Like a Mother

This is an important episode. Terry Brennan, co-founder of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, an activist organization responsible for introducing legislation in 20 states, that makes equal, shared parenting the presumption in family court. This is a critical issue for children, who suffer from absentee fathers in alarming figures, as well as men, who are automatically reduced to paychecks and an afterthought in family life. Shared parenting is critical for women, too, as involved co-parents, both inside and outside of marriage, mean women have far more support at home, which allows us to thrive as parents, as well as professionals and earners. After all, we can't be equals at work, if men are not equals at home.

In this episode, Terry Brennan shares:

  • There are 43 academics papers support shared parenting for children of divorced or separated parents.
  • In cases where 'standard' visitation is awarded — every-other-weekend — fathers become depressed and non-involved, and within 3 years, one study found, 40 percent of children in an unequal visitation arrangement had lost complete touch with their non-custodial parents, which are nearly always the father.
  • Research finds that a minimum of 35 percent of kids' time with both parent is required to bond with a parent. Anything less robs children an opportunity to truly bond with the parent.
  • Lack of shared parenting linked to every major social pathology in the United States.
  • Extended families of both parents have the right to be part of children's lives.
  • Of course abuse and neglect cases are the exception.
  • The shared parenting movement has become mainstream, supported by as many women as men, with 20 shared parenting bills around the country, with passed laws in Utah, Missouri, Wyoming and Arizona.
  • "Fathers who get involved from the get-go are far more involved, while those who are marginalized become distant parents and are marginalized further."
  • If courts stop asking parents to argue for their children, and start assuming that they are both competent people, parents form a more amicable and collaborative co-parenting relationship, which results in more involved fathers and happier children.
  • In Australia, after the implementation of shared parenting laws nationally, 73 percent fewer parents went to lawyers to resolve co-parenting issues, and just as many parents sought out counseling to resolve issues.



Direct download: LAM20Terry20Brennan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am EST

Admit it: You hate running your kids around. And chauffeuring children to and from after-school activities, play dates and, you're a separated family, to their dad's house, is one of the dregs of parenthood. It is for me. And finding a safe driver, with their own wheels, available for the inconsistent chore of schlepping kids to and fro is a chore in and of itself.

Enter HopSkipDrive, the Uber for kids. Founded in 2013 by three moms of little kids, the California startup is coming to a city near you. To thank for this gift is co-founder and CEO Joanna McFarland, herself a Los Angeles married mom of two sons, whom I interview in this fun interview. Joanna and I discuss:

  • How the three founders birthed HopSkipDrive.
  • Why so many customers are divorced families (drivers serve as intermediary between the homes of contentious parents.
  • Why the service is such a great job for moms.
  • The mom guilt that pressures women to assume the onerous task of kid-schlepping. 
  • How outsourcing this (and other mom duties) enhances earning potential and quality of family time.
  • Why this may be one of the only jobs that enthusiastically accepts 'motherhood' as work experience.
  • The joys and challenges of entrepreneurship as a mom of young children.
  • How McFarland balances her demanding career with family and marriage. 
  • No, says McFarland, a former investment banker, HopSkipDrive is not a competitor of Uber or Lyft.


Direct download: LAM20Joanna20McFarland20HopSkipDrive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02am EST

Only about 3 percent of people who pay alimony are women, but those women are usually really, really angry about it. Typically, the women are angry about his low- or no-earning during the marriage, disgusted with his spending habits, and aghast she must now support him after the marriage is over.  In this episode, I offer my top advice for dealing with the reality of paying your ex each month. Tips include:

  • Prioritize coming to peace with the situation.
  • Stop talking about it.
  • Minimize interaction, and find ways to pay him in a lump sum, automatically, or a few times annually.
  • Accept that this is the price you had to pay to get out of a bad relationship.
  • Ask your ex to fund the kids’ college savings plans.
  • If you truly cannot afford your current lifestyle while making these payments, downgrade your lifestyle.
  • Remember that alimony and child support were huge, wonderful feminist coups.
  • Focus on how your kids benefit from this payment — and how you benefit by default.
  • Peel away the layers of the resentment, which are rooted in what happened during the relationship.
  • To be part of the solution for other families, find the advocates for alimony reform in your state, and get involved.
  • If you truly believe you are paying too much, weigh carefully the costs of revisiting the issue legally, and do your best to approach this as a practical process, and not an emotional one.
  • Never tie time with your children to payments. In some states, child support payments are calculated based on how much time the kids spend with one or the other payment.
  • Hard as it, do not threatened to stop paying your ex.
  • Refocus your rage into fuel for earning more. In most states, child support and alimony payments are capped.
  • Remember: Everything is temporary.

What do you think? Do you pay alimony to your ex?? How do you feel about it? What did you do to contend with it? Share your advice to other women in the comments....

Direct download: LAM20When20Women20Pay20Alimony.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:11pm EST

Jean Chatzky is a personal financial journalist, bestselling author of eight books and financial editor for NBC's Today Show. Here we talk about"

  • Focus on earning vs. skimping - especially for women. "Your financial life doesn't work how much you save, if you're not bringing in money."
  • "I enjoy earning money, it makes me feel safe, confident and independent."
  • Why she wished her latest book was entitled "Don't Bitch, Get Rich."
  • Her new book, Age Proof about living until 100 without going broke.
  • The incredible toxic power of financial stress, your physical, emotional health.
  • Why you don't have to be wealthy, but a regular, consistent saver to build a healthy lifestyle and secure future.
  • Women really have much higher stakes when it comes to money: we earn less, live longer, are more likely to be responsible for raising children and caring for older relatives.
  • It doesn't need to take a ton of time to manage your finances in a powerful way.
  • The prevalence of women choosing to not be involved in family finances, having no idea about where the money is, what accounts are open, which are in their name, their spouse's income.
  • The big fallout of not being financially astute for married women. "You need to be able to go out and buy a cup of coffee or shoes without asking permission. That is the way adult people function in the world."
  • Jean's top 3 tips for financial independence.


Check out Jean Chatzky's podcast Her Money here. 

Jean's blog here. 

Or her books on Amazon here. 




Direct download: LAM20Jean20Chatzky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am EST

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