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thAlaska is full of kick-ass women, and I was privileged to meet a bunch of them during my 17 years of working for the Anchorage Daily News. That’s because I wrote for the features section, which meant getting sent out to interview women who’d either suffered great losses or done something intriguing. Sometimes both.

I learned something from all of them, and was fortunate enough to get to know some of them better. When I met Dana Stabenow she was at the tail-end of a carefully chosen yet potentially disastrous decision: to quit her lucrative job, get a master’s degree in creative writing and become an author.

She went broke in the attempt, but that’s not the end of her story.


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th-1Some money experts come across as professional scolds who harangue us about the bad things we’ve done and the good things we haven’t done.

No wonder some people prefer to unload their money woes to friends. Even if our pals gently point out our goofs, at least they’re not telling us how stupid we are.

The problem is that not all friends will hold us accountable, either because they don’t want to hurt our feelings or they don’t know much about money themselves. Thus we run the risk of getting advice that’s well-intentioned but not really in our best interests.

Ever confess to having gone a little off the rails at the mall only to have your BFF blithely chirp, “Oh, well, it happens to all of us!” Or fret about how you shouldn’t have gotten such an expensive car and have some other dude say, “Aw, come on! Live a little!”

Beverly Harzog won’t tell you anything like that. Instead, she’ll be the friend everyone should have: One who cares enough to convince you to get control of your spending and who offers to stand by you every step of the way.

Harzog recently released a new book, “The Debt Escape Plan,” and it’s up for grabs in this week’s giveaway.


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thI’m going to be in Phoenix for about a week starting midday Feb. 16. Although my daughter and I have several jaunts planned, we’re also interested in having a blogger and/or reader meet-up.

Anybody interested?

It would almost certainly take place after the workday ends at 5 p.m. or so, although we’d certain push it further if other folks work later. We know that several other PF bloggers live in Phoenix, but are there other writers, too? And would readers be interested in hanging out with us?


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Screen_Shot_2015-01-06_at_4.54.26_PM_t670In 2002 Kelly Sangree got fired. She was eight months pregnant, her (now-ex) husband earned only a quarter of what she did – and they’d already been having trouble paying the bills.

The couple struggled financially and ultimately broke up. Due to health issues (hers and a daughter’s) Sangree moved in with her parents and scrambled to contribute to the household while paying off debt accumulated during her marriage.

Sangree wrote a book about her experiences. If you’re facing reduced income for any reason – job loss, rapid debt repayment, an entrepreneurial dream – then “Hard Core Poor: A Book On Serious Thrift” can help.


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thWant to get a glimpse of what young people are facing? “The Millennial Next Door Revealed: How to Be Financially Successful in Your 20s,” a free e-book from MoneyTips.com, is available starting today. (Click on the link to get your free copy.)

Author Katie Holmes notes that millennials (those born between 1981 and 1994) face a faltering economy and high student debt, along with a lot of withering generalizations (entitled, narcissistic, lazy). Mostly I agree with her; in fact, I believe that millennials have gotten a raw deal, economically speaking.

Although I have an issue with the ways its conclusions were drawn (more on that in a minute), I think “The Millennial Next Door” offers some valuable info on the mindsets of this cohort. And I’d say that even if I weren’t one of a couple of dozen personal finance writers contributing money tips to the work.


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