Former editor helps women gain financial literacy



Julia Anderson has spent her life absorbing financial trends, first as the daughter of a farmer in Idaho and later in a career as a journalist.

If she’s learned one thing about investing, it’s this: It’s not as difficult as a lot of people – including well-paid financial advisers – claim. She believes that women have a particularly critical interest in developing an investment strategy.

“I am passionate about women and financial literacy,” Anderson said. “Most of what I learned was mistakes.”

She wants to share this hard-earned wisdom with other women. For most of her 26 years at The Columbian, she was an editor, so she was already very up to date with economics. But the end of a 17-year-old marriage at the age of 60 plunged her into a “heart-wrenching emotional and financial transition,” as she put it, which prompted her to start a blog at

She continued this blog, even though, as she likes to say, she is not 60 or single anymore. Now 74, she remarried in 2010.

From her blog, she embarked on other ways to educate women about money – seminars, a 2018 self-published book “Smart Women, Smart Money, Smart Life” (available for 16 , $ 99 on his blog) and his “Smart Money” program on TVCTV, a community television station in Beaverton, Oregon. It covers topics like divorced, marriage, social security, inflation, car purchase and financial planning.

Interest you

Although Anderson was a pioneer in her career – she was the first woman to head the local Columbian news office – she said she “was not a feminist or a fanatic.”

“I wanted to have a career and be in charge of my own life,” she said.

She said it’s important for women to take control of their retirement plans, as most will eventually find themselves on their own, whether through divorce or the death of a spouse.

“Half of women over 65 are single,” she said. “Men don’t live that long.”

Women are more likely to end up in poverty as they age, she said. They need more money for retirement than men because they live longer, yet they earn less over the course of their lives. The gender pay gap becomes a retirement wealth gap, according to a study by the National Institute on retirement security.

“You have to be interested not only in saving, but also in investing,” Anderson said. “Women manage the household budget. The retirement they leave to their spouses.

According to her, women fall into three categories: those who are confident in investing; those who are interested but uncertain seek outside advisers; and those who are not at all interested.

During her workshops, when she shares her message: investing is easy, she often meets negative reactions.

“I get a lot of emotional reactions from women who don’t agree with this. Some are angry, ”she said. “No one has ever told me that investing is complicated. My mom did. She was a farmer. She was a very successful investor.

She described her late mother, Helen Rose, as a “type of steel magnolia – small, smart, with only a high school diploma” who nonetheless built an exceptional portfolio.

Her mother, who died at the age of 98, invested in businesses she knew and loved, such as McDonald’s, whose burgers she loved. And she didn’t panic when the markets fell.

“It was one of mom’s favorite sayings, ‘Oh it will come back,’” Anderson said.

She attributes her trust to the example set by her mother, as well as her childhood on a family farm in Idaho. Anderson’s 4-H Beef Projects paid for his tuition at the University of Idaho. A tribute to that time in his life, a branding iron is mounted on a wall of his house on 20 acres between Woodland and Amboy in rural Clark County.

Start early

In college, Anderson majored in education. For a time, she was one of two white teachers at an all-black high school in Atlanta, where she taught seventh grade social studies and journalism. She also started the school’s student newspaper.

She discovered that she preferred journalism to teaching, so she changed careers. She joined the staff of the Tri-City Herald in 1979 and moved to the Columbian in 1983. Along the way, she raised two sons.

When Anderson retired in 2010, she eagerly moved her 401 (k) into a self-directed brokerage account. She invested half in an S&P 500 index fund, a low-cost mutual fund whose shares are evenly distributed among the 500 large-cap US companies in the market. Along with the other half, she selected a portfolio of blue chip stocks (i.e. well established, financially sound companies) that pay 2-3% dividends, which she reinvests. She recommends keeping 80% on the stock market, even in retirement, with 20% in safer investments such as the money market or bond funds. Through this buy and hold strategy, she said, she tripled her money in about a decade.

Even so, when Anderson looks back, she wishes she had started investing at a younger age – even small amounts – to better profit from the miracle of compound interest.

“I didn’t really take my retirement seriously until I was 40 and 50,” she said.

In her blog, book and seminars, she emphasizes this point: “The sooner you start, the better. Time is on your side. ”



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