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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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thToday I got my first paycheck since Nov. 29. At times this self-employment thing is for the birds.

My tax guy suggested I pay myself four times a year instead of monthly. It makes the paperwork easier, but part of me believes the quarterly system stinks.

That would be the part that’s been monitoring the checkbook balance – and suffering periodic panic attacks – since Thanksgiving.

Yet another part of me is glad that I’m not collecting 12 paychecks a year. The quarterly payouts help me keep my frugal edge.


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thLady Liberty is back. Or, rather, some dude wearing a Statue of Liberty costume is back, and standing outside a local tax-prep place. Instead of lifting a lamp beside the golden door, he’s waving a get-your-taxes-done-here sign at the passing traffic.

I’ve seen at least two dudes dressed this way lately, greenish robes bulging over winter wear and spiky crowns sitting uneasily atop messy mops. The facial hair is a bit jarring, since the real Lady Liberty is clean-shaven.

Being willing to don a silly costume and stand outdoors in the cold tells me something about these guys: They want to work.


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thAs you may have noticed, I haven’t been doing a lot of in-depth writing lately. In part that’s because I was ill for a while and then spent eight days visiting my daughter.

The real reason, though, is that I’m doing on a personal project that’s taking most of my attention. Not quite ready to talk about what I’m working on, except to say this: It’s neither a book nor a baby.


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20140909-MoneyTips-Fincon-The retiree-screen Res (FINAL)Where I grew up, people worked for as long as possible and felt diminished by retirement. Now it’s seen as a second chance.

Some people still say they plan to spend their golden years improving their golf swings or lying around in hammocks, but increasingly retirement is becoming an opportunity to start over: trying a different type of work, learning a new skill, maybe even running off to join the Peace Corps.

If you’d like to learn more, tune in to the Retiree Next Door Tweetcast next Tuesday, Nov. 18. Co-hosted by MoneyTips.com and certified financial planner Jeff Rose, the one-hour event will answer common questions and any additional queries sent in by listeners.


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