Halloween is a time when it’s actually fun to be scared. It comes in small doses and when you get really frightened, it’s easy to remind yourself that it’s not real. But brace yourself for the haunted house of money: a list of numbers that paint a ghoulish picture for women’s personal finances. They add up to a scary challenge for women preparing for retirement: $0.78, 11, 5, and 80 percent.
People these days seem to spend considerable time and money taking care of their health, paying particular attention to choices about diet, organic food, exercise, different kinds of alternative medical care, and spiritual self-care. But what about the notion of financial self-care? Recently, I facilitated a discussion with a group of women on the topic of financial self-care and some interesting points came out of the discussion. Generally, people seemed to have a good idea of what they need to do to take care of themselves financially, and the statements about the feelings resulting from successful financial self-care were powerful. Consider these comments: “I feel better about myself,” “I feel empowered to make choices,”
It has been 14 years, and yet I feel my emotional scar, healed, yet still tender to the touch. Tears still well up. Unfortunately 9/11 was just the first in a series of events that led to my life-changing discovery about money. This is what 9/11 taught me. I was in Manhattan that week for the Merrill Lynch Financial Services Conference (an ironic coincidence…maybe.) It was held at the Pierre Hotel where we listened to bank management talk about their strategies for gaining a “greater share of consumers’ wallets.” I walked out of a morning session to see footage of the second plane hitting the tower.
I am often asked, "How much do I need in order to retire?" One million? Two million? There is no simple answer. But this is a very good question. Essentially, each person's answer will depend on a variety of factors.
A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a woman who said, “I really love money! I just wish I didn’t feel bad about saying it.” Yeah, I love money too! I identified with her feelings, especially remembering my college years when the prevailing cultural message was that greed and money are bad, suggesting that being poor is somehow noble. It prompted me to think about why loving money feels like an important step toward bringing more of it into your life.
With recent data breaches in the news – from Target and Home Depot to Sony, Anthem and government agencies – I decided to attend a talk last week on identity theft. I used to regard this as one of those “not likely to happen to me” things. Not any more. What struck me most in the presentation was the amount of effort needed to relieve people of their money: i.e., not much!
For those of us who have gone through a divorce, the signs become clear, though too often in hindsight. Maybe you avoided important conversations, stopped coordinating schedules and planning regular date nights, or tried therapy and still were not able to reestablish your connection. Whatever it was, at some point it becomes clear that the writing was on the wall. Once that point is reached, you feel like your world is falling apart. You may feel totally unprepared for how to deal with the process that now ensues — emotionally, financially, and legally.
Who is better with money, men or women? At first blush it may appear to be a ridiculous question but when I meet new clients I always ask about their experience with money growing up. How we were raised, the availability of money and attitudes toward it shape our beliefs beginning at a very young age. Some may bristle at the thought of comparing the sexes but our past is key to understanding our behavior today. There are some gender differences – both innate and cultural...
Awhile back I came across a New York Times article entitled, "Beware Advice That's Generic." It immediately grabbed my attention. "What's wrong with offering advice that may apply to readers broadly?" If people mistake it as advice directed toward them specifically, it could end up being a disservice. Which brought up an even bigger issue, whose information and advice can you trust? How do we go about getting information that helps up make better decisions
Being a relative newcomer to dating, I’ve been intrigued with how people get to know one another and what they look for in a prospective mate. Often, people are adamant about being with someone who shares their political and religious beliefs, yet fail to have any discussion about money. The money discussion can be harder than even politics or religion, partially because it’s been ingrained in us not to talk about it. You can hope the person you’re interested in has his financial house in order, but that won’t tell you much about his beliefs about money. I often see partners who are exact opposites when it comes to money: One is the saver, the other, the spender. Differences that seem charming and attractive early in a relationship may emerge years later as a constant source of tension.
I recently came across a recipe in The New York Times for Catalan stew with lobster and clams. As I looked at the picture and the list of ingredients, my imagination began to work. I saw steam rising from the bowl, filling my nostrils with the sweet scent of fresh seafood. The dish was slightly thick from the tomatoes and fragrant from the red chiles and ground nuts. Big chunks of lobster and wide-open clamshells beckoned. All my senses were engaged and I wanted to eat! It may sound crazy, but financial planning is actually a lot like cooking.
I’m thinking about how the Steely Dan lyrics, “When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole…” seem fitting for the way some people approach the day after Thanksgiving. We make so many unconscious choices with money throughout the year, but during the holidays, no sooner does the mania of Black Friday strike, than we race out to shop.