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Finding Merit

Anika Hedstrom

Anika Hedstrom, MBA, CFP®, is the co-founder of Uplevel Wealth, a boutique wealth management firm serving women and professional families. She writes on motivational and behavioral aspects of financial planning, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Business Insider, USA Today and NerdWallet. An Oregon native, she loves the outdoors, good pinot and chasing after her young twins as they head in opposite directions.

Finding Merit

Anika Hedstrom  |  Jun 30, 2021

THERE’S NO SINGLE, right way to legally crack the college admissions and financial aid systems. It’s up to teenagers and their parents to do the necessary work.

Still, it helps to have a tour guide—which is what you get with The Price You Pay for College, the new book from New York Times financial journalist Ron Lieber. Lieber’s book discusses why college costs so much, digs into the allure of elite schools,

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Going Neutral

Anika Hedstrom  |  Jan 20, 2021

ONE OF THE KEY skills I quickly learned as a new parent: how to curb some of my emotions. Take last night. We were enjoying our normal bedtime routine, including bath time, bottles and a few favorite books.
Then I was vomited all over.
Being vomited on was just another evening with our 16-month-old twins. If you dial up or down your emotions too much in response, they have you. Dial them a bit too high,

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Time to Explore

Anika Hedstrom  |  Dec 17, 2020

JOHN GOODENOUGH was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2019. At 97 years old, he was the oldest Nobel laureate in history. This didn’t happen by accident. At age 57, when most folks are looking to scale back their careers, Goodenough pressed ahead, co-inventing the lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which today powers pacemakers, digital cameras, smartphones, electric wheelchairs and more.
Americans are healthier and living longer than at any time in history. If Goodenough had taken “retirement” to heart and scaled back or completely stopped pursuing his life’s passion,

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Going Soft

Anika Hedstrom  |  Dec 10, 2020

MORGAN HOUSEL’S new book, The Psychology of Money, covers a host of topics related to money and emotion. I was especially drawn to his notion that “how you behave is more important than what you know.” I’ve been a student of behavioral finance for some time and know this to be true academically—but it also made me think of my father, Ole.
My father was born in 1948 into extreme poverty.

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Make the Connection

Anika Hedstrom  |  Oct 20, 2020

FOR A LIFE TO BE meaningful, it doesn’t need to be unique—and yet many of us believe that’s necessary. We’re convinced we lack something special, and that paralyzes us. This is a mistake, says the philosopher Iddo Landau, who argues that everybody already possesses what they need for a meaningful existence. We just need to look harder.
I’ve spent years researching and educating myself on how to find and cultivate purpose. This helped me to develop a process to guide clients,

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Effort Counts Twice

Anika Hedstrom  |  Sep 11, 2020

WHEN ROSE O’DONNELL was five years old, her mother passed away from the 1918 flu epidemic. This was shortly after her four-year-old brother died. Rose, and her remaining brothers and sisters, were raised by their father, Edward O’Donnell, in San Francisco. Edward had left school after the ninth grade.
What Edward lacked in formal education, he made up for with grit—a special blend of passion and perseverance. Edward became a self-taught expert in copper,

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Stay in Your Lane

Anika Hedstrom  |  Sep 4, 2020

MICHAEL PHELPS and South Africa’s Chad le Clos had an intense rivalry. In 2012, le Clos took home the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly. In 2016, they met again in the finals of the same event. A photographer captured the moment when Phelps was intent on winning gold, while le Clos seemed intent on watching Phelps.
How many times in life have we been more focused on what others were doing and how they’re doing it?

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Known and Unknown

Anika Hedstrom  |  Jul 17, 2020

ON FEB. 12, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took the stage at a press briefing to address escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iraq. A reporter asked him a question regarding evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Rumsfeld famously replied, “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know.

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Trek to Retirement

Anika Hedstrom  |  May 22, 2018

IN LATE MARCH, I set out into the backcountry of central Oregon with eight other women, all on snowshoes or cross-country skis. We traversed more than 22 miles in the heart of the Oregon Cascades, breaking trail and staying in huts. The terrain was steep, the visibility was poor, the snow was deep and there was a stiff wind.
What does this have to do with investing? The trek was reminiscent in three ways:
Feeling inferior.

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Simple but Not Easy

Anika Hedstrom  |  Feb 20, 2018

WHEN I FIRST began investing 16 years ago, I threw a bunch of investments at a wall to see what would stick. Someone I respected encouraged me to invest in master limited partnerships, so I purchased a few companies. I had no real idea what an MLP was or did. Sure, I spent some time surfing the net. But that was about it.
Fast forward one year to tax time. I had lost money and had no idea I had to file with the IRS for an extension,

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Betting on Me

Anika Hedstrom  |  Dec 21, 2017

I BLEW OUT MY KNEE when I was 14. Doctors told me to concentrate on academics, as my days playing sports were over. I had no control over my injury, but I could control my response. I decided to focus on academics—and also return to the sport I loved.
My new goal: Play soccer the following fall and make varsity as a sophomore. With my parent’s guidance and support, we found a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon close to my hometown.

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Along Came Sheila

Anika Hedstrom  |  Nov 7, 2017

HAVING RECENTLY lost several people, I was in a bit of a daze. Grief stopped me from doing some of the things that brought me incredible joy, like downhill skiing and whitewater kayaking.
Enter Sheila.
Being the Swede I am, I fell in love with Sheila—my gently used Volvo AWD V60 sedan. My attraction to Volvos included family nostalgia, safety and longevity. The dealer was a friend of my aunt, so I was able to negotiate a very reasonable price,

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Gold Dust

Anika Hedstrom  |  Oct 17, 2017

FOR THE FIRST TIME in my life, I’ve hired a housecleaner. It’s absolutely worth it—but embarrassing to admit, at least at first.
I’ve always been a neat freak, demanding clean, organized and tasteful living quarters, so I’ve spent a good portion of my life cleaning and organizing. A lot. I have even declined an invitation to go boating and hiking because I was color-coding my books.
Lame, I know.
After purchasing our home, I realized something had to give.

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Growing Up (IV)

Anika Hedstrom  |  Aug 8, 2017

THE SOUND AND SMELL of the Pickle will be forever burned into my memory. As a wannabe cool teenager, getting rides to school and soccer practice from my parents in their inherited 1976 green Dodge Aspen coupe with whitewall tires—a.k.a. the Pickle—was beyond embarrassing.
Sometimes, my parents would honk pulling away, just to add insult to injury. Needless to say, it took a bit of humble pie to finally understand the lessons my parents were teaching me,

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Getting Schooled

Anika Hedstrom  |  Jul 11, 2017

SETTING OUT INTO the business world, I was age 27 with a negative net worth. Among life lessons, there are many strong contenders, but nothing introduced me to “adulting” like debt. For that, I had undergraduate and graduate school expenses to thank.
Having secured a good job out of business school, I started to rebuild my finances. My grad loans had a relatively high principal amount and an interest rate of 6.8%, so I prioritized that debt over my undergrad loans,

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