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Featured – Talking Personal Finance for Caribbean Women on Secret Birds Podcast

Secret Birds Personal Finance for Caribbean Women Podcast Interview of Melisa Boutin

I was delighted to talk to Jo-Ann Hamilton about personal finance for Caribbean women on her Secret Birds Podcast.

I had the opportunity to share my personal journey of paying off debt, while supporting extended family, key steps Caribbean Millennial women should take with their finances, and the importance if increasing financial knowledge while navigating an increasingly financialized way of life.

Listen in to the interview and read more the podcast over at SecretBirdsHQ, HERE

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How To Start Saving For Retirement Without A 401k In 3 Easy Steps

How to Start Saving for Retirement in 3 Easy Steps

According to the report “Are Americans Ready for Retirement?”, employer-based retirement plan sponsorship rates declined to 53% in 2011. This means that almost half of U.S. workers do not have access to a retirement plan through their employer.

Still, if you are an employee with an employer-sponsored retirement plan, saving for retirement is still your responsibility and is the only way to secure your financial future.

Although there are individual retirement account (IRA) options available via various brokerages, the minimum contribution amounts required can be a barrier for you to start investing for your retirement. Vanguard, for example, requires a minimum of $1,000 to open an IRA.

Of course, you can always save up the minimum contribution amounts in a savings account and then fund an IRA, but you’ll run the risk of losing motivation and falling off track, when life gets in the way.

Saving for Retirement On Your Own

You can overcome the minimum funding threshold barrier and avoid the pitfall of not investing at all by opening an IRA with a company like Ellevest, that allows you to establish an account with no minimum balance. I’m excited to be working with Ellevest to share information about investing towards your retirement goals. I will receive compensation if you become an Ellevest client.

Ellevest’s tools help you:

  • Establish a yearly target for your future retirement income;
  • Create a monthly investing goal;
  • Open an IRA to start investing for retirement; and
  • Incorporate other savings and investing goals.

Plus, you have the option to automate and increase your contributions to make funding your retirement, effortless.

Start Securing Your Retirement, Today

You can learn more about how Ellevest HERE, and start creating your plan in these 3 easy steps:

  1. Map out your retirement goal
  2. Create a plan to reach your retirement goal
  3. Fund your retirement goal

That’s it!

Bonus: When you set up an IRA, you can opt to direct a portion of your tax refund to your IRA account. Learn more at

If you’ve been confused and discouraged about saving for retirement, or just don’t know where to begin, use these simple steps to get started. Your future self will thank you.

~ Melisa Boutin


Grab this Retirement Start-Up Guide 

Free Resource - Your Retirement Start-Up Guide. Fund your retirement without a 401 k
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Scholarship Alert: $1000+ Award Opportunity for College-Bound Female Floridians of Jamaican Descent

$1,000 Scholarship Award Opportunity for College-Bound Female Floridian of Jamaican Descent

The Florida Non-Profit, The Jamaican Women of Florida is offering a $1,000 scholarship award opportunity for college-bound, female high school students, who are Florida residents of Jamaican descent. The goal of this scholarship program is to ” encourage the recipient to achieve her four-year educational goal at a tertiary institution.”

Scholarship Eligibility

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be first or second generation Jamaican descent.
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.5 throughout the tenure of the scholarship.
  • Take college credits in International Studies and/or Women Studies, if available.
  • Demonstrate continuous involvement in volunteer community projects throughout college.
  • Write a 2-page essay explaining why she should be awarded the scholarship.
  • Complete application materials, including, the essay, volunteer activities and projects, and school transcripts

Application Deadline: March 15.

[clickToTweet tweet=”$1,000 for Floridian High School Student of Jamaican Descent. Apply Here! ” quote=”Jamaican American High School Students: Apply to Win $1,000 for College from Jamaican Women of Florida!” theme=”style2″]

Related:  More Scholarships for U.S. & Caribbean Students

Where To Apply:

For more information on this scholarship opportunity and details on how to apply, visit The Jamaican Women of Florida’s website.

Good luck and share this post to spread the word!

~ Melisa Boutin

Scholarship Alert: $55,000 Available for U.S. & Caribbean International Students (Accounting, Business Administration, Finance & Criminal Justice Majors of Minors)

Ritchie-Jennings Scholarship Alert on Your Money Worth

Winning scholarships was one approach I used to get off the path to $100,000 in student loan debt and I am always happy to share an opportunity like this one, that give U.S. and International Students from the Caribbean a chance to be awarded free money, which brings me to today’s scholarship alert.

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

$55, 000 in scholarship awards are up for grabs for U.S. and International college students, including those from the Caribbean,  who have a desire to pursue a career in fraud examination or a similar anti-fraud profession. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), through the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship will be offering 29 students the following award amounts:

  • One (1) $10,000,
  • Two (2) $5,000,
  • Six (6) $2,500; and
  •  Twenty (20) $1,000.

To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled full-time in one of the eligible major or minors in accounting, business administration, finance, criminal justice or a related field.

Related:  More Scholarships for U.S. & Caribbean Students:
Scholarship Application

The scholarship application is due January 29th and can be submitted online here: ACFE Scholarship Online Application

Who is eligible to apply
  • Undergraduates enrolled in 9 semester hours per term
  • Graduates enrolled in 6 semester hours (or equivalent) per term
  • Complete the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Application online
  • Be currently enrolled at an accredited, four-year college or university with enrollment through the 2018-2019 academic year
  • Upload Official Transcript(s) showing all completed college or university courses
  • Have three letters of recommendation submitted on your behalf, preferably with at least one from a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
Who is ineligible to apply
  • Past scholarship award recipients
  • High school students (including seniors)
  • Junior college or community college students
  • College or university students graduating in 2018 (student must be enrolled through 2019)
  • ACFE Chapter officers or directors

If you are a U.S. or international student and you are eligible to apply definitely submit your application before the deadline: January 29.

I will continue to keep an eye out for scholarships for Caribbean American, and Caribbean International students and you can always check the Here for more scholarship opportunities.

~Melisa Boutin

Scholarship Alert: Scholarship & Internship Program for U.S. Citizens & Green Card Holders from Oracle

Scholarship and Internship Program for U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders

The Oracle Corporate Scholars Program is offering the opportunity for African American undergraduate students to gain extended learning experiences through summer internships at Oracle headquarters and financial support through scholarship awards.

The scholars program is open to current undergraduate students in the United States, majoring in Engineering, Technology and Business disciplines.

Scholars Program Eligibility

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Have attended high school in the United States
  • Be a U.S. Citizen of Permanent Resident
  • African American
  • Be an undergraduate sophomore or junior at the time of the application
  • Be enrolled at an accredited 4-year university in the United States
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0
  • Majoring in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Mathematics, Business, Marketing or Human Resources

[clickToTweet tweet=”Scholarship & Internship program for U.S. Citizen and Green Card Holder undergraduate students from @Oracle! via @UNCF #Caribbeancollegebound” quote=”Apply for the UNCF Oracle scholarship and internship program open to U.S. Citizens & Green Card Holders!” theme=”style2″]

Scholars Program Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for the Oracle Scholars Program is January 31.

Related:  More Scholarships for U.S. & Caribbean Students

Scholars Program Application

Applications can be submitted online via the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) scholarship announcement page, here: Oracle Scholars Program Details.

Good luck!

~ Melisa Boutin

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