Setting your children up for success

My two little investors

Here are my two littlest investors and I am going to share how I am setting them up for success. First and foremost I am not a financial advisor and by no means an expert but I am sharing what I know and have learned in my investing journey.

I first learned about 529’s at a young age when my father started putting my Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) in my own account. He was also gracious and put half of his PFD in my 529. A 529 is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed for future educational expenses. The only downside to a 529 is that the funds can only be used for educational purposes. It may not work in your favor if your child does not have plans on attending college, or a vocational school. I am not planning on investing huge amounts into each of my children’s accounts. With each of their PFD’s half of the funds will go into their accounts and the other half will be invested in their UTMA which is a Uniform Transfers to Minor Act.

My children who are 4 years old and 6 months old each have an account for their 529’s with Alaska 529 which is associated with T.Rowe Price. There are many other websites that offer 529 plans make sure you do your research. I chose Alaska 529 because my children’s PFD’s can be deposited directly into their accounts.

Now I chose to open UTMA accounts for my children because I can invest in Mutual Funds, ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and individual stocks. With a UTMA I am able to invest as little or as much as I prefer up to $13,000 per year per child. I chose Vanguard to open their UTMA’s because I have been a Vanguard investor for the last 10+ years and I like how their website is user-friendly also their funds have low expense ratio’s.

Creating an account on Vanguard is fast and easy. Once you decide which account you want to open with them then it takes a couple days for the funds to hit the account. Once you see the funds in the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund the key is moving those into a mutual fund, index fund, or individual stock. You do not want those funds to sit in the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund because they will not start accruing that compound interest.

When it came to selecting funds for my children my go to tickers have always been VOO (Vanguard S&P 500 ETF), VTI (Vanguard Total Stock) and VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares). The key to choosing funds is selecting ones that have a low expense ratio. I prefer funds that have an expense ratio of 0.10% or less any more than that you are losing out on free money.

If all this is another language to you and confusing I recommend checking out Personal Finance Club’s website Jeremy does an amazing job of explaining all of this in simpler terms. At the beginning of the year I knew that I wanted to learn more about investing and the stock market. I went head first and started watching hours of YouTube videos, researching the web and then started stumbling across great finance accounts on Instagram. If I can start, you can do it! Sure, it can be scary at first but the scarier thing is not starting. If you have funds sitting in a bank account and you are not sure what do with it I suggest you start researching investing. And if you are scared to put it into the stock market look into HYSA (High Yield Savings Accounts) at least allow your money to work for you.

My goal for my children is to set them up for success and allow them to have that financial freedom that I am working hard to create for myself. I am working on that generational wealth. Money should not be a topic that is taboo it should be something that we discuss with our children at a young age. I know that when my daughter is old enough I will allow her to choose her own stock to invest in for her birthday present. For now mama will invest in one stock for her each year and right now mama is liking AAPL (Apple).

And if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out I am willing to share what I know to help others. I hope that this post was helpful and if you enjoyed it please feel free to leave me a comment. Quyana Chuck Norris!

Boundaries

Boundaries are something that I still struggle with to this day. The month of April was a difficult one because it is always a reminder of how long it has been since I spoke to my mom.

The morning Sydney was born after being in labor for 29 hours, pushing for an hour and a half, and sleeping for a few hours I had a difficult conversation with my mother. That was over four years ago. In that moment and the moments leading up to having Sydney I knew I was only going to allow healthy people in my life and my family’s lives. In that conversation I made it very clear what I expected of her and what I needed from her in order for her to be allowed back into our lives.

I needed a healthy mom. A healthy grandmother. A healthy mother in law. Those were the boundaries that I set in place. I need to be healthy for my children, my family but mostly for myself. Toxic is toxic family or not. In the times when she tries to reach out to me or send me things it is a trigger for me. It is triggering because she clearly ignores my boundaries and yet still tries to send things. I don’t want things they mean nothing to me I want a healthy mom. And I just wish she would respect my wishes. Things mean nothing to me if she is not healthy.

I was around 12 or 13 years old when I was called a c-u-n-t. In high school I was told to go spread my legs and have men f*** me. And I was called and told so much more that I will not dare to share. When I set my boundaries in place please know that I am doing it because I am protecting myself. Before saying “she’s your mother,” and “you only have one of her,” maybe try to understand where I am coming from. The years of damage and trauma have taken a toll on my mental health and there were times when I thought I was those names that she would scream at me. I had been called those names so many times over the course of my life I started to believe her and I thought I was a wh*** or a b****.

I share these things not to shame my mother but to give a small glimpse of my life. My boundaries are mine to set and I am more than willing to share why I have them in place. I have worked really hard to get to the place where I am today.My happy memories of my mother are far and few but I do remember in those sober times she was hilarious, caring, vibrant, and beautiful. I know I will never get that version of her but I do hope someday I get a healthy and happy mom. I am thankful for my life the good and the bad. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have those deep, dark moments where I was able to find strength to keep going. And again please know this post is not to shame my mother but I want to share what I struggle with everyday❤️

I struggled for many years with boundaries and holding true to them. It got to a point when I just couldn’t handle the emotional trauma and I knew I needed to do something before I lost it. I am so thankful that I was strong enough to set those boundaries in place and hold them. My children are my motivation to be the best version of myself and I want to be happy and healthy.

My Financial Independence Journey

Waqaa & Hello!

I am going to highlight each of these slides and how I began my financial journey. First and foremost I am not a financial advisor, this is not financial advice. I am merely sharing what I have learned on my journey since getting my finances in order. In the early 2010’s I opened a Roth IRA with Vanguard. I set up automatic monthly investment to my Roth IRA for a few years. And then life got in the way and I was not able to contribute and stopped. This January 2021 I got serious about my finances and investments and went down the rabbit hole of investing, cryptocurrencies, various side hustles, and learning everything anything money.

In January I opened up my Vanguard account and familiarized myself with my Roth IRA again. My funds had been allocated in mutual funds that had HIGH expense ratios. I moved my funds to ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and mutual funds with low expense ratios such as the S&P 500, Total Stock Market Index, and Total Stock Market International. The specific funds that I invest in are VOO, VTI, VFIAX, VTIAX, and VTSAX. Again these are my personal investments and this is not financial advice. The maximum amount that you can contribute to a Roth IRA is $6,000 per year. The deadline to contribute is when taxes are due which is typically April 15th. Make sure when you contribute to your Roth IRA, brokerage account or rollover IRA that you move the funds from the Federal Money Market and invest it in a specific ETF (exchange traded funds), mutual fund, or individual stock. Do not forget to do this step otherwise your money will not work for you.

Along with ETF’s and mutual funds I also invest in individual stocks. The stocks that I invest in are things that I use everyday such as my Apple, Disney, Etsy, and other things that I use on the daily. I also have researched and invested in other various stocks that could potentially become beneficial down the road. Those specific stocks are in the renewable energy sector and other areas. I spend at least 30 minutes everyday and try and learn about something new with regards to investing, the stock market, cryptocurrencies, and anything and everything related to investing!

With my Employer Retirement Account when I initially opened it I apparently opted to have a financial company allocate my funds. I was scared for the longest time to move it around because I wasn’t sure what to do or what funds to pick out. And honestly I thought it would be complicated to do. I finally found the courage and time and opted out of that service and allocated a majority of it into an S&P 500. The other smaller portion I invested into an International Equity and World Equity fund. I also contribute the maximum amount that my employer will match.

After maxing out my Roth IRA for 2020 and 2021 I opened up a brokerage account. I will not do justice by trying to describe a brokerage so I am sharing a link to Personal Finance Club’s blogpost created by Jeremy. Click HERE to get to the post regarding what a brokerage account is. In my brokerage account I invest in VOO, VTI, VFIAX. I also invest in other individual stocks and ETF’s.

I also rolled over two of my old employer retirement accounts from when I worked at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation. I had around $100K that I rolled into a Vanguard Rollover IRA. Back story I worked at YKHC for over 10 years and I don’t remember when I started my retirement account with them but I am thankful that I did. I just recently rolled over the $100K to my Vanguard and just finished allocating it today. I had a little more fun with a small portion of it and invested it in some risky stocks. I also have one more old employer retirement account that I need to rollover. Once I roll it over to my rollover IRA I will look into a Backdoor Roth IRA and see if I can do that. Again I will not try and explain what a Backdoor Roth IRA but click HERE. Jeremy from Personal Finance Club does an excellent job explaining what it is.

I work full-time as a School Nurse. I had two part time jobs at one point as a Contact Tracer. I have my small business Sew Yup’ik. I teach classes via Zoom and in-person. And I try to find any and every single side hustle there is out there. I am currently in the process of going down the rabbit hole and researching Turo a car sharing company. I am also looking into ways that I can monetize my Sew Yup’ik Youtube channel, and my Sew Yup’ik Instagram page. Like I said I love to learn anything and everything if it helps me to become financially independent.

I would not have gotten serious about my finances, budgeting and daily tracking if it was not for stumbling across The Budget Mom’s Instagram page. I started following The Budget Mom in 2019 and got serious about daily tracking my finances and budgeting. When I started following her I had $81K in debt with my student loans and car loan. I started tracking my daily finances. I created monthly budgets. Challenged myself to no spend days. And threw whatever I could to my student loans, and car loan. I was able to pay $71K of my loans and still have $10K left of student loans. I could be paying it off but instead I am choosing to invest that. I am also secretly hoping President Biden will cancel some student debt haha but I won’t hold my breath. My goal is to reach Coast FI meaning that I want to invest enough money so that it can work for me and I will not have to invest another penny down the road. Again I wont explain it but check out this blogpost from Personal Finance Club on what Coast FI means.

All of this information is what I have done for my financial journey. I will continue to educate myself and keep going. My ultimate goal is to work when I feel like it and set my own schedule. I hope that this information is helpful. If you have any questions comment below. If you are not following me on IG or FB head over to my Sew Yup’ik pages I share a lot of my information on those platforms. And again my motto as always is don’t buy dumb sh**.

Please let me know if you would be interested in a post regarding my children’s accounts.

Quyana Cakneq!

Just go for it

I am going for it. I am applying for a Family Nurse Practitioner Program. When I finished nursing school in December of 2018 I was convinced that I needed that I needed to have an actual real nursing job before I applied to a Nurse Practitioner program. It has always been a dream of mine to be a Emergency Medicine Nurse Practitioner and return back to the YK Delta and work in the sub-regional clinics to provide care to the Yup’ik communities. Growing up in chaos has always had me preparing and overly preparing for the next step. It doesnt matter if I am driving, preparing for a test, anything I am always going over in my head what road I will take, when I will turn left, what lane I will be driving in, and when I will turn my blinker on. I have always prepared myself for my next move no matter what. When I would have surprises occur in my life I would panic and freak out. My body would go into a fight or flight reaction and I would always fight because that is what my body was used to. When a crazy event would happen in my life growing up I would always fight and as an adult that would be my first reaction. So applying to FNP school after completing my BSN was not in my head.

This was taken after completing my BSN. I did not walk during graduation but instead snapped this to celebrate my completion of the program.

I always felt that I needed to have actual “real nursing” experience. And what I mean by nursing experience is inserting IV’s, foley catheters, assisting in codes, and all that hands on experience that I do not get on a day to day basis as a school nurse. After completing my BSN I thought that I wasnt smart enough. I didnt have the experience because I was only a school nurse and I felt that I needed that hands on before applying. However, as a school nurse I am getting that nursing experience just in a different way. I was not confident in my skills as nurse and I always felt that I needed “real” experience. I now realize that I am good enough. I have the experience. I can do it. And I will do it. I do not need to have worked on a Med-Surg Unit to apply to FNP. I do not need to have that hands on experience before applying because I will learn it while in school and through my clinicals. And I do have the experience I just dont have it as a nurse.

This was after completing my AAS in Nursing in December 2018. I started my program 6 months pregnant and graduated when she was 18 months old.

My love for the Emergency Room started in February in 2008 when I was hired on as an Emergency Room Technician. I loved it. I loved every aspect of the ER and I felt so comfortable. And that comfort was because of my childhood and growing up in chaos I craved chaotic environments. I strived in that environment and it felt like home. And in that time working in the ER I was accepted into nursing school the first time. But that first round of nursing school did not work in my favor. I was young, arrogant, and felt I knew better than the instructor and I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. Thankfully, I was failed out of the program due to personality conflicts between myself and the instructor after the first semester. Looking back I was creating chaos for myself and instead of keeping my mouth shut I chose to argue back. It was a hard lesson for me to swallow but I am thankful that it happened. I have learned from it and I can say that I am thankful for that experience. I worked in the ER for almost 3 1/2 years and had plenty of hand on experience with assisting the nurses and providers. But because I wasnt a nurse during that time I always felt that experience wasn’t “good enough.” I know now that it is good enough. And I am good enough. I am confident in my skills, and I know that along the way I will learn those skills I need in school, clinicals and on the job.

My daughter Syd was a huge motivation to finish school and continue on my journey.

I felt a strong urge and incline to share my thoughts because if you are wanting to do something in your life and you are afraid to do it, DO IT!

Have the confidence in yourself to know that you can do it. Take the leap. Make that call. Apply for that program, job whatever it is. You are good enough. I am taking my own advice and taking that leap. Its scary. Really scary but I am comfortable and feeling confident in myself.

I have all the support in the world and I am so thankful for that. My husband has been my rock through everything. He was by my side when I was failed out of the nursing program the first time. He has watched me change jobs because I was never happy. He has always had my back and has been supportive no matter what. I am so thankful to have my best friend by my side pushing me to follow my dreams. Thanks boo.

And here is my husband who was supportive through everything and still is to this day.

I am excited and scared for this next chapter.

But I am ready. And I am confident in myself and I believe in myself. And I can do it!

Ways to support a small business

There are many ways you can support a small business without actually buying anything. Here are some of the ways you can support a small business that are free.

Share a Post

Like a Post

Repost

Comment

Tag a friend

Give a shout out

Encourage them

Leave a review

Engage with their posts

As a small business owner I do not have any employees but myself. Sometimes my almost 4 year old daughter Syd loves to help me, and my 3 month old often sleeps on the job. So any like, share, post or anything helps me and it is much appreciated.

Quyana cakneq!

Modern Qaspeq Tutorial

I finally created a modern qaspeq tutorial. I did my best with what I had. My sewing room might have been too sunny and I could have prepped better for the tutorial but I had the time and wanted to create a video to share with you.

I am the worst with technology and it took me two days to figure out how to work iMovie and paste clips together but I finally got it.

When I make modern qaspeqs I typically use:

2 yards 100% cotton fabric

1 yard of knit rayon spandex

The knit that I like to use is from Joann’s is a 4 way stretch and I will include the link:

https://www.joann.com/sew-classics-spandex-knits/1285451.html

As well as a shop called Made of Love I will include the link for the rayon/spandex knit that I like to purchase:

https://madeofloveshop.com/product-category/fabric-type/rayon-spandex/

1 package of extra wide double fold bias

& 1 package of ric rac, piping, or single fold bias for the trimming

Like I said this video might not as easy to follow if you have not taken my class before but if you have any questions or are stumped with what to do you can always email me at sewyupik@gmail.com or send me a message on Facebook.

Good luck and if you are able to whip out a modern qaspeq with the help of these instructions please post a photo on my Sew Yup’ik Facebook page or tag me on your instgram post @sewyupik

Quyana chuck norris (cakneq)!

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Make up Bag Tutorial

For awhile I have had my previous students tell me to make a tutorial for the make up bag that I teach in class and I finally got around to it 🙂 So here it is. And dont be afraid to sew with a zipper they are not as scary as they look.

Gather your supplies. You will need:

-Fabric of your choice for the outside

-Fabric for the liner

-16″ zipper (I prefer to use longer zippers because it is easier to work with)

-Pellon Fusible Fleece 987F

-Coordinating thread

And then of course sewing machine, iron, scissors, and sewing pins.

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Step One:

Cut the fabric to the bag size of your choice. For this bag the finished product is 10 1/2″ wide by 9 1/2″ height. There are bag patterns all out there on the interweb that you could find a pattern if you are not sure about making your own.

– Cut the outside fabric (llama fabric) to 11 1/4″ width by 10″ height

– Cut the liner fabric just a tad bit bigger 11 1/2″ width by 10 1/2″ height

And heres why I cut my liner bigger. I dont like pinning so I make my liner just a little bit bigger because I dont have to pin while I am assembling it together. But, for this tutorial I will use pins to show you.

-Cut your pellon fusible fleece to the outside fabric dimensions

Step Two:

-Iron the fusible fleece to the outside fabric. Make sure that you iron the fabric to the textured part of the fleece. If you buy it from the Joann’s it will also have directions with it.

Step Three:

-After you ironed the fusible to the outside fabric you will sew the zipper on the outside fabric like the picture below.

-As you can see I dont use a zipper foot. If you want you can use it, it is up to you. I will sew a straight line between the zipper and the edge. I dont have an exact measure but I just tell my students sew right in the middle.

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Step Four:

-Sew your liner to the outside fabric (make sure right sides are facing each other). And sew down that same line just like the pictures below.

Step Five:

-Now you flip the fabric and then top stitch and make sure that you are sewing over the outside fabric and liner like the pictures below.

Step Six:

-You will now sew the other outside fabric piece to the zipper. Make sure that right sides (of the outside fabric) are facing together when you sew the zipper on like the pictures below.

And as I am writing this my panik (daughter) just peed on the floor. I am trying to potty train so I have been putting her in underwear and she has not caught onto it. Shes 22 months old and I guess still not ready to potty train anyways where was I.

Step Seven:

-After you sew the zipper the other outside fabric you will now sew your liner down that same line just like we did in step three. Make sure that right sides are facing each other just like below and then sew down that same line.

Step Eight:

-You will now flip your fabric out and top stitch just like the pictures below.

Step Nine:

-You will now sew it all together right sides facing each other leaving an opening at the bottom of your liner so that you can turn your bag inside out. Make sure you leave an opening so that you can turn it right side out. Also make sure that your zipper is on the inside of your bag when you sew it shut. If your sewing machine has a difficult time sewing over the zipper you can always hand crank your machine over the zipper. If you wanted to add a handle you can add one on either side and make sure that is on the inside of your bag. See pictures below.

As you can see I used pins to show you where you can pin if you want to. I generally just sew all the way around without pins. I put pins at the bottom of the liner so show you where to leave the opening. And like I said just make sure that your zipper is on the inside of your bag before you sew it all the way around. I usually leave mine in the middle of the bag because if you leave it to close to the edges it can make turning the bag inside out just a tad bit difficult.

Step Ten:

-Sew all around make sure you dont sew over the pins. I sew over them only cause I like to live on the edge, jk I have glasses and if one of the pins shattered I have eye shields just in case. I use the edge of the sewing foot as my guide when sewing around. I start sewing on my liner fabric on one side of the pins and sew all around. Dont cut your zipper ends yet until you sew all around.

Step Eleven:

-Trim your zipper ends. Trim the excess fabric from your liner fabric. And then cut the four corners so that when you turn your bag right side out they will be nice and neat. See pictures below.

Step Twelve:

-Turn your bag right side out. Poke the corners out I use my finger but you can use a chopstick or pen. And now you will sew the opening shut, I use my sewing machine but you can hand stitch if you prefer.

Step Thirteen:

-Admire your work and reward yourself with a cup of really good kuuviaq (coffee).

And yes this bag is looking for a new home if you are interested send me a message sewyupik@gmail.com to claim it!

If you make this bag and have issues or the instructions arent clear enough or too much information send me a message or comment below! I try to make it as easy as simple as possible without the fancy sewing lingo. Or if you want a tutorial for something else let me know and I can see what I can do!

Good luck and tag me in your finished product Sew Yup’ik on facebook or instagram! I would love to see what you make!

Quyana cakneq!

Homer Qaspeq Class

Homer Qaspeq Class was a huge success! I had 9 gals taking my class and over the sewathon weekend 15 qaspeqs were made 🙂

I had a quick turn around from my Bethel trip I had one day to recoup, wash laundry, repack my bags and hit the road for Homer. Mac and I had a wonderful weekend in Homer with Christina and the beautiful weather.

Quyana Homer Campus for hosting me to teach a qaspeq classes. I am finally resting in Arizona in the hot, hot sun. And I will be back on the road shortly to Kotzebue, Seldovia in November and Ketchikan, Bethel and possibly Wasilla in December. And January I will be Bethel bound for the Nursing program 🙂 I look forward to this next chapter in my life and cant wait to zoom thru the next couple years of the Associates program and I can continue on with the bridge program.

I will be posting more photos of my past classes 🙂 Stay Tuned!

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Patricia’s beautiful traditional qaspeq 

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Emily’s beautiful modern qaspeq 

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Emily’s beautiful modern qaspeq with some twists 

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Leesa’s beautiful traditional qaspeq 

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Therese’s beautiful traditional qaspeq with some twists 

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Christina’s beautiful modern qaspeq 

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Linda’s beautiful traditional qaspeq 

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Christina’s beautiful modern qaspeq 

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Christina’s beautiful modern qaspeq 

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Christina’s beautiful modern qaspeq

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Emily’s beautiful traditional qaspeq with accent pocket, hood, and cuffs 

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Therese’s beautiful fish bag 🙂 

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Risa’s beautiful traditional qaspeq