Authors of Financial Books for Women
Author of Suddenly Single
- What led you to write this book?
I wrote this book after watching friends and family struggle through divorces where they were left with horrible financial struggles and had no clue how to turn things around. The depression and panic were a real eye opener to how failed marriages can destroy someone’s self-esteem and self-worth. Then, too, I saw many of my parent’s friends and even mine who lost a spouse who were terrified about how to handle money and their insurance payouts. Some didn’t even know where their investments, insurance policies and the like were, or have a grip on their cost of living. It was a book that had to be written to walk someone step by step through how to get started. It was not meant to be an emotional, dealing with grief psychological type book, but rather a hands-on practical guide to money and financial independence.
- What do you feel to be the biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances?
The biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances is the fact that they still earn less than men do-roughly 74 cents to the dollar on average. As a result, they have lower pensions and wind up with less money saved for retirement. They must be bolder with their investments and take action. They are faced with a much tougher challenge than their male counterparts. Women still tend to be conservative investors, although that is slowly changing. They need to combat that if they are going to succeed.
- How has the atmosphere changed for women investors in the last 10 years?
In the last 10 years, the financial world has become friendlier to women. More and more brokerages are offering special departments aimed at women and addressing their needs. There are seminars and the like just for women. Brokerages no longer condescend to women as they once did and have woken up to the fact that women are a formidable financial force in the economy. Forty-plus percent of the workforce is now made up of women-women with buying power and investing power. So the avenues to learn about money, get solid advice and invest are ever-expanding.
- How will the atmosphere change for women investors in the next 10 years?
I think in the next 10 years we will see more of the same as women break through the glass ceiling and take increasingly control of their financial futures.
- Where did you start your career and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I attended Duke University and graduated in 1982. Afterwards, I began freelancing in my hometown of Pittsburgh. At the time there were more and more openings for women to cover financial news. I became Advertising Age’s regional correspondent, a correspondent for the Pittsburgh Business Times, a stringer for Business Week. I wrote a weekly dance column for an alternative paper In Pittsburgh and more. Eventually, I had the clips to send off to the big magazines in New York where I landed a job as a reporter at Forbes Magazine. After 5 years, I moved on to Money Magazine and began focusing on personal finance. From there I moved to Washington for a job at US News & World Report. Five years later, I moved on to USA Today, where I was a columnist for a column called Managing Your Money and covered taxes and retirement. Today, I write for Working Woman, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, Business Week and more. I also write a Suddenly Single column for iVillage.com twice a month and have a monthly radio show called Financial Fitness. The key to getting my salary up to the men’s level was to keep moving and always befriend a man at the future publication to see what they were making then negotiate like hell to get there. It worked.
- How much money do you need to start investing?
You can start investing with as little as $50 a month with many mutual fund companies if you agree to automatic investing on a regular basis and allow them to draw the money directly from your account.
- How should a woman get started investing with no investment experience?
A woman with no investment experience should consider taking a course at a community college in investing, getting involved with an investment club or better yet find a financial planner they can trust to help them learn the ropes. Fee-only planners who don’t make a commission off the investments they sell you are usually the best. But you should interview at least three to find the one you trust. Ask friends and family for suggestions or call the National Association of Financial Advisers and ask for names of fee-only planners in your area. They have an 888-number.
- If a woman has debt, at what point should she become an investor?
Even with debt, investing is a must. But paying off any high interest credit cards should be a priority.
- Have you published any other books before this one? If so, what are they?
Yes, before Suddenly Single: Money Skills for Divorcees and Widows (John Wiley & Sons), I wrote The 10-Minute Guide to Retirement for Women, published by Macmillan. I also co-wrote a book called The 50 Simple Things Your Business Can Do To Save The Environment. And most recently, I completed a coffee table book due out this fall called The Tees Nos Poe: Trees in a Circle published by the Tees Nos Poe Trading Post. It is the tale of a Navajo trading post that has been in the same family for four generations. It salutes the Navajo weavers and a craft that is slowly fading away as the younger generation leaves the reservation and the craft is no longer passed down from generation to generation.
- What are your future book writing plans?
I am currently working on another book for Wiley called getting Started with Estate Planning which will be out next spring and negotiating to do a book for couples about money issues.
I live in Washington, DC, am married, have a yellow lab named Becky and a Thoroughbred named Something About Harry who I ride as often as I can through the Virginia countryside and show competitively.