loan.

Apply for an overdraft on your chequing account. Again, it has a far lower interest rate.

Already maxed out these resources?

Sell something. Find something you have of value and sell it.

See yourself in need of extra cash, pick up a side gig. Here in Toronto, on Facebook,, I often see someone looking to hire someone for all kinds of temporary gigs. There are at least 50 different ways you can earn $100 online.

Ask to work overtime. Many employers will allow you to work up to their provincial maximums. Here in Ontario that is 44 hours.

Plan ahead. I have written time and time again about the need for an emergency fund and getting one started when you live payday to payday, its hard work. My suggestion, start small, even $25 every pay is a start.

Negotiate a late payment.  If it is a car payment, rent payment or the like and you normally pay on time call the lender/landlord and see if you can work out a plan.

Last but not least you can ask for help from family and friends. Get a loan from them just make sure you pay them back in a timely fashion.

Just a friendly reminder if you are tempted there is always another way.