Financial Women

Women and Money

Do I really need to have this conversation with all of us?

I left for LA and a co-worker/friend is watching my fabulous dog Luke.

“Oh, no need to pay me. I am happy to move out of my house, move in your house and take care of your dog for three weeks until you get back for no money. By the way, I could wash your windows while you’re gone if you want? Or perhaps pack up everything you need to take with you on the move? No worries, happy to do it.”

Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad but almost.

So, I yelled at her of course and gave her a check for what I would have paid a professional dog sitter and shook my head with the absurdity of it all.

Then I started to negotiate my new apartment out here in LA.

“What’s the price?”

“It’s X.”

“Ok, I’ll take it.”

Then there was the fabulous negotiation for my car.

“I’m told I should negotiate. Is this the best you can do? …. Oh, it is the best you can do? No problem, thanks so much, I’ll take it, but could you give me a full tank of gas?”

I’m pathetic, and while I have a few girlfriends (very rich ones) who are amazing at negotiating, I can tell you that most are not.

I rented a house in the Hamptons for the last three years. When I saw the house, it belonged to a young woman whose father was a business friend of mine. She was asking way less than market value so I said, “This isn’t enough. I’ll pay you $500 more per month than you are asking because that’s what’s fair.”

“No, that’s ok,” she said. “What you are paying will pay for the mortgage.”

“No, no, really,” I countered.

We settled on $250 more. Who says I can’t negotiate?

Even in business, I am terrible. The president of a company I work with actually said, “Never negotiate on behalf of my company again.” He was not joking.

“Alrighty then,” I replied. “But I have other qualities, right?” God forbid I just let it go without looking for some validation of something.

Look at Annie Leibowitz, the most renowned photographer of my generation; bankrupt and needing to sell her work to pay bills because she just didn’t get the money thing. She’s not alone, and I hate that it appears to me to be a gender thing. Ok, you can add Michael Jackson in, but let’s face it, he was more girl than boy anyway.

They should teach a class in it.

Teaching Women to Value Their Time and Talent with Compensation. It could be taught by Anna Wintour. I bet she’s a good negotiator.

Here is the course description.

Find out why women suck at negotiating. Look into the deeper meaning of demanding financial compensation commensurate with work expertise and why women tend to reject validation through the almighty dollar. Help yourself find your way.

I would take the class in a heartbeat. And, I would pay full price for it, or better yet, I’ll pay extra.

Business Financial Women

Sotomayor & Her Finances

My friend, and amazing financial planning expert, Manisha Thakor, did a column on her blog about Justice to be Sotomayor, and her personal finances or lack thereof. Apparently, the Justice elect, (or is it Justice in Waiting?), owes more on her house than her original mortgage and has credit card debt which adds up to close to her total cash savings of $35,000. Another friend said she is a gambler, but that friend is a staunch Republican who would be happy if the bench was filled with all white men who look like her father, so I can’t vouch for that comment. 

Here are the facts. She makes about $200,000 a year, has no children and savings of $32,000. Her worth is all in the apartment she has in Greenwich Village, which has a mortgage ($349,000). Ready for the next part? She supports her mother, and she has helped friends and family financially. She also gives a lot of her money away. She is worth around $700,000, which is basically the market value of her apartment. Bottom line? She has no money.

Women and money are absolutely not reconcilable. We just don’t make sense money-wise.

Twenty years ago, I carried around my divorce settlement check in my winter coat pocket for three months. Every day, when I put on the coat, I felt the certified check in the pocket and thought to myself, “Self, best get this check in the bank today.” Every single day. And, I’m not a stupid person, although you might not realize that from some of the postings on this blog. Spring arrived and I had no other option than to deposit it. In addition, when I went to interview a financial manager, I asked him probing questions such as, “Why, if I will have all this money in your bank, are you going to charge me $.25 per check?” Do not judge me.

I know women who have made millions of dollars working 24/7 and have no idea how much money they have in the bank. And what they do have is in CD’s not even earning the cost of inflation. I have friends who have turned over their hard earned money to new boyfriends trusting them when they have no reason to do so.

Women and money. 

And then there is that idiot, Susie Orman, who takes the soul out of finance. She is definitely not a Susie. She’s a Suzanne, and I don’t want to listen to her ranting about money without heart. Plus, she’s so bossy. I hate that. Talk about sucking the joy out of life. Let’s look at her life. Alone. Running all over the country bossing everyone she meets around pretending she knows everything. If she is so smart, how come she didn’t tell everyone last spring to sell all their stocks the way George Soros did?

Did you know that companies and organizations doing loans in third world countries make the loans to women because they actually use the money to start businesses, pay it back on time, and build incomes that support their families? And, when they loaned it to men, the guys blew the money. So, again, we work hard to make the money, but not to manage it.  

The long and short of it is, maybe the Justice in Waiting has it right? Use the money for what it was made for – to provide items needed to live. To help support family and friends. To put clothes on our backs and too much food in our stomachs. Ms. Sotomayor has no ties to money. She owns no stocks, owes no one anything except the bank for her mortgage. She lives her life unencumbered by financial restraints and time commitments that managing a burgeoning portfolio demand. 

The more I think about it, the more I like her style. Nothing like a mirror image on the bench.