With humor and personal anecdotes, and in easily accessible language, they provide the tools to help women to change their unhealthy and negative thoughts about money. Girlfriends' Guide to Money teaches women how to clarify their personal values, develop their own financial goals and action plans, and spend and save in alignment with those values. In addition, financial experts provide their advice on topics such as starting a new job, disability, job loss, and bankruptcy.
The Girlfriends' Guide to Money is not about budgeting or deprivation. It is about thoughtfully aligning saving and spending with personal values. With clear values, women can set financial goals and action plans that fit like a well worn pair of jeans so they can be successful on their own terms.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.44(d)|
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GIRLFRIENDS GUIDE TO MONEYYour Math-Free, Guilt-Free Guide to Financial Health
By Lucinda Atwood Ann Leckie Marina Glass
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Lucinda Atwood, Ann Leckie and Marina Glass
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUnderstanding your Relationship with Money
Many of us in North America have been blessed with abundance, yet often feel deprived. We see people in advertisements and the media who appear to be perfect, happy and young. Images abound of beautiful people in glorious clothes living wonderful lives. Each image is carefully crafted to exploit our secret yearning to be desired and desirable. Each ad says if you were included, powerful and rich, you would have this already. And if you had this, you would be included, powerful and rich!
We want to be those people. We want to trade our boring little lives in for their glamour and acclaim. We think that we would be happy if we had what they have, so we participate in an endless cycle of buy, upgrade, then buy some more. We constantly consume, trying to make our lives somehow better or more meaningful.
Why Doesn't Buying Things Make Us Feel Better?
If having the latest fashion, toy or technology is supposed to make us happy, why are so many of us feeling worse?
The answer is simple. It's not necessarily the things that we purchase that are the problem; it's why we purchase that has gone awry. There are several reasons that so many of us have negative relationships with money:
1. We mistake the adrenaline rush of shopping for true joy and contentment.
2. We mistakenly believe that if only we had more things we would be happy.
3. We do not understand that we are enough, and feel that having more or better things will make us sufficient or acceptable.
4. We see flaws in ourselves and believe that they can be fixed with things or money.
Entire businesses are built around these beliefs. Skin care, beauty products, designer fashion, house wares and expensive cars — we can't buy this stuff fast enough. We are always looking for more and better to fill that hole within us.
But our solution of consuming to fill the hole doesn't work. It's a pattern of spending that does not reflect our inner values and does not bring happiness. Even if we do buy something we want and think we need, something even more fancy and "necessary" comes along. The hole within us never fills. We are as emotionally empty as before.
We Need to Heal our Relationship with Money
No one is suggesting that we stop spending money. We do need to buy things — food, clothing, shelter and transportation are important; so is rewarding ourselves. But mindless consumerism and driving ourselves into debt and stress will not make us happy. Things will not make us different or transform our lives.
Ann remembers being in Disneyland last year. "It was late and people were heading home. Everyone looked tired; kids were cranky and whiney. I sat down on a bench to rest, and a couple sat beside me with their crying two year old. The woman turned to her man and said, 'This is why I want a divorce!' Over their heads was a sign: The Happiest Place on Earth. The irony didn't escape me. They went on holiday and spent tons of money but they were no happier. You can't buy happiness."
We work hard to earn money to feed, clothe and shelter our families. We want — and deserve — rewards and fun. We need — and deserve — to be relaxed with money; to enjoy earning, spending and saving it. We also deserve the peace that comes from knowing that we are managing our money well according to our own values.
We need to develop a sense of sufficiency. That what we have is enough. For those of us who have the basics but never feel satisfied and rack up thousands a year in mindless debt, we say STOP. Let's look at what is really going on, and understand that we already have enough. We are enough.
But I Love Pretty Shoes!
Sufficiency doesn't mean that we Girlfriends don't like pretty things. We certainly do. We still see a gorgeous pair of shoes and say, "I want them!"
The difference is that we don't define ourselves around those shoes. We don't think that we will be happier if we buy them or somehow diminished if we don't.
We know the secret of having proper expectations of the things that we buy. We know that those shoes can't transform our lives. We don't expect them to help us get, keep or dump that boyfriend. We don't expect those shoes to do anything other than what they are designed to do — look pretty and help support us as we move forward.
We know that true happiness comes from living in alignment with our values. And while we enjoy the fun of a good purchase, we don't confuse it with happiness.
We live with a sense of abundance because we know what we want and how to get it. We spend and save in alignment with our values.
We know that we can admire and even desire an item and walk away without buying it — and survive. (It's true!) We know that if one sweater makes us happy, ten will not necessarily make us ten times happier. We know that buying a mirrored side table will not undo this morning's fight with Sweetie-pie.
We know that you can have a positive relationship with money; one that is healthy, balanced, and joyous. Yes joyous! A positive relationship with money is not built around the power of more. It rests on these positive attitudes:
Acceptance of trade-offs
Lack of jealousy and judgment
Acceptance of Trade-offs
A positive relationship with money acknowledges that there will always be trade-offs. For example, going to school means forgoing earnings. For some of us that is a good trade-off. For others, it's not worth it.
Sometimes it feels that you are forever trading things off. You might say, "I went into debt to pay for school. Then I got married and saved up for a house; now we have kids ... when will this be done? When do the trade-offs end?"
Of course, the answer is never. Money is a finite resource, which means that there will always be trade-offs. Even the richest of the rich can't have everything.
Marina accepted trade-offs after she bought a very large and beautiful home. "We loved the house and could afford it when we bought it. With children, economic downturns and a family crisis we were in a different situation. We decided to keep our home, which meant making drastic changes to our lifestyle. Looking back, I'm happy with the choices and compromises we made at that time."
You are in control of your relationship with money. If you don't like the trade-offs you make, you can change them. Years later, Marina reviewed the trade-offs she makes to live in her house. She realized that she was no longer willing to put in all the time and energy necessary to maintain it. She decided to sell and find a home that needs less upkeep.
Openness acknowledges that money, just like every aspect of your life, calls for trade-offs. It is being honest about how that feels — both the good and the bad. You don't have to tell anyone what you earn, how much you spent on something, or where you bought it. However, openness makes for great girlfriend conversation and a great attitude towards money.
Openness goes like this: "I saw a wonderful outfit for sale and wanted to buy it. Then I realized that if I made that choice I would have to forgo going out to lunch for a week. That wasn't a trade-off I wanted to make, so I didn't get the outfit. For a moment it hurt that I couldn't have both, but now, sitting at lunch with you, I know that I made the right choice. I love hanging out with you!"
Being in control of your money means spending and saving according to your values. Control creates balance and empowerment in you and your finances.
Self-control is one of the most important aspects of success in finance, business and life. Self-control means being able to manage yourself so that you can achieve your goals. It's being able to remember what is important to you in the face of perfect sweaters and red sports cars; to want and walk away no less happy.
We're not saying to punish yourself for buying that sparkly bracelet back in '02, or to never reward yourself. Being in control of your spending creates a positive relationship with money, but taken to extremes it can be bad for your emotional and financial health.
It is has been proven that binge dieting — starving yourself for a period of time — does not work. Similarly, binge saving does not work. When you deny yourself even a little reward or luxury, you hold yourself like a tightly wound spring. The tension will eventually explode into a crazed buying spree. As a response to the famine of penny-pinching, you will probably spend more than you would have normally.
Both over-control and lack of control create chaos in your financial life. Aim for balance.
Lack of Jealousy and Judgment
Jealousy — that evil green-eyed monster. Jealousy drives destructive competitive behaviors and has destroyed lives and relationships. A lack of jealousy is freeing. It allows you to be truly happy for your friend when she buys a new car or gorgeous shoes.
We see wonderful dresses at the Oscars and think "Wow, they're beautiful!" Are we jealous? No! We can't imagine needing dresses like that. Ann says that while she admires the gowns, "I don't want one because I have no place to wear it. The dressiest places I frequent are offices and if I wore a ball gown to work ... well, it would be odd to say the least. To be able to wear those kinds of clothes I'd have to attend formal events, which I hate, as does my husband. I like us too much to put us through that!"
A healthy relationship with money is internal, unique to the beauty that is you. We all have opinions of what we should do with money, and we have different lives that require different spending decisions. Ideally we can listen to our girlfriends without judgment or jealousy as they talk about their choices and priorities around money. Lucinda, Marina and Ann, your Girlfriend Guides, often make different choices with their money. Each choice is right for that girlfriend, yet may not be right for another. We appreciate and celebrate these differences.
The sun will come out tomorrow. It may be hidden by clouds, but it'll be there!
Lucinda's Mantra: "I have sufficient today and I am capable of taking care of myself and my family tomorrow. There might be changes. Some of these changes may be hard; however, I am capable of making change. Like bamboo, I am strong and flexible. Money is a tool to help me achieve sufficiency for my family and I can do that. Money does not define me. Therefore, a lack today or an excess tomorrow will not change who I am. I will continue to make good choices in my relationship with money."
Just as a positive relationship with money is based on positive attitudes and expectations — acceptance of trade-offs, control, lack of jealousy and judgment, openness and optimism — there are common negative attitudes and expectations that will harm your relationship with money. Many of us carry these negative thoughts simply because we never stopped and thought about them. Luckily, once we examine them, these negative beliefs are easy enough to dispel.
These negative attitudes and expectations are:
Feeling anxious about money.
Thinking you need to spend a lot to belong.
Thinking that you don't deserve good things.
Being incompetent with money.
Thinking that money will bring you happiness and security.
Not understanding that there are choices.
Spending and saving out of alignment with your values and goals.
"Money stresses me out!"
Almost everybody we talk to has experienced times of anxiety around money. Anxiety increases when you avoid being truly honest with yourself about your financial picture.
There was a time when Lucinda let her credit card get out of control. "The amount owing was way out of proportion to my income. I made it worse by ignoring the reality of the debt, sometimes even buying myself things to make me feel better! The worse it got, the more I hid. It was a difficult and unhappy time; I felt stressed and ashamed. Finally facing up to it was such a relief. Even though the truth wasn't pretty, I made a plan that was manageable and at last I could sleep again. I paid off that card much faster than I expected and learned the power of facing reality, no matter how ugly that reality can be."
Knowledge is power; when you know where you are financially, have goals and an action plan, your anxiety will decrease dramatically.
"I felt horrible — I went to the dinner/dance/party and all the women were better dressed than me. I did not belong. I just wanted to go home and forget the whole thing."
A sense of belonging is critical to our sense of self worth, but it's important to understand that we belong because of who we are, not what we have. Real friends care about who you are. If you compete with your friends about who has more, then you actually have less — less girlfriends.
PS: Girlfriend, this issue of belonging is not restricted to females. Men compete just as furiously around things as do women. Their things tend to be different — they compete with tools, cars, technology and houses — but their self-worth is as tied up in money as any woman's.
"I don't deserve peace or nice things."
"I don't deserve all the good things I have. I didn't really earn them; I just got lucky."
Unfortunately some of our girlfriends believe that they don't deserve what they have. They may say they do, but their actions say otherwise. These girlfriends regularly sabotage themselves by:
Staying in their budget, then blowing it with a splurge.
Not earning as much as they deserve, because they don't understand the value of their contribution.
Not taking care of their belongings.
Not taking care of their finances and financial future.
Consciously or not, they get rid of money as quickly as possible; anything to prove to the world and themselves that they are not worthy of the good things in life.
The foundation of any positive relationship is always how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a loser, as someone who does not have enough and is not good enough, you will attract the wrong kind of people, experiences and events. If you see yourself as out of control or unable to manage money, you will not use your money in ways that reflect your values.
Not only do you deserve things that reflect your values and desires, you also deserve the sense of peace that comes with having a great relationship with money.
"Money is complex and boring! My husband handles it all; I'm too busy with the kids to think about mortgage rates and life insurance."
"I'm horrible with money. Whatever I have seems to slip through my fingers. I can't balance a budget or control my spending."
"If I don't track my money and how I spend it, I don't have to face all the bad choices I've made. (Including that bikini.)"
As with anxiety, knowledge is power when dealing with your sense of competency. Managing your money is not difficult. The activities in this book show you that you can control your spending and make good choices. You deserve good things in life, one of which is feeling confident and capable around money.
Happiness and Security
"Money will make me happy. When I get enough, I won't be anxious or unhappy."
"Only money will bring me security, and as I don't have enough I always feel anxious."
We all feel insecure and scared at times. Money can and does make a difference in some aspects of our lives. Knowing that you can pay the rent or mortgage this month, and for the rest of the year if you had to, is a nice feeling. Being able to spoil the kids once in a while is great.
Knowing clearly and honestly where you stand financially will actually make you feel more secure, not less. As Lucinda says, "Every week when I review my bank statements, I am reminded that although I'm not a zillionaire, I'm doing OK. I feel really abundant, and proud of myself too. Even in times when money was short, when I had to face ugly truths and make multiple trade-offs, it felt good to regain calm and control, rather than panicking and feeling terrified. There have been scary times, but you just do what you have to do, one step at a time."
Excerpted from GIRLFRIENDS GUIDE TO MONEY by Lucinda Atwood Ann Leckie Marina Glass Copyright © 2011 by Lucinda Atwood, Ann Leckie and Marina Glass. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction: Do You Want to Improve your Relationship with Money?....................1
Chapter 1. Understanding your Relationship with Money....................9
Chapter 2. Establishing Your Values....................29
Chapter 3. Creating your Financial Goals and Action Plans....................34
Chapter 4. Spending according to your Values....................42
Chapter 5. Building a Strong Support Network....................54
Chapter 6. Oh No, Insurance?!....................56
Chapter 7. Is Bankruptcy the Right Choice for Me?....................66
Chapter 8. When You Need Someone to Talk to at Work....................74
Chapter 9. When You're Leaving a Job....................83
Chapter 10. I've Been Fired! What Do I Do Now?....................90
Chapter 11. When You're Looking for a Job....................96
Chapter 12. Just Got that Dream Job!....................104
Conclusion: So Long, Farewell....................109
Girlfriends Give Back....................112
About the Authors....................115