Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Book Review, Part 1: Women & Money

My good friend, B, in the Seattle area, has been sending me all sorts of interesting information lately. The latest find is a book called "Women & Money" by Suze Orman. I figured it couldn't hurt to be a little more informed about finances and how to make the most of mine, since I'll be starting a business of my own soon. I have read about a third of it so far, right up to the "action plan" part. I must preface what I'm about to say by mentioning that the concepts in this book, while mostly focused on finances, is also about other aspects of our lives. That is why I almost burst out crying while reading the Acknowledgements while waiting to pick up K in the middle of the San Jose airport. In this part, Suze describes a situation where a friend of hers has made the leap from being someone else's employee to working for herself. Leaps like this are never easy and it's one of the most difficult things to go from being safe and comfortable to the unknown. It reminded me of all the things women are expected to be and take care of in this world, but that we are usually last on our "to do list".

The first part of the book talks about women and how they view money, especially focusing on the fact that women make more money now than ever before, but we don't know what to do with it. We do things like let our spouses make financial decision for us, volunteer ourselves without realizing the true value of what we do (no, Suze is not advocating giving up volunteering), barter services where the trade is either not fair or not what we truly want, and refusing to negotiate higher salaries for what we do. Orman also points out one thing I hate - the importance of money in our lives. The reason why I hate this is because I don't ever want to be seen as "money grubbing" or a "money lover". But, she is right to an extent. If you don't have money to be comfortable, you can't afford things like decent health care, house payments, groceries, and the like. Certainly, my experiences in life give support to Orman's claim. I remember when I first graduated from college and had my first "real job". I was so excited - K and I moved into a little duplex (which was a crappy little place in BFE), we got all settled in, and started work. By the time I got my first paycheck, though, I was in tears because I realized I could not possibly pay for all our living expenses and daycare, plus my student loan payment, with what I was making. I started charging gas and groceries, but could not pay off the credit card each month. How crazy is it that I'd have to charge our necessities?? At the time, I put on my blinders, learned to ignore the pit of dread that was constantly in my stomach, and plow ahead. Fast forward to present-day, where I feel financially secure for the first time in eight years. I do not have to charge our necessities or put off going to the dentist because of a lack of funds. If K needs shoes because his big toe is (again!!) poking out of the end of his sneaker, I can go get him a new pair without worrying. I no longer have the "pit of dread" in my tummy. The fear is gone, even though I've not totally taken charge and made good decisions with the money I have. Even though I see how different things are now, it still feels icky to admit money's importance. Besides the importance of money, Orman discusses the importance of halting our tendency to feel shame for our current state of finances and to blame others for where we are in life (two things I KNOW I have done). She also talks about the concept of "you are not on sale" - the idea that women undervalue themselves and their role in society, in the workplace, and in the home. The last part before the action plan, Orman discusses the traits of a wealthy woman: harmony, balance, courage, generosity, happiness, wisdom, cleanliness (which is really organization), and beauty. She lists these things in this order because the very last trait is dependent on having your shit together - that beauty is not in the strictest sense, but comes when a woman is confident because she has the other traits, and that harmony and balance are stepping stones to the other traits.

The rest of this book will be reviewed when I finish. So far, I would recommend this book to most women I know. If you're like me, I never take a book as gospel, but I take the parts I need and use what I can, and the rest I discard. However, so far, I can't find much to argue with what Orman is saying. It's sad that I can't argue with it - it means that I have a lot of work to do in the area of my finances.

9 Comments:

Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I've read Orman before and she's quite good. I wish I had half of her financial common sense. Heh, I'd be happy with a third of it.

and refusing to negotiate higher salaries for what we do.

This is a huge fault in American women. A good friend of mine should have been our Manager at a company we worked at together. However, she never put her foot down because either she was afraid to be seen as aggressive or she was afraid of being turned down. Instead, we got some stupid chump who neither of us could stand when we got a new manager.

This is more common than we realize with women. Women aren't aggressive enough. I don't know if Orman brings that up or not, or if I went off on a tangent that has nothing to do with her book.

Definitely finish it and let me know what you think. If you like it, I'll buy a copy for Mrs. Z.

The last part before the action plan, Orman discusses the traits of a wealthy woman: harmony, balance, courage, generosity, happiness, wisdom, cleanliness (which is really organization), and beauty. She lists these things in this order because the very last trait is dependent on having your shit together - that beauty is not in the strictest sense, but comes when a woman is confident because she has the other traits, and that harmony and balance are stepping stones to the other traits.

Interesting she brought this up. I've always seen confident women as sexy. I prefer women who have their shit together, rather than ones I'm going to be stuck taking care of. It's enough work taking care of myself.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Well, ZS, that is the point of Orman's book - that women do not stick up for themselves for fear of either doing/saying something that others will not approve of, for fear of losing the job they have, or for fear of being seen as agressive. So, nope, you hit the nail on the head.

Even based on what I've read so far, I think it would be good for any woman to read, even Mrs. Z. Just a side note - at Costco the book is 10 dollars less than at Borders. ;-)

Also, from a woman's perspective, it's nice to be able to be with a man not because you have to financially, but because you choose to.

5:09 PM  
Blogger tweetey29 said...

Where is this book located in the book store by chance? I know it sounds stupid to ask but I lost my word I was thinking of just now. Thanks for the review though.

8:57 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I haven't read any of her books, but I've watched her TV show a LOT. Orman uses common sense, an admirable(and rare) trait.
Her ideas on teaching kids how to handle money are top notch!

3:34 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Tweety - If you go to Costco, it's in the book section. If you go to Borders, just ask an assistant.

TSHS - That's another motivation for me to do better with my finances - I know that K pays attention to what I do.

6:25 PM  
Blogger tweetey29 said...

Happy Easter. I forgot you this morning when making my first rounds here. LOL... Enjoy and I will post pix and a small story of the Easter hunt hubby and I are planning tomorrow for the girls on Monday for everyone.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Happy Easter, Tweets. Thanks for stopping by!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Angelique said...

Notta, I love watching her show. I don't know why because she never says anything that a person doesn't already know, it's all common sense. I am just glad that I finally paid off all those helatious credit cards.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Angelique - Yeah, credit card debt will kill a person. I don't usually watch Orman on TV, but her book is that way too. When I read it, it makes sense, but usually in a way that I hadn't thought of before.

6:42 AM  

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