Authors of Financial Books for Women
Author of Prince Charming Isn’t Coming
Barbara Stanny is a woman on a mission. That mission is to motivate women to take charge of their finances. Barbara grew up relying on her father, then her husband, to manage her money. But a devastating financial crisis became a personal wake-up call. Her journey to financial enlightenment is inspiring. She began by interviewing financially successful women from diverse backgrounds. As a result of her research, she discovered a surprising series of insights that smart women shared–insights that enabled them to begin to feel smart about money. These insights became the core of her latest book, Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money (Viking Press).
Barbara Stanny has been featured on Good Morning America, The View, CNN, The Maury Povich Show, Roseanne, Extra, MSNBC, CNBC, The O’Reilly Report, Fox News, PBS, NPR, and in USA Today. She also travels the country as a popular keynote speaker. In addition, the National Association of Security Dealers has chosen Barbara as the spokesperson for their Promoting Financial Sense campaign. Barbara also serves on the advisory board of Girl’s Inc., and has coauthored a handbook, How to Choose and Manage Financial Professionals. Barbara ‘s background in business, her Master’s Degree in psychology, her extensive research, and her own poignant experience with money has given her a unique perspective on women’s financial issues. As a speaker, she weaves together practical advice and inspiring, often humorous anecdotes, including her personal story, to convince women that, no matter how modest their means or limited their income, they can get smart (or smarter) with money.
- What led you to write this book?
“Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money” came from my own personal experience and my interviews with over 100 smart women. I grew up in a wealthy family. My father is the “R” of H&R Block. Growing up, the only advice he ever gave me about money was: “Don’t worry.” Under those words, of course, was the unspoken assumption: “There will always be a man to take care of you.” And there always was a man. First my father. Then my husband, who was a lawyer, stock broker and certified financial planner. But I soon found out that my prince charming was a lousy money manager. Over the years he lost a fortune. Even though I knew this early in our marriage, I continued to let him manage all the money. He paid the bills, balanced my checkbook, and made the investments. That’s how stupid I felt and intimidated I was by money. I suffered through 15 years of his losses until I finally mustered up the courage to get a divorce. Even then, I couldn’t get my financial act together. It wasn’t until I got over tax bills for over a million dollars for back taxes my ex-husband never paid, illegal deals he got us in, that I knew “staying stupid” was no longer an option. That’s when I turned my financial life around. I did it by finding and interviewing women who were smart with their money. Just hearing what they did and how they did it made the whole process manageable and understandable. I went out and did what they did, and not only turned my financial life around, but have created a whole new career for myself as a financial educator.
- What do you feel to be the biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances?
On the surface, the biggest challenge seems to be time. We are all so busy managing home, career, and life in general. But underneath, it’s really bigger than that. Women have not made finances a pressing priority. I believe, there still lurks in our collective unconscious a deep-seated belief that someone or something is going to come a long and save us. Whether we are married, single, self supporting or living off a trust fund, until we realize that no one will do this for us, Prince Charming isn’t coming, we will never take charge of our money. Prince Charming, by the way, doesn’t need to be a man..it could be the lottery, a job promotion, the government, or just an amorphous something that we fantasize will come save us. Trying to manage money while harboring a rescue fantasy is like driving a car with watered down gas. We just don’t have what it takes to get very far.
- How has the atmosphere changed for women investors in the last 10 years?
There is so much more information available, so much more encouragement for women to take charge. The financial industry has targeted women as a prime market to focus on. Opportunities for learning have increased along with it, so has the confusion and pressure.
- How will the atmosphere change for women investors in the next 10 years?
Women will be using their financial savvy to make a profound difference in the world, socially, politically, economically.
- Where did you start your career and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I started my career as a financial writer, educator and speaker when I taught myself how to take financial responsibility and then wrote a book to teach others what I learned.
- How much money do you need to start investing?
Not much. If you can save a dollar a day, you’ll have enough to start investing in mutual funds in a very short time.
- How should a woman get started investing with no investment experience?
Before she invests one dime, she should spend time educating herself. She should spend at least 6 weeks learning about her investment options. How? Every day she should read something about money, even if she just spends a minute browsing the headlines of the business section of the newspaper or turning on CNBC while cooking dinner or surfing the web for financial sites. She should have conversations about money with people who know more than her, asking them what they do and how they got started. One of the best things to do would be to join an investment club or form one (contacting NAIC for information). At the same time, she should be taking financial classes, workshops or seminars.
Talking to a financial adviser, particularly a financial planner, could be helpful. Rather than investing wily nily, she needs a financial plan based on her goals, needs, and her tolerance for risk.
Once she understand where she would put her money, and why, she should start with small amounts, go slow, and invest regularly.
- If a woman has debt, at what point should she become an investor?
I personally believe anyone with high interest paying credit card debt should pay down the debt before investing in the market. At the very least, transfer the balance to a low interest card, and while still continuing to pay down the balance, invest small amounts in stock.
- Have you published any other books before this one? If so, what are they?
In 1984, I wrote “How to Be Happily Employed” published by Random House (now out of print.) And I have a booklet: “How to Chose and Manage Financial Professionals” published by Resourceful Women.
- What are your future book writing plans?
I’m working on another book proposal now, also about finances.