Monday, December 3, 2007

Another Reason Not to Bet on the Prince

Now here's a guide to personal finance that tells it like it is.

In the introduction to their new book, On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl's Guide to Personal Finance, Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar take the bull, so to speak, by the horns. In their words:

"Today, many women are choosing to marry alter in life or not at all. With divorce rates high, and given that women have statistically longer life spans than men, it is a basic fact of life that a high percentage of women will spend as much or more of their lives single than coupled. Therefore it's unwise to think that Prince Charming is going to swoop in to solve your financial woes. In fact, it's probably safe to assume that Prince Charming doesn't have a clue when it comes to money, even if he acts like he does."

These two savvy ladies (and Woodhull alums!) serve up oodles of insight on why so many women--and men--end up missing the boat on personal finance:

"It's not that people want to make bad financial decions--its that they never learned the basics. Personal finance is not taught in most schools, and talking about money is still taboo in many circles. Parents often assume children will pick up the basics of personal finance on their own, and many parents don't really have a grip on their own finances. As a result, millions of Americans simply do not know how to live within their means."

I, for one, certainly would have benefited from some financial 101 coming at me at an early age. As a grown-up, I've had to play catch-up--and am still playing, and often feel like I'm missing the ball. But nuf with the sports metaphors. Just trust me. This book is a homerun. (Whoops--couldn't help myself there.)

There's much more about On My Own Two Feet here. And for bonus points, check out the Economic Literacy program over at Girls Incorporated and the Financial Literacy module from Woodhull that's available through the Dove Real Women, Real Success Stories website. And pass it all on!


Tricia said...

This is excellent advice, which is echoed in The Feminine Mistake (Leslie Bennetts).

Don't forget a prenup: the prince may seem charming and successful, but when relationships dissolve, money troubles are where people really get down & dirty.

Deborah Siegel said...

Excellent point--how right you are, Tricia! As an aside, I'm totally interested in the gender dymanics when women of means ask for prenups and their princes don't...

Tricia said...

yep, and something i remind my friends (who sometimes are 'shocked' that i believe in the value of prenups) is that prenups are perceived to be a male advantage, when that isn't necessarily the case...

think for instance of having a child. who takes time off from paid employment to birth and nurture that child? in most cases, it's the female marriage partner. she loses wages, contributions of her employer to her 401(k), as well as non-financial intangibles such as job status, perception of employers, etc etc.

we need to re-frame the prenup issue, i think. it's really an opportunity for women to protect their assets as well - including their time and non-waged labor!

just remember: no one thinks when they are getting married that their marriage will end. Including you. And me. And yet - it happens. So, as the old saying goes: better safe than sorry!

Conseula said...

I often wish I had some Finances 101 something when I was younger. I certainly be without many of he headaches I have now. It's hard, though, to figure out how to teach your kids about money without burdening with the..., well, burden of money.

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