I have owned Suze Orman’s Woman & Money for well over a year. Possibly longer. This was a gift – a not-so-subtle suggestion that I get my financial house in order. Finances have never been something that brought me pleasure. I abandoned the ongoing losing skill of balancing my checkbook long ago. In my 20’s, I lived just above the poverty level. The idea of dealing with money simply terrified me. As a child and teenager, money was never discussed in my presence. There is little in my background that existed to teach me how to handle money. I realize that this has been true for too long, and I’d like to be able to help young woman learn to manage their money. Before I do that, I must be able to manage my own. Or at least know where it is at any given time.
I have discovered through the anxiety creating process of reading through page 84 of the book that I am far from alone. In so many of her interviews, Orman has discovered the sheer numbers of women who refuse, or simply don’t know how to face their financial situation. We bump along without the awareness that taking charge will allow us. Excuse me – this is not about you. I bump along hoping that each paycheck will cover what I need. I have been that woman for all of my life. Fearful of looking at the reality of my situation, even though I am in a dual income house. I think I’m simply afraid that I can’t do it.
Last night I took the terrifying step to read that first part of this book, and then actually go to my checking account and see what I had spent last month and where, which almost sent me into an anxiety attack. But I got through it. And I found things. Wow…I discovered I had paid several bills twice over a month’s period, had been charged too much on one bill, the bank had sent in an extra payment on another. It was an eye-opener. Not a pleasant one, but I understand that if I am to take control of this and make it work for me, I must do this. And I’m ready. Teacher, student – all that.
I don’t have the right to ask any of you who haven’t yet done this to do so. That is your decision. I know that at the end of the 5 month period (Orman has 5 month schedule to help you learn the ins and outs), I will feel better about my situation. Just knowing will eventually make me feel better. I’m so grateful for her approach – No blame and NO shame. I have to keep working on that part. I’m an intelligent and capable woman. I can do this. When I get through the next chapter, I will tell you about it. Trust me – I am as poor at this as any woman could be. But I can be frightfully honest about what I learn. I’ll share with you, and you are welcome to come along with me if you’d like.
Here’s to being a more savvy financial person in 2012.