Like a Mother








December 2016
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Health insurance is no joke. By law, you are required to carry it. This seems scary, especially since premiums are so expensive, and only going higher. But health insurance is an incredible asset that everyone should have, even if mandates require you buy health insurance on the marketplace. 

If Obamacare is really repealed in the next few months, what happens next?

No real changes can happen for at least one year, if not until 2018, and 2017 prices and plans are locked. The health insurance code is thousands of pages that slow down any potential changes.

What are the most important benefits I should look for when selecting a health insurance plan this year?

This depends on what is most important to you: Affordable monthly premiums, maintaining your current doctors or the total deductibles, including co-pays for office visits and prescriptions. PolicyGenius helps navigate these priorities over available policies.

Unfortunately, you’re not going to get everything you want out of this purchase upfront, so face that fact head on then put your research fingers to work. You’ll find big savings opportunities by tailoring your policy decision this year to your plan usage last year and any special health considerations you have in mind for this year. For example, if you have a surgery coming up this year or you're planning to grow your family, dig into plans before you purchase to verify location of network doctors and specialists you’ll need and any additional costs that may come with these visits.

The Bronze plan is so expensive, and has such poor coverage. Why can't I just skip insurance all together?

It is the law that you maintain coverage, and you will be fined if you do not purchase it.

As Jennifer Fitzgerald points out, the benefits to health insurance are huge, and the most an individual must pay out of pocket (in addition to premiums), is $6,500 for an individual, or $13,000 for a family — no matter how expensive your medical bills in the event of an accident or major illness. Fitzgerald shares about a 29-year-old client who had $1 million in medical debt from a motorcycle accident because he didn’t have health insurance. People: Buy health insurance.

I'm going to the health insurance marketplace for the first time, and am completely overwhelmed. Where do I start?!

PolicyGenius is the largest marketplace for health insurance, including information about subsidies, which can reduce premiums to $75 per month for qualifying consumers.

First, check to see if you qualify for a tax subsidy.

In all states, you can qualify for a health insurance subsidy if your household income is up to 400 percent of the poverty level. For plans purchased during the 2017 open enrollment period, that upper subsidy threshold is $97,200 per year year for a family of four. Last year, 2 million consumers who qualified for an Obamacare subsidy did not apply. Free money, people! Take it! Check here to learn if you are qualified for an Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidy.

Then, decide which is most important to you: out-of-pocket monthly premiums, the ability to stay with your current provider, or total deductions. Do your research to understand and tailor your plan to your needs.

Americans typically spend 5% of their annual salary on health insurance per year so it’s worth the extra time to get this right. Jennifer’s company PolicyGenius developed their health insurance app with the end customer in mind, so education and advice are built into the process. It’s a great example of how a self-guided process can actually help you save time and money while giving you the tools you need to find the ideal plan for your individual needs.   

I'd love to start my own business, and build on my side gig, but I’m afraid that health insurance on the marketplace will break me. I currently get great coverage for my family from my corporate employer.

This is all about your own risk tolerance, but first do your research: Go to the marketplace and research your options. This year may be your last year to take advantage of the ACA subsidies that will help you bring healthcare costs down (

(especially since your first years of entrepreneurship may come with lower income). Then, ask your tax preparer if you can take your health insurance premiums as a deduction.

Most importantly, know how you’re going to use your plan before making the purchase. If you buy a low-cost high-deductible plan as many do in an effort to save cash upfront, and you could easily end up paying more than double your plan’s initial costs. Be diligent in your research and decision making process.

Consider the financial upside of owning your own enterprise, and health insurance is just one part of a very large equation of business ownership.

What kind of help is there for low-income families?

The Affordable Care Act comes with several options to help families pay for health insurance:

  • Health insurance subsidies, which extend to households earning up to 400 percent the poverty level. See if you qualify here.
  • Cost Sharing Reduction, for those earning 100 percent 250 percent the poverty level, these plans have reduced premiums, co-pays and deductions. See if you qualify here.
  • Medicaid is free health insurance, and most states expanded their qualifications to 138 percent federal poverty line. See if you qualify for Medicaid here.

What about separated families? I have four kids, my ex-husband and I each claim two on our tax returns. As-is, neither of us qualify for a subsidy, and we each have to buy a health insurance family plan on the marketplace. Help!

There is no easy answer here. Take time to try different scenarios with this health insurance subsidy calculator. For example, see if it would make sense for the lower-income parent to cover all four, or three of the kids, compared with the tax benefits of doing the same. Or take turns claiming the kids on your returns and paying for health insurance, then switching the following year. A tax professional can help you do these calculations.

What open enrollment deadlines should I be on the lookout for?

To qualify for a plan that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, the deadline to lock in a plan is Dec. 15, 2016.

To qualify for a plan that goes into effect Feb. 1, 2017, the deadline to lock in a plan is Jan. 15, 2017.

The final deadline for 2017 coverage is Jan. 31, 2017, for which coverage goes into effect March 1, 2017.

Exceptions to these dates include qualifying events, including:

  • Losing existing health coverage, including job-based, individual, and student plans
  • Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
  • Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Having a baby or adopting a child
  • Death in the family that changes your eligibility
  • Moving to a different ZIP code or county
  • Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
  • Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen
  • Leaving incarceration (jail or prison)
  • AmeriCorps members starting or ending their service

This post about HEALTH INSURANCE is brought to you by PolicyGenius, the world's top marketplace for life, health, disability, pet and renter's insurance. This Like a Mother episode features PolicyGenius CEO and co-founder Jennifer Fitzgerald, who will answer all your questions about this ever-challenging benefit. PolicyGenius is dedicated to empowering consumers with the insurance information and comparison tools they need to feel good about the insurance they purchase. To learn more, and find the right health insurance policy for your family, head to

Direct download: LAM20-20Buy20Health20Insurance20on20Marketplace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55am EST

Why is everyone such a financial mess? Why do successful, highly educated women have zero idea what is going on in their finances — and abandon their financial power to men? What do really successful people have to say about money and success?

Bobbi Rebell, Reuters anchor and author of the new How to Be a Financial Grownup: Proven Advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom answers these questions and more.​

In this tidy book, and on this episode, Rebell, who is divorced, and remarried with a stepson, shares:

  • What Ivana Trump taught her daughter Ivanka Trump about hard work and entitlement.
  • Why 'fake it till you make it' is the brilliance behind Cynthia Rowley's fashion empire.
  • How the heck she got Tony Robbins to write the book's forward.
  • Can you attract a great man if you earn more than most men have a successful, high-profile career (asking for a friend)?
  • Moreover, can you sustain a successful marriage if the wife earns more than the husband?


Direct download: LAM20Bobbi20Rebell2C20financial20grown-up.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09am EST

For the past several years I've been impressed by the positive attitude, candor and humor from an active member of my Millionaire Single Moms Facebook group. Tiffany Horsely is a Kansas nurse, mom of three, and she has no shame about sharing that her ex husband molested and raped for more than four years their oldest daughter, Robyn. At age 17, depressed and despondent, Robyn found the courage to tell her friend, and eventually her mom, and the police the truth. Together they went through the horror that sexual assault trials are known to be, the loss of a father, and marriage, and pushed forward through grief and on to healing.

What's more, soon after the ordeal, Robyn turned to social media to publicaly share her story, with her mom at her side. By owning her truth, she freed herself — and others — from the shame of secrets.

What is special about Robyn and Tiffany is that they are funny. Without diminishing the gravity of the trauma of their history, they have found ways to laugh at themselves and life — snapping a selfie from the back of the patrol car as they were escorted to the police station to file a rape report, Tiffany joking that she does pay alimony to her incarcerated ex — by way of taxes.

The Crimes Against Children Research Center reports:

  • 1 in 5 girls, and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse
  • 20% of adult women and 5 to 10% of adult men remeMber a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth were sexually victimized

National Institute of Justice report found that 3 out of 4 adolescents who had been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well.

Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows 1.6 % of children between the ages of 12 and 17 were victims of rape/sexual assault.


What to do if you or someone you know is a rape, sexual assault or incest victim

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. This is a core service of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth magazine. 800.656.HOPE (4673)


Direct download: LAM20Robyn20and20Tiffany20Horsley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28am EST

Wednesday, grieving the election results, my Facebook feed filled with angry, confused and outraged posts. An ardent Hillary supporter, I felt the same. My kids saw me cry and cry. After I dropped them at the bus stop, I jogged through my Queens, New York neighborhood. Everyone looked stunned. Ours is noted as one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. Did my neighbors, many new immigrants, worry about their future? I was worried about our future! I was, and am, scared. I tried to make sense of what happened, to find a way to to move forward that was not angry. Something productive. Something to share with my children that reflects my values, and would also help me process this turn events. 

I wrote this on Facebook, and it was shared more than 60 times, and got hundreds of 'likes.' You can read it here: What I told my children about the election.

If you are not happy about something going on in this country, take this as an opportunity to make change. Commit to an organization you care about. Decide to behave differently in your daily life towards strangers or your neighbors. I am upping my contribution to Hour Children, a nonprofit in my neighborhood that supports incarcerated mothers and their children. I am also making it my professional mission to empower women to always earn and have their own money. 

Here is a great list from Jezebel:  A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support

What did you tell your kids about the election. What are you doing to change?



Direct download: LAM20What20I20Tell20Kids20About20the20Election.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EST

In the 90s, Kim Garst was sick of being broke, so she launched a seven-figure business from her dining room table with no marketing. When she maxed out on that web design business, Garst became involved in a wildly successful network marketing business, which morphed into consulting, and eventually Boom Social, a social media marketing firm that is considered a leader in its industry.

In this episode, Kim and I discuss:

  • How the heck she is such an involved mom of two, and wife, while building these killer businesses.
  • Her innate comfort with making money.
  • Why her derailment from plans to attend law school by motherhood was the best thing that happened to her career.
  • Why selling your knowledge is often far more lucrative and impactful than doing the actual job. 
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with other positive, ambitious people. 
  • Her husband's attitude about her professional and financial success. 


About Like a Mother: For Moms Who Think

Celebrities, bestsellers, turd-stirrers, advocates, everyday people with amazing stories, and call-in guests to discuss what smart moms really care about:

Career, money, business, parenting, feminism, dating, sex, success, love and relationships.

40,000 monthly downloads.

“Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts”
—U.S. News

Direct download: LAM20Kim20Garst.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:47am EST

When it comes to gender, money and parenting, there are two prevailing issues:

  1. Dads who do not live with their kids are barely involved. (Just 22% of dads who live apart from their children see them more than once weekly, per Pew.)
  2. That pay gap will. not. close.

Here’s the answer:

Start all custody negotiations at a default 50-50 visitation and custody, with no child support or alimony.

While there is great movement towards equally shared visitation time in at least 20 states, the majority of family courts still default to some version of model that has prevailed in separated families for decades:

  • Dad pays mom child support, and maybe alimony.
  • Mom is primary custodian and dad gets “Friday night special” — every-other weekend, and Wednesday night dinners.

This antiquated arrangement only reinforces the sexist notions:

  • Women are incapable of supporting themselves.
  • Fathers are inferior parents.

Indeed, this outdated agreement holds women, men, families and the economy back.

In this episode I argue for a 50-50 custody, no child support arrangement. Arguments:

Unmarried moms would have so, so much more time to invest in their careers and businesses.

Fathers would be forced to make the hard work-life decisions that women have known for generations, leveling the workplace playing field.

It would create a collective mindshift at home, work and in the bedroom. If women know they can never rely on a man outside of marriage for income, we will make different, better decision about our careers, and money. If men know they cannot skirt their parental responsibilities, they will be more thoughtful about bringing babies into the world.

For more on this topic, read:
Want to close the pay gap? Get dads more involved? Default to 50-50 custody and no child support


Direct download: LAM205020Percent20Child20Support20Monolog.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29pm EST

Earlier this year I interviewed an incredible woman, someone whose work has changed the way I feel about my body, sexuality, gender and life:  Regena Thomashauser, aka Mama Gena, who, through her in-person and online workshops called Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and books by the same name, Thomashauser offers a fascinating history on the power of female sensuality and sexuality, biology lessons on female anatomy and the possibilities (and fruits of) hours-long orgasms. 

Our interview, re-released here, hinged on the release of her latest book, Pussy: A Reclamation, which was released a few weeks ago. Leading up to the book launch, I noticed on social media that Thomashauer and her team pleaded with fans to promote her new title, since Facebook banned her doing so, since it contained the lewd word, pussy. I got a little worried for her, knowing full well that paid social media promotion is considered one of the most powerful marketing tools today. How would she get the word out about her work if social media prudes banned it?

Well, ladiues, pussy is powerful, and Pussy, A Reclamation, hit the New York Times bestseller list, not the least of because Mama Gena used this sort of pussy-shaming as an opportunity to explore the sexism and female shaming that shrouds that very word that was banned. 

Then, something magical happened. That's right, just a few days after her book hit the shelves, videos of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women's pussies became the No. 1 trending topic on Facebook. And pussy, the power of the word, the power of the organ, the power of the femininine and everything that Mama Gena promotes in her new book, was now blurted and bantered in every single mainstream media outlet. 

There you have it: The power of the pussy.

To celebrate this success, and to celebrate your pussy and mine, and to support the candidates who has a pussy, I republished this episode. It was simply delightful to interview Mama Gena, and you need to hear her message"

  • Why “pussy” (and not vagina, vulva, yoo-hoo, or … like my friend grew up calling her, ‘chicken’) and what that word really, truly means.
  • The urgent need for for women everywhere to prioritize the learning of what pleases their every senses — a practice that guarantees  attracting the biggest genuine fulfillment and success in career, parenting, romance, and global domination.
  •  Thomashauser’s own journey as a divorced mother of a young daughter, while dating and building a seven-figure business.
  • Why she appreciates that her first post-divorce love affair — with a remarkable, wealthy, glamorous man who adored her — ended, freeing her to manifest her life’s work.
  • How to nurture your daughters’ sensuality even if you are struggling to nurture your own.
  • Her reaction when I told her I tried to do a word count on “pussy” in the PDF of her new book, but there were too many to tally.
  • The power of PJ (don’t know what PJ is? Hint: it’s pussy juice) and right there in my Times Square studio, two grown women harvested and applied a dab of her own behind her ear.

Want to ask me a question that will be played — and answered! — on-air? Just record it here!

Direct download: LikeaMother_MamaGena_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59am EST


Anna Akbari, PhD, is a sociologist, stylist, and author of the upcoming book: Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness (St. Martin's Press, January 2017). Preorder now:

Akbari is more than your garden-variety stylist. She digs deep into your goals, fears and issues, and helps you dress for life you want. Fascinating stuff.

Her book is equally fascinating, yet totally common sense. You know those women and so do I: Brilliant in business and money, disasters in their personal lives. Akbari taps into the entrepreneurship-obsessed zeitgeist and breaks down truisms about Silicon Valley incubation into action steps for how to excel in all parts of your life. Including:

  • Finding the career of your dreams
  • Landing the mate or romantic life you crave
  • Health, money and lifestyle you want and desserve.


Direct download: LAM20Anna20Akbari.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11am EST

I see it all the time, and you likely do, too. People fall apart when their marriages end. No matter if it is an amicable, Gweneth Paltro uncoupling, your decision or his, wether there was plenty of money or everyone is now destitute, divorce is trauma. Every single vertical of your life unravels: finance, real estate, the kids of course, and how much you will see them and where. Money is a giant, scary question mark, and your relationships with friends and extended family likely change and are challenged. If you are like I was, your ideas about your own sexuality, identity and future are questioned, and your health can take its toll.

You get a year. A free pass for 12 months to be a freaky weirdo. Drink too much after the kids go to bed. Smoke a few cigarettes at break time with your colleagues. Let the house go, let the dishes pile up in the sink. Hell, might as well preemptively cancel the gym memberships, because you’re not going. Be stinky and oily, and let your pubes hang out of your swimsuit on a public beach in the midwest. Sleep with a bunch of completely inappropriate people and wear things that no one at your age with your body should ever even think about wearing in public. Stay up all night stalking your college boyfriend on Facebook.

You’re good. No judgement here!

Direct download: LikeaMother20-20Hot20Mess2028edited20by20Steve20Stewart29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EST

Co-parenting is often one of the hardest — and heart-breaking — parts of being a single mom. In this Like A Mother episode, I tackle common issues and offer results for problems like:

  • The ex who shows up last-minute or unannounced.
  • The ex who cancels last minute.
  • The ex who perpetually shows up late. 
  • What to do with your urge to facilitate a relationship between your kids and their dad, even though he is totally unreasonable and disrespectful of your time.
  • The damage done to your kids when you let your ex mess with your time. 
  • How you let your ex control you by controlling your time (and why you absolutely deserve so much better!)



Direct download: LikeaMother_Article20_CoParentProblems.wav
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29am EST