Melissa phipps

Melissa Phipps

Author | Financial Editor | Copywriter

Location icon United States

I am an experienced writer and editor who has covered personal finance and business topics from various angles for all types of readers. My goal is to simplify the topic of money and make it accessible to everyone. My book, The Retirement Rescue Plan, was published in Summer 2016. I have held long-term staff positions as a Senior Editor of Business & Finance at, as a Senior Writer at Worth magazine, and as an Associate Editor at Financial Planning magazine, and have written for and edited many other print and online publications. I am also a savvy digital content strategist and copywriter.

Below are examples of my recent writing, editing and project management work. Scroll down for a fuller listing of clips according to category and publication.

The Balance
The Pros and Cons of Borrowing From Your 401k

One of the greatest benefits of a 401(k) is also a potential drawback: the 401(k) loan. Not all 401(k) plans let employees borrow a portion of their own savings. This decision is left up to the employer and plan administrator. But many retirement plan sponsors do offer this option.

The Balance
6 Essential Retirement Accounts That Can Help You Save

A 401(k) plan is a workplace retirement account that's offered as an employee benefit. The account allows you to contribute a portion of your pre-tax paycheck to tax-deferred investments. This reduces the amount of income you must pay taxes on in that year.

What Asset Classes Can You Invest In? | MagnifyMoney

Advertiser Disclosure Building a great portfolio can be compared to cooking a great dish: It's all about balance, using the right mixture of ingredients. In investing, these ingredients are called asset classes. Many asset classes are non-correlated to each other, meaning the performance of one doesn't impact the performance of the other, and they often move in entirely different ways.

How Do Bond Ratings Work?: Complete Guide | MagnifyMoney

Advertiser Disclosure Bonds are essentially IOUs, issues of debt with a promise to pay you back - and then some. The decision to lend money is easier when the borrower is good for it. It may also be an easy choice (in the opposite direction) when you know the borrower's finances are shaky.

Investing in Stocks: 4 Strategies for How to Pick Them | MagnifyMoney

Advertiser Disclosure Selecting a stock is not unlike shopping for most big purchases. You research the product, compare it to others for fit, quality, relative value and so on - perhaps compromising in some areas but not in others. Over time, you may become savvy enough to spot value or a prized possession easily.

How and Where to Invest Money: 5 Questions to Ask | MagnifyMoney

Advertiser Disclosure A few investment decisions are no-brainers, but others feel like you need an advanced degree before you can make the right move. And it's no wonder; with a dizzying amount of brokers, assets and investment vehicles to choose from, it's hard to know where to begin.

Learn From Experience : Farmers Insurance

Real Stories After Hurricane Harvey battered the Texas Gulf Coast, this Marine Corps veteran headed to Houston to help Real Stories After Hurricane Harvey battered the Texas Gulf Coast, this Marine Corps veteran headed to Houston to help

Capital Ideas
Portfolio makeover: Are there hidden risks in your bonds? | Capital Ideas

Christopher Kiesel manages money in Hilton Head, South Carolina, a tranquil resort and retirement community. His firm, Oak Advisors, gets its name from the region's stately oak trees, blanketed in Spanish moss. It's the type of place that moves at a slower, more relaxed pace. Except, that is, for Kiesel.

Latest Clips

How ready are you for retirement? (Paid Post by voya-financial From

Illustrations by Alice Lee Savings behavior can impact your retirement path. It's not news that Americans are generally underprepared for retirement. Indeed, even as wider indicators of economic well-being are looking up, retirement anxiety persists. In its latest report on the country's economic well-being, the Federal Reserve found that nearly half of U.S.

Through The Gates: Career Due Dilligence

"My twenties were a wasteland," says Sallie Krawcheck. It's late February; she's speaking at a Power Talk sponsored by Barnard's Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Setting the stage, Krawcheck tells of how she arrived in New York after graduating from the University of North Carolina with a journalism degree.

How Hollywood Accounting Works - HowStuffWorks

You know the old joke about keeping two sets of books, one for the IRS and one for yourself? In Hollywood, it's more like three sets of books: one for the IRS, one for the movie studio and one for the net profit participants, the people or entities owed a percentage of a project's profits once costs are recouped.

Could income tax be replaced by a consumption-based sales tax? - HowStuffWorks

The U.S. tax system has its haters. More than two-thirds of Americans say they dislike or hate doing their taxes. A majority of us complain that our taxes are too high and that the wealthiest among us don't pay their fair share. Without a top-notch accounting team, it's easy to feel taken advantage of.

The 10 Best Business Books of All Time

There's no denying that a master's degree in business administration has cachet. Too bad that cachet takes a few years to achieve, comes with a hefty price tag and, these days, offers no job guarantees.

10 Businesses Supposedly Controlled by the Mafia - HowStuffWorks

Carpentry and Construction Similar to its waste-management strategy, the Mafia made its way into the building business through unions. Typically, construction companies make bids for jobs that include union crews. Mafia-run construction companies are known to include union rates in the bids and win the contracts - then pay far less to their workers.

How the Movie Box Office Works - HowStuffWorks

Despite a generally disappointing year at the box office, 2014 produced one record-breaking blockbuster: "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth installment in the toy-inspired Transformers series. That film alone brought in more than $1 billion in worldwide box office ticket sales.

10 Books To Read Before Pitching Your Startup - GA Blog

One of the first things a startup should build is a library. Business books can help hone or disrupt your way of thinking (sometimes in ways that are subtle, sometimes in thunderclaps), they can help you learn from examples and case studies, and they keep you up with the latest jargon at pitch meetings and cocktail parties.

Do jobs that are more fun usually pay less money? - HowStuffWorks

If you've ever asked a 5-year-old what she wants to be when she grows up, you'll probably recognize a theme. Astronaut, dancer, poet, princess, unicorn trainer - whatever the answer, it usually sounds like a lot of fun. Fifteen or 20 years later, that sense of fun will likely be trumped by a sense of financial responsibility.

Understanding the Injured Spouse Tax Form - HowStuffWorks

Marriage is all about sharing - your lives, your home, the kids, the dog. But do you also share your past debt? If you file taxes jointly, the answer is yes. Debt owed by one spouse for back taxes, back child support or even defaulted student loans will likely impact any potential tax refund owed to the other.

How Tax Credits Work - HowStuffWorks

Regardless of how much we earn, which politicians we support or what type of music we like to listen to, the one thing that unites pretty much all Americans is the desire for a lower tax bill. Tax credits are one way to make that happen.

How is residual income taxed? - HowStuffWorks

It's been called passive income, recurring income, leveraged income, the best type of income and "the holy grail of investing" [source:]. Residual income is the opposite of income that you actually work for, which is known as linear or active income. Compared to the daily grind of earning active income, passive, residual income can come easy.

Understanding Tax Extension Forms - HowStuffWorks

Have you ever had a tax deadline sneak up on you? You have your papers ready and keep reminding yourself to just fill out the returns, but suddenly it's March and then April, and you just need more time. It happens. Nearly 13 million taxpayers requested an extension in 2014 [source: IRS].

How Trusts Work - HowStuffWorks

"Trust fund" became a popular modifier in the 2000s as a way of describing a certain type of undeserving rich person: trust funder, trust fund baby, trustafarian. But a trust is much more than a money spout for entitled brats; it's an instrument that holds and distributes your assets according to your own instructions when you aren't around to dole them out yourself.

10 Tips for Filing Military Taxes - HowStuffWorks

Taxes are difficult enough for civilians. But if you're a member of the armed services or in a military household, the dreaded chore of filing income taxes can seem even more complicated. First, you have to sort out whether what you earned over the past year is even taxable.

Should Kids Learn to Code?

By 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings, according to the Department of Labor. There is much debate over whether or not everyone should learn code, but in a time when communicating with a computer seems almost more important than communicating in a second language, it makes sense that computer science skills be taught to all kids as part of their curriculum.

How to set boundaries at work: Tips for founders, managers, and employees

When people talk about setting boundaries at work, it is often in terms of personal or individual boundaries and how they affect work-life balance. This balance is certainly important, but so is office-life balance. According to a PENN Behavioral Health study, Setting Boundaries at Work, there are several types of boundaries: job responsibility boundaries, interpersonal boundaries, and personal boundaries.

Why Coding Boot Camps Are Gaining Momentum -

Web development programs, like General Assembly's, are generating a lot of talk. Just last month, The New York Times heralded computer programming bootcamps as 21st Century trade schools, offering a path to professional success at a time when good jobs are hard to find.

3 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Be On Amex OPEN Forum

Please bear with me while I make a case for something that most of us don't likely need: Another social media network. Hear me out-this one is different. It's the American Express OPEN Forum, and it's arguably a must-visit for entrepreneurs, thought leaders, even corporate executives.

The Best Tools To Help Kids Learn To Code (While Having Fun)

As a mother of two boys under age 10, I know how hungry to learn children can be. My kids could teach themselves to read literature in Russian if they thought it would be fun. I kept that in mind while researching the best resources to teach kids to code.

Fail To Succeed, And Other Business Lessons We Can Learn From Skateboarding

If there was a way to learn valuable lessons about business innovation and techniques while watching skate videos, you would do it, right? I know I would, because I have spent the past few days watching videos of the great Rodney Mullen, pulling off skateboard tricks while giving talks at business conferences.

Samples from a Variety of Publication Types

Thrivent magazine: Lifestyle Preserver

Make sure your life insurance covers your family, your way of life and your dreams. By Melissa Phipps Insurance Checkup Your Thrivent Financial representative can review your needs to make sure you and your family have the financial freedom not to worry. You might think life insurance is only for working parents.

Your back-to-school shopping cheat sheet: How to get the best deals

Aug. 8, 2014 at 9:18 AM ET There's still seven weeks of summer left but many of us are already thinking about back-to-school shopping. This year, the International Council of Shopping Centers reports 90% of shoppers will be lured out of the house and into physical stores by the promise of money-saving sales.

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting

Wrote, edited and managed the editorial work for the redesign of this product site for multinational corporate and government tax and accounting professionals. Worked on three product lines: ONESOURCE, GRM and CheckPoint.

What Is a B Corp or Benefit Corporation?

Have you ever asked yourself why companies can't be more evolved, do more good, or (to paraphrase Google's motto) not be evil? The answer is some can, if they are benefit corporations. A benefit corporation is a company that sets higher standards for environmental sustainability, accountability, transparency, and overall social good than traditional corporations.

BLOG POST: Social Media vs. SEO: Which Is More Important? - GA Blog

As with the Mommy Wars and the Cola Wars, sometimes the media is compelled to draw battle lines where none are needed. The latest skirmish might be called the Click Wars. In one corner we have search engine optimization. In the other corner we have social media.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is another way of saying open Internet. Originally coined by a Columbia Law professor, Tim Wu, net neutrality is a decidedly unsexy term (comedian and talk show host John Oliver recently said "The only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are 'featuring Sting.') The concept behind the term, however, means a lot to those of us who cherish the Internet we know and use every day.

Experts Reveal: The Best Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also one of the most expensive. According to a recent Gallup survey, Americans will spend an average of $786 on gifts, and a third of us plan to shell out even more. Yikes!

Through the Gates: Mentors Vs. Sponsors

"No one pulls themselves up by their own bootstraps. We need pretty heavy lifting from the outside," said Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founding president and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation, to the audience at one of a series of Power Talks sponsored by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies.

Worth Magazine

How Social Media and SEO Impact Each Other

Does anyone talk about search engine optimization these days without also talking about social media? Not really, but the arguments behind the importance of engaging in both may vary. There's a camp convinced that social activity plays a significant role in search engine rank placement (despite Google's head of Webspam, Matt Cutts', denials that Facebook and Twitter signals are weighted more heavily than any others).

Reel Talk

THE STORY BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF HBO FILM POWERHOUSE SHEILA NEVINS '60 If you have ever laughed or, more likely, cried watching a documentary on cable television, you should probably thank Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films. Widely considered the most powerful person in non-fiction filmmaking, Nevins has spent more than 30 years supporting and overseeing the development of fascinating documentary features for HBO and Cinemax.

14 Startup Terms to Learn Before You Get Funding - GA Blog

A startup is more than an early stage company. It's a small operation reaching for something big; an innovation ready to explode. If this sounds like your business, learn some of the latest startup lingo to help you in the early funding stages. 1. Acqui-hired When a small, failing company is purchased solely for its staff.

What Is a Product Lifecycle?

To many devoted entrepreneurs, a product is kind of like a child. It's your creation, a reflection on you and your hope for the future. Is it any wonder that the business world uses a biological lifecycle as a model for how a product is expected perform?

Worth Magazine
Net Worth

I regularly created this pithy list of financial news and trends for Worth.


About Insurance

This is the Insurance site for, covering a variety of topics in which people involved with business insurance would be interested, including property and casualty; workers' compensation and professional liability.

Ecommerce Resources - Basics, Money Matters & More

Ecommerce has revolutionized the world of business. But what makes ecommerce tick? How can an ecommerce business become more successful? And how does an ecommerce business gear up to participate in the mobile commerce space? The Ecommerce GuideSite on answers these questions and more.

MyNationwide Magazine

MyNationwide Magazine
Money Milestones for Kids

Learn the recommended ages and stages for teaching your kids financial literacy.

Retirement Planning Articles on
Guide to Retirement Planning

I have been the expert writer on the topic of Retirement Planning for since June 2012.

Barnard Magazine
Fueling Creativity

A conversation with Haitian author Edwidge Danticat.

Copywriting / Content Marketing

Thomson Reuters
Tax & Accounting site

Wrote, edited and managed the editorial work for the redesign of this product site for multinational corporate and government tax and accounting professionals. Worked on three product lines: ONESOURCE, GRM and CheckPoint.

Chrysler Magazine
Lend a Virtual Hand

Wrote a monthly giving column for this custom publication produced by Meredith.

Barnard Magazine
Forces of Nature

Profile of two active environmentalists: Diane Pataki and Annie Leonard.

Barnard Magazine
Finding the Flow

Profile of two new Associate Professors in Barnard's Philosophy Department.

Barnard Magazine

The story of two Barnard graduates who went on to become spies.

Barnard Magazine
Keeping it Local

Profile of uber-successful caterer cum farmer, Liz Neumark.

Barnard Magazine
Sources: To Break Glass Ceilings

How Constance Hess Williams, former Pennsylvania state senator, is bringing leadership to the conversation.

Barnard Magazine
Embracing the F Word

A scene from a Barnard alumnae panel discussion of modern feminism.

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