Reviewed by L.D.Y.
Hardcover, 288 pages, 2005
Reason for Reading: I’m pretty sure expanding my shoe collection as often as
possible does not, alas, really count as ‘investing.’
Synopsis: Don’t be fooled by the book’s title – Frankel’s goal is to help you find
your way to financial independence for life, not to turn you into the type of greedy
monster that would kick her best friend in the teeth if it meant a raise and promotion at
the office. Frankel outlines seventy-five mistakes women commonly make with money, and with each one expands
on the negative effects and possible motivations behind the mistakes, before
finishing up with a section of ‘coaching tips’ that can be applied to that specific problem in order to help you get your
financial situation on track.
Why you should read this book: If you’ve ever picked up a book on finances only to
have your optimism slowly drain away when you feel like you should have ten grand stuffed
away just to begin investing, this book is for you. Much of the book assumes you’re starting
from scratch (or even a hole of debt) and Frankel does a fantastic job making the reader
feel like it is possible to start small and end up with a comfortable and secure life. Being
the ‘nice girl’ can mean a lot of things in terms of money – loaning money you can’t afford
to lose because of guilt, assuming everyone else knows more than you and therefore can
handle your money better, recklessly spending money instead of dealing with your emotional
problems – so there’s something in the book that will click for almost any woman. The setup
of the book – mistake, explanation, a listing of ways to fix the problem – is very encouraging in
its simplicity because you only need to digest brief chunks of information rather than huge, overly detailed chapters. The amount of financial jargon is at a minimum, yet Nice Girls manages to leave
you feeling a lot wiser about your money. A great book to have around, both to turn a bad
situation into a good one, and to ensure a good financial situation stays that way.
Why you should avoid this book: Nice Girls won’t tell you anything too
in-depth about things like the stock market and mutual funds – think of it more as a roadmap
to refer back to when you’re overwhelmed by other books on financial advising. In other
words, yes, you’ll almost certainly want to buy a second, more technical book about finances
and investing, but after reading Nice Girls you’ll actually have an idea of what
you’re supposed to be looking for and how you can apply it to you and your situation.
Women and money. What a complex relationship. We bemoan the fact that we don’t
have enough of it. We don’t save as much as we know we should. And we too often rely on
others to manage it for us. Despite the fact that in childhood most of us get all the right
messages about the importance of being financially independent, we all do the wrong things
when it comes to accumulating the amount of wealth we need in order to be truly financially
independent. Why? Because throughout our lives we’re given multiple, often conflicting,
messages. On the one hand, we’re taught about the value of money and the need to spend and
save it wisely. On the other, we’re implicitly or explicitly taught that it’s equally
important to be kind, nurturing, and collaborative; that our real roles revolve less around
money and more around relationships.
Thinking you don’t have enough to make a difference is not only ridiculous, it’s
also dangerous. Such an attitude creates a catch-22. When you believe you don’t have
enough to invest, you don’t invest, and remaining financially dependent becomes a
certainty. Linda Stern, an investment writer for Newsweek, points out that a modest
investment of $50 monthly (less than $13 a week or $2 a day) can yield $10,600 in ten years
at historical stock market returns of 10.4 percent annually. Think about it. Fifty dollars a
month is the amount you pay for morning coffee at Starbuck’s. One dinner at a good
restaurant can cost you more than $50. For most women, coming up with $50 a month isn’t a
hardship and doesn’t require deprivation. It does, however, require a shift in thinking from
‘If I don’t have $1,000 or more to invest, it won’t make a difference’ to ‘Every little bit
COACHING TIPS [Mistake 65: Loaning Money to Family and Friends]
you loan money, probe deeply into what the money is going to be used for. It’s not a
crime to know where your money is going to go. If you think it’s not a good enough cause to
loan your money to, say so.
• Consider the reason why you would agree to loan the
money. If it’s because you have a hard time saying no or because you feel bad for the
person, think again. Don’t let your need to be liked interfere with your need to be
• Negotiate. Just because someone asks for a loan of
$5,000 doesn’t mean you have to give it. Under certain circumstances you might be willing to
loan $500 but not $5,000. Set limits on the amount you’re willing to potentially
Also recommended: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s for Canadians by Sarah Young Fisher, Susan Shelly & James Gravelle; The Money Book by Kevin Cork.
Also by this author: Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious
Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers.
Author’s website: gr8speakers.com
© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2005