Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rich Woman!

Most nights before turning in, I take one last survey through my favorite channels to see what’s on. Usually I settle on some reality show repeat on Bravo, TLC or MTV. But one particular night I stopped on MPT after seeing a woman standing in front of a screen with “RICH WOMAN” printed boldly behind her. This caught my attention. After watching a few minutes, I was captivated by this pledge program (yep, a pledge program!) encouraging women to acquire wealth.

The host of the show was a lady named Kim Kiyosaki who was trying to get her female audience to understand they have to take control of their finances. Surprisingly, she told them the time to start investing is now. A down market is a terrific time to invest, she explained to them. I was intrigued by this tidbit of information, especially with all of the news networks screaming the U.S. may enter a recession soon.

Who would have guessed that with interest rates plummeting and the stock market so volatile, women should throw their money hats in the ring? Not me, that’s for sure! Not until I heard from Kim. Along with three of her “girlfriends,” she chatted for nearly two hours about money. They spoke of their investment preferences; paper assets vs. real estate. They talked about women overcoming their fear of investing and taking control of their money. There were terms like “cash flow,” “options,” “mutual funds,” and “capital gains” being thrown around, and while it wasn’t easy to grab the complete definition of terms being used, it was inspiring to hear these women talk about money in a way that I could somewhat understand.

All the women stated time and time again that finance isn’t as hard as it seems. They wanted their female audience to understand that you don’t have to be a man to be independently wealthy. Any woman can learn the lingo and take the steps to become prosperous. Simple steps like educating yourself on the purpose of money, and sitting with your spouse quarterly to go over your family’s financial records go a long way. Over and over again they wanted women not to be intimidated by investing by reinforcing the “if-I-can-do-it-you-can-do-it” spirit.

There was one woman who, along with her husband, was a medical doctor and deeply in debt. (Normally I am not one to feel good about someone else’s misfortune, but two broke doctors made my financial situation seem much less bleak!) As I listened to her story one thing she said rang in my ears: she was working harder but was falling deeper and deeper in debt. That is not the work cycle I learned in school. My recollection was teachers telling us that the harder you work, the more successful you will be in all ways. Another woman was divorced with three children and homeless when she began taking steps to learn about acquiring wealth. These women were not only inspiring—they were brave. Instead of acting as though the situation was hopeless, they took it upon themselves to turn their financial circumstances around.

All three women were exceptionally inspirational and dynamic but, most importantly, easy to relate to. They made me think beyond how I normally do about money. As I finally drifted off to sleep, many questions stirred in my mind. Why can’t my money work harder for me? Why do I feel part of a rat race never really getting ahead financially? Do I want to look at my financial situation in ten years and see no real gain? And most importantly: What am I afraid of? And while I haven’t run out and opened an e-trade account just yet, I did sign up for a free options trading seminar. I’m educating myself and getting started with a new financial plan for me and my family. It’s time I find the Rich Woman in me. My family and my bank account will thank me for it!

Kamesha Milton
Manager, Research & Content Marketing

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