Category Archives: Money Moxie Workshops

Learn about Women 2.0

Check out my latest on women and financial literacy posted this morning on Women 2.0.  This is an amazing organization for women founders of start-ups and technology companies.  I’ve been involved with them for a while now and love attending the Founders Friday–a fantatsic networking event that occurs on the first Friday night of every month in NYC and in many cities around the world.  I’ve met some great people, made helpful contacts and new friends!  The organization started in SiliconValley and has expanded around the world.  Check it out

“The Importance of Women Discussing Personal Finance”


The Money Moxie on Basics: Interactive Workshops with Lena Rizkallah

The Money Moxie on Basics: Interactive Workshops with Lena Rizkallah.

“Too Big To Fail”-Watch and Discuss

If you’ve been busy conducting an anthropological study of the indigenous tribes living in the jungles of Brazil with no access to your Iphone since 2008, you’ve probably missed the near-collapse of the US financial system that plunged the world into a financial crisis.  Well, don’t worry!  There’s a great film out there that offers an in-depth look into the few weeks that US government leaders, global heads of state and CEOs of major financial institutions were scrambling to keep the ceiling from caving in on all of us!

“Too Big To Fail,” a bestselling book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin (who is now a CNBC commentator) was later turned into a film that garnered multiple Emmy nominations.  Here’s what the illustrious IMDB has to say about the film:

“A close look behind the scenes, between late March and mid-October, 2008: we follow Richard Fuld’s benighted attempt to save Lehman Brothers; conversations among Hank Paulson (the Secretary of the Treasury), Ben Bernanke (chair of the Federal Reserve), and Tim Geithner (president of the New York Fed) as they seek a private solution for Lehman’s; and, back-channel negotiations among Paulson, Warren Buffet, investment bankers, a British regulator, and members of Congress as almost all work to save the U.S. economy. By the end, with the no-strings bailout arranged, modest confidence restored on Wall Street, and a meltdown averted, Paulson wonders if banks will lend. Written by <> ”

Exciting, right?  And these events actually HAPPENED!  You can’t make this stuff up!

Money Moxie is hosting a Film Viewing Salon on Tuesday September 25–we’ll watch the film and then discuss the implications of the events of that crazy weekend in September 2008 when Lehman went down and Merrill Lynch was saved.  Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the roles of the Fed Reserve Chairman, the Treasury Secretary and other financial officials, the events that sparked the financial crash and how the government bailouts helped or hindered the recovery.  We might even discuss whether there’s a need for more financial reform in light of the crash.

Wine, beer and popcorn will be provided-$25.  Sign up here:

Money Moxie Fall Calendar of Events: There’s something for everyone!

With only four more months to go in 2012, there’s still time to fulfill your financial goals.  If you’ve been to past Money Moxie workshops or events, you know that we specialize in casual, non-coma-inducing, interactive workshops on personal finance.  Money Moxie has some great events scheduled for the fall so be sure to check out our event calendar below. 

First things first, location.  We’ve partnered with Drifter Creative, a film production company with awesome space conveniently located steps from Union Square.  All of our workshops, cafes, salons and bootcamps will be held here:  39 West 14th Street Suite 503 between 5th and 6th Avenue.

Next, the calendar. Every month, we are offering a “The Basics” Workshop to all newcomers who are interested in getting their finances in order and learning more about investing.  All attendees of the free workshop will also receive a $10 coupon off your next Money Moxie Workshop!

Our workshops will focus on credit card respect, debt management, your credit score and investing.  We’ll have suggested reading/prep-work, an in-class lecture with outline and in-class exercises, games and group questions.  The goal is to get to understand our spending, saving and investing habits, make the right changes, and also learn from others.

Register here for workshops:

This summer, we launched a Summer Salon Series which was a big hit, and we’re beginning a new Fall Salon Series!  Essentially, a salon is forum for people to debate and discuss a topic–usually based on economics, finance or politics–in a fun, collegial environment.  Think of it as a “smart happy hour”–we provide the refreshments, topic and suggested reading and then a forum to debate the different angles of a topic.  It’s a great way to learn more about a topic and meet new people.  And we will be highlighting a lot of election year topics!  Register for the Fall Salon Series here:

Starting this fall, we are launching a new type of event called a Cafe.  A cafe is an informal group discussion on a more personal topic–like how to get a dream job, negotiate a salary or promotion, save for a splurge, or prepare to purchase your first home.  We’ll have suggested reading and discussion and also have experts join us for certain Cafes.  Oh, and we’ll provide some amazing java so we can have some real cawfee tawk.  Register for the Cafes here:

Since retirement planning is super important for everyone, we also offer an all-day Retirement Bootcamp each month this fall.  We’ll discuss retirement planning basics, the various plans available and best practices.  This is an event you should NOT miss, even if you’re already making contributions to a retirement plan.  Registration coming soon!

We’ll be making changes and additions to the calendar– so be sure to check back and feel free to shoot us an email with topics you’d like to see covered.  And PLEASE share with your friends and networks!

*** And don’t miss the Election Viewing Party on Election night as well as other Money Moxie Mingles TBA soon!

Olympic Dreams and Tide Commercials

Is everyone else obsessed with the Olympic Games?

Ever since I can remember I’ve had a twisted love of the Olympics.   One of my earliest memories of the Games is watching gymnast Nadia Comeneci nail the uneven bars in the 1976 Olympics.  I had cheered for Dorothy Hamill in the Winter Games earlier that year and joined the line of girls at the hair salon asking for her hairstyle (FYI the Dorothy Hamill bob did not work with an Arab-fro).  I’ve stalked Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis, Michael Phelps–if they were in the Olympic Games and had a sliver of an underdog story, I probably saved the Time Magazine profile on their life!

Once the proud of owner of a Dorothy Hamill Barbie doll…

This Olympics, though, I’ve noticed that the advertisers, media wizards, Olympic Gods–whoever–have really amped up the ‘warm & fuzzy’ stories.  From the Tide commercials that focus on the moms of the athletes to the video montages of the players and their coaches to Ryan Seacrest’s interview with gymnast Danell Leyva and his proud father, showcasing their lovey-dovey relationship full of hugs, ear tweaks and emphatic clapping–viewers are getting a deeper glimpse into the daily lives of athletes.  This I think helps us connect with them and root for them on a more personal level–we know what they had to do to get there and we know what’s at stake.

Danell and his dad–so much love!

Heart-warming, yes.  But my point here  (and Tide’s as well) is that as talented as these athletes are, they couldn’t get where they are today without the support of a team to see them through along the way.  Similarly, in the less glamorous world of personal finance, we can all set goals to follow a budget, get out of debt or learn more about the markets–but it gets tough, lonely (and let’s face it–pretty boring) to do all of this alone.

In many instances, personal finance can be solitary–because it is mostly private information, but also because maybe we’re afraid to reveal that we have made some poor money decisions along the way.  But the more we toil over our finances privately, the more likely any of the following can happen: creating and keeping a budget becomes a chore; instead of tackling our monthly bills or looking into retirement options like we know we should, we procrastinate and things begin to slip through the cracks; we figure if managing our finances is so dull and sometimes stressful, why bother learning about the markets or the  economy-unless we absolutely have to?  And when we finally do reach a goal like paying off a credit card, converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth, opening an E Trade account–how do we celebrate these accomplishments?  Or do they merely go unnoticed?

So while we may manage to do the basics–keep up with bills, save a little, be more mindful of spending– we don’t become the powerful, confident athletes of personal finance that we really can be.

That Tide commercial gets me every time!

That’s where a support group comes in.  Now I’m not talking therapy, people holding hands while confessing to a 21% APR interest rate credit card or announcing a 375 credit score, while sipping watered down decaf.  Support can be a partner, a best friend, a sis or brother–someone who can support you without judgement but can also offer a big dose of reality when you need it.  Support can also come in the form of a class on budgeting, investing, retirement bootcamp; or joining an investment club or meetup group that focuses on personal finance topics.

It’s amazing what happens when people get together and talk about their finances.  During recent Money Moxie workshops, we’ve had several women confess to bad spending habits in the past only to be heartened when fellow attendees admit to their past mistakes and share their comeback stories.  Another attendee was so inspired by the financial workshop that she went home, locked the door, turned on her favorite tunes and spent the weekend reorganizing her taxes.  At the Summer Salons, most attendees have spent at least 30-60 minutes reading up on the topic of the day (health care, impending tax increases, financial reform)–that’s 30 minutes they DIDN’T spend watching the Kardashians!

There are some great websites that offer online classes, articles and advice that can help get us up to speed–check out  Or for daily emails and newsletters on saving, budgeting and investing.  But more important is to get face-time in with your support peeps–whether it’s having a monthly breakfast with a friend to discuss finances; any of the meetups or investing clubs; or starting a group of your own with friends.

Maybe a budgeting buddy is not the same as having Mrs. Phelps wake up and drive you to swim practice every morning, but that kind of support can get you further, faster and smarter than doing it all alone.

Money Moxie presents: Summer ‘Salon’ Series


Back in the day, the intellectual elite would gather in the salon of a friend, sip sherry from a snifter, and debate the most current political, economic and literary topics.

These days, we look for 2-for-1 happy hour deals, scarf down nachos and discuss the Kardashians.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Join Money Moxie and several of your brightest friends at a Summer Salon—a ‘smart happy hour’ for people who want more than just a drink and a chat.  Come weigh in on important topics and meet some cool peeps.

The concept is simple: during each session, we cover a particular topic –like health care, financial reform, the federal debt or the European crisis.  Lena Rizkallah, founder of Money Moxie, an attorney and a professional speaker & writer for the financial industry, will first provide a synopsis of each topic and pose questions to the group. Then, she’ll moderate the session while attendees weigh in on the topic of the day.  Others not making a point will be sipping on beer, contemplating their own opinions.  But not thinking about the Kardashians.

If you sign up for a Salon, you’ll be assigned three blogs, articles or commentary on the topic, which should to be read prior to the Salon.  This way, everyone arrives at the Salon ready to discuss (and drink).

$25 and includes beer/wine/snacks.  Summer Salons will be held at Gotham Glow Salon at 1123 Broadway corner of 25th Street in the Flatiron District. 7-9pm.  Topics below:

Check it but don’t wreck it

Summer Salon Sessions:

Monday July 23  “The Affordable Care Act: What’s in it, what’s the significance of the Supreme Court opinion and how will it affect me?”

Monday July 30  “From Wall Street to Main Street to Occupy Wall Street; Do banks and financial institutions need more regulation and what will it mean for me?”

Monday August 6: “Breaking Down the US Deficit Problem; How does the government spend our money and how should they fix the deficit?”

Monday August 20  “Crises Around the Globe: How the US recession, the European crisis and the Arab spring impact the global economy.”

These sessions are designed for informational purposes only and are not intended to promote any political or economic belief. Materials and commentary provided by Lena Rizkallah and Money Moxie are for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for financial, legal or tax advice.

Your Mid-Year Check-Up

I hate to break it to everyone but 2012 is already half over.  Yup, we are six months into the “new year” and it ain’t so new anymore, is it?  What happened to all those bright and shiny resolutions we all made back in 2011?

Happy New Year!

Ummmm…what resolutions?

If you’re like me, you probably vowed to “get healthy in 2012.”  From January 2 until about the morning of January 21st, I was pretty diligent about hitting the gym.  Then I bought a Groupon for unlimited yoga at a second-rate yoga studio, went to class and got annoyed that the teacher kept admonishing everyone to “speak your truth.” I almost walked out of class when everyone around me responded with “compassion,” “bliss,” “surrender” and other sorts of ridiculousness–and of course never went back for more unlimited yoga. This summer I vowed to “get healthy” by running or biking but if I wake up and the temperature is over 70 degrees outside, I worry that I might get heat stroke.  So…sometimes I do sit-ups while watching “Fashion Police.”

My brother was a pro at making healthy resolutions.  He has since lost weight but for a while his version of “going to the gym and getting healthy” was to sign up for the most expensive gym package, head to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy the entire line of Under Armour in all colors, including baseball hat, sneaks and water bottle, head back to the gym, take in a steam, get a massage, and then pick up a protein shake on his way out.

Gym rat

Later, over steak at Ruth’s Chris, he would complain about a stiff muscle or whatever from his workout.

Many of us make resolutions to eat healthy too.  After drinks, dessert and all kinds of decadence in December, many of my friends declare January their “detox month.”  No booze, red meat, carbs, sugar or fun for thirty days.  While I am not delusional enough to think I could stick to this type of plan, many of my friends actually make it through!  (Mind you, they are pretty grouchy all month!)  But come February, they are back to their boozy, steak-eating ways.  My question: if you’re not going to change any of your habits–just put them on hold for a month–why punish yourself like that?  Drinking those 16 martinis in February will surely undo any benefits you might have received from abstaining in January.

Killing 2 birds with 1 stone?

And, since this is a money blog, let’s talk money resolutions.  How many of us vow to save more money, take control of our finances, pay off credit cards or put more into retirement?  Where are we with our money goals by July?  Sure, the economy has been tough and despite what they say about positive growth and employment, people are still getting laid-off, trying to make ends meet and struggling with debt. But there are things we can still control about our finances–like setting savings goals, setting and sticking to a budget or putting $50 a month into an IRA.

A friend of mine has a different money problem–she makes a good amount of money, even gets a bonus.  But she doesn’t take the time to learn about investing.  Instead, she gives her bonus money to her brother to invest.  So while she may have an investment portfolio that’s diversified and growing in the market, she has no idea how it’s getting that way, doesn’t know what company stocks she owns, isn’t sure how the portfolio performed last year or how much of the fund is going to fees.  Learning about investing could seem like a big mountain to climb, but it’s YOUR mountain.  Climb it!

Do you know who’s managing your money? Hopefully not this guy…

Since we’re smack-dab in the middle of 2012, now is a good time to review our goals, reset them and recharge how we want the rest of the year to go.  Join me and Joanne Romanelli, a board certfiied Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach for a mid-year break– MIND-BODY-SPRIIT SUMMER RECHARGE on Sunday July 15.

Treat yourself to a summer retreat–spend the morning with us and then head to the beach afterwards! During our session, we’ll talk

– How to break free from cravings, increase energy and make healthy food choices

– How to deal with stress (and even learn some helpful  breathing exercises) on a physical and spiritual level

– How to set money goals and deal with finances in a funky economy

– Even learn some cool yoga poses and belly dancing moves!

For more information and to register, check out the invite.  Do it for yourself–and make the next six months count!  And tell your friends!

Mingle in Raleigh

It was great to meet all the ladies who attended the Money Moxie Mingle in Raleigh on April 10.  Even though it was a Tuesday night and we were talking about personal finance, somehow it turned into a lively event!  Maybe the Trader Joe’s snacks and wine helped to take the edge off–but the ladies were open and interested, questions were flying, people shared their experiences and best practices, and I think we all left just a bit more enlightened.

Based on the interest, we’ll definitely be back in Raleigh with Money Moxie workshops very soon!

Sharing personal finance stories

Plus, we got to play the first ever round of “Bizz Buzz Road Trip” a travel game that also tests your knowledge of financial concepts.  We broke into 3 teams and each team chose a “road trip”–and answered questions to get to their final destination.  The winning team received prizes and coupons furnished by the Empire Group–the company that owns some of the best restaurants in Raleigh!

Some of the topics in Bizz Buzz--official game board coming soon! In the meantime, we love Staples!

Working the room

Thanks again to Jen Bush and my bro Lou Rizkallah for rounding up a great group of ladies, for the awesome space and emergency wine:)  Hope to see you all soon down in North Kakalaki!

The winning team--and their California road trip! Congrats ladies!

Investing Your Gs; 4 Weeks To Becoming Financially Focused And Taking Action!

Want to know what the heck Jim Cramer is hollering about on CNBC?  Or who in tarnation he is?
– Want to learn how high unemployment in Spain may affect you…
– Get your questions answered before you invest in gold bars and Apple stock…
– Become acquainted with Dealbook, WSJ, Mohamed El-Erian, Ben Bernanke and other sources of financial info…
– Are you ready to invest on your own or with an advisor–use Morningstar, Yahoo Finance and other sources– and want to get this party started?

Jim Cramer from "Mad Money"

Knowledge is power in personal finance.  But understanding finance and investing can be a scary uphill battle if you’re trying to learn on your own.  Money Moxie provides small interactive workshops that take the fear out of finance.  We aim to educate and empower women, small business owners, artists and freelancers to make thoughtful, informed decisions about building solid financial futures.

“Investing Your G’s” is a four-part series on understanding the market and investments held every Monday at 7 pm beginning on Monday April 16 until Monday May 7.  In this series, you will learn:

Investing Buzzwords

Public vs. private companies

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds & the rest of the gang

Setting investment goals

Asset allocation and diversification

Fees, transaction costs and other investment charges

How to find a financial advisor or planner

Online investing

Learn how to be money savvy, like this lady!

Sign up for this course if you want to:

– Learn about finances and investing in a casual interactive environment

– Gain the tools to start investing on your own

– Be goal-oriented and better informed at meetings with your financial advisor or planner

– Set financial goals and create a path to reach them.

What are past participants saying about Money Moxie workshops?

“Ms. R is a very knowledgeable and warm presenter.  She makes learning about finances easy, fun and totally non-stressed.”

“Took a workshop with Lena Rizkallah and Money Moxie and am feeling quite empowered even in my poverty ;). Check it out- articulate and entertaining financial insight.”

“I cannot express enough how important this class has been for me! It just got me to be more aware about my financial situation and explained to me topics that were until now completely foreign to me.”

Each session will feature games–that’s right, GAMES!!–class lecture & exercises and Q & A.

The goal is to demystify investing, make it more accessible so that participants have a clear idea of how to set goals and take action!

Class size is limited so please reserve your spot ASAP!  And tell a friend! Sign up here:

**** If you can’t make the Monday night sessions, contact Lena to be added to a list for a possible Tuesday night series.

Stop Stressing and Start Saving!

No guts, no glory!

Do you lose sleep stressing about how you’ll pay your bills at the end of the month?  Are you sick of eating canned tuna and microwave popcorn for dinner?

Or have you established a budgeting system but want to maximize savings and start putting money away for the yacht, penthouse apartment and hair extensions?  Read on…

Money Moxey is a series of interactive workshops focused on personal finance & investing.  Through my workshops, you’ll learn valuable information on personal money management.  You get the basics, set goals and take control!

Most important, Money Moxey workshops are conducted in a casual, relaxed environment. Most are held in my living room, a glass of wine or bowl of turkey chili may be involved, and all sessions are moderated by my Boston Terrier Luella.

Just in time for the New Year, this month, Money Moxey is holding several intensive workshops. What are the most common New Years Resolutions that people make??

– Lose weight

– Be a better person

– Save more/make more/get out of debt **********

Guess what?  You can get started on achieving 1 of those 3 resolutions now.  Check out these upcoming one-day Money Moxey workshops:

Tuesday January 17 6:30-9:30 pm

Saturday January 21 from 10:00 am-1 pm

All workshops held at my apartment in Chelsea Heights 🙂

The workshop will focus on 3 B’s, a C and a D (basically my 8th grade report card) and session topics include:

BANK basics; setting a BUDGET & credit card BILL respect; the importance of CREDIT and how to make it stellar; and managing and eliminating DEBT….

This is a great way to get your head in the right place to start the new year off right–setting and sticking to a budget, understanding your variable and fixed expenses, using the right credit card or cash at point of sale, and staying in control of your personal finances instead of the other way around.  No matter what your financial situation, this course can empower you to take the right steps towards a solid financial future.

-$50 including class materials and refreshments.

In addition, I have a 4-session intensive workshop for those who wish to make goals and need support and accountability to put them into action.

My 4-Session Money Moxey Workshop,

beginning Wednesday, January 25 thru Wednesday February 22, will help you set realistic, attainable financial goals for yourself and will help you create the right process to reach your goals.  These sessions are my alternative to one-on-one sessions–we use class time to learn the basics AND do some practical exercises in class and outside of class put learning into action!

During the 4 sessions, you will learn:

– BUDGETING: How to set and follow a realistic budget; the tools you need to set a budget, know your fixed vs. variable expenses, and learn how to budget towards your financial goals.  Outside of class you will be putting together and learning how to follow a personalized budget.

– CREDIT CARDS: Demystifying credit cards, the varying rates, small print and legal mumbo-jumbo we should know, and smart tips for using credit cards so you control your bills and not the other way around!  Outside of class you will be taking action steps to reduce your interest rates and learn and follow best practices.

– DEBT: Dealing with debt from credit cards, loans, mortgage debt, revolving credit and other bills.  We’ll talk tips for reducing and eliminating debt once and for all–and how to deal with debt consolidators.  Who’s a scammer and who can really help?  Outside of class you will be taking steps to manage & pay down debt, talk to creditors and when necessary seek 3rd party help.

– YOUR CREDIT SCORE: Review your credit reports, fix the problems and know your number, with a focus on what’s in your score and how to keep it stellar.  Outside of class, you will be actively working towards a higher credit score.

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About Lena Rizkallah