Authors of Financial Books for Women

Kay Lesh
Author of Our Money, Ourselves

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  1. What led you to write this book?

Our Money Ourselves grew out of a series of workshops Diane and I designed and led together, beginning in the 80’s. We had both started our private therapy practices about the same time. Our discussions about the difficulty involved in setting a fair price for our services got us thinking about money as an issue of personal growth, especially for women. This led us to create some workshops on the subject. Our work with women who were struggling to take charge of their relationship with money gave us so much good information that we wanted to share it with other women to help them take charge of their lives. The book was the product of our own personal growth and the work we did with women in workshops. What do you feel to be the biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances? Women have achieved equality in so many areas of their lives in the past two decades. Dealing appropriately with money issues is the final frontier. The biggest challenge for women today is to throw off the old messages that keep us from living up to our potential. We need to stop waiting for the prince to come and take care of ourselves. Understanding our past messages about money gives us the power to decide whether to keep or change these messages.

  1. What do you feel to be the biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances?

Women have achieved equality in so many areas of their lives in the past two decades. Dealing appropriately with money issues is the final frontier. The biggest challenge for women today is to throw off the old messages that keep us from living up to our potential. We need to stop waiting for the prince to come and take care of ourselves. Understanding our past messages about money gives us the power to decide whether to keep or change these messages.

  1. How has the atmosphere changed for women investors in the last 10 years?

The investment scene is no longer male dominated. In the last ten years women have begun to see themselves as capable of investing on their own. They are doing it with more confidence and knowledge than ever before. In fact a recent survey by Working Mother magazine found that over half of the working mothers answering the poll said they take family responsibility for finding and analyzing new investments. This has led investment companies to start courting women as prospective investors. Investment houses currently are spending $5 million on advertising and marketing which targets women investors. Ten years ago, women were dismissed as either incapable of making investment decisions, or it was assumed that some man would be doing it for them.

  1. How will the atmosphere change for women investors in the next 10 years?

I see two potential changes in the atmosphere for women investors. First, women are now recognized as having financial clout and are treated with more respect and dignity. I expect the trend of courting women investors will continue. This, in turn will bring additional women investors into the marketplace. Women will continue to grow in knowledge and confidence and this will be reflected in their willingness to handle their own investments.

Secondly, I believe that women will continue to take charge of their own financial affairs. This will give them a new feeling of personal empowerment and allow them to write a definition of money that fits for them.

  1. Where did you start your career and how did it lead you to where you are today?

I am the classic late bloomer who dropped out of college to support a husband in graduate school and have children. After working at some pretty unsatisfying jobs, I realized that I needed a degree and the accompanying knowledge and skills to do what I really wanted to do – be a therapist. I went back to school, finished up 3 degrees and have worked helping people grow and change. Writing has always been a dream and now I’ve added that to my list of life projects.

  1. How much money do you need to start investing?

The financial experts tell us that folks can start investing with fairly small amounts of money. One of the common misconceptions about investing is that it is only for people with lots of spare cash. A good investment advisor can help you get started. My suggestion is to talk over your needs and goals with a financial advisor who suits you in terms of personality and approach to money. You can also invest on your own by using an investment club or just by becoming knowledgeable on your own. There are many ways to become financially savvy.

  1. How should a woman get started investing with no investment experience?

A good first step is to become as knowledgeable about the subject as she can. There are tons of free seminars, lots of good books, newspaper columns and community classes to get her on track. We list suggestions in Our Money Ourselves. Again, get help to give you knowledge and confidence.

  1. If a woman has debt, at what point should she become an investor?

This is a tough question to answer. The best answer I could give would be it depends. It depends on the debt, the woman, her income, her goals, and other pertinent information. I would advise her to talk her unique situation over with a financial advisor or a debt counselor to make a decision based on her special circumstances. She should get the best advice she can to help her get on track.

  1. Have you published any other books before this one? If so, what are they?

My first book was Building Self-esteem: Strategies for Success in School and Beyond, which was co-written in 1991 with a colleague, Bonnie Golden. It was a fun book to write because I believed it would help people do just what the title suggests, build self-esteem. My experience as a college teacher and counselor told me that students drop out because they don’t believe they can succeed. That’s where self-esteem comes in. The book is in its second edition and I expect it will continue to be revised and rewritten as needed.

  1. What are your future book writing plans?

Diane and I are writing a money book for couples. I am working on book focusing on the challenges of parenting difficult children. I am excited about both projects, as well as other ideas currently in the incubation stage.

 
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