My financial solvency -- like most things in life -- has come with a few strings attached. In order to keep the real and imaginary wolves from my door, I've occasionally acted in ways that haven't made me feel too swell about myself. I've been silent when I should have spoken up.
Stayed ignorant when I should have paid attention. I've remained tethered to unhappy and unhealthy work and personal relationships. I've been complicit in bad business practices and poor management. I didn't change my IRA portfolio from all those tech stocks I'd invested in hoping to get rich quick (whoops). I didn't balance my checkbook and ended up paying 18 percent interest on the overdraft that bounced over to my Visa card. I've left jobs purely because I've hated them even though they paid me well. Each of these incidents resulted in big reversals in my financial fortunes; if you graphed my net worth over the course of my life, it would look like the mark of Zorro.
Embarrassed and occasionally unnerved by my own tendency toward erratic fiscal behavior, I've stubbornly refused to examine it, instead choosing to pin my hopes on the white knight, dream job, unknown dead rich uncle, or winning lottery number that would rescue me.
Startling Statistics About Women and Money
• More than 58 percent of female baby boomers have saved less than $10,000 in a pension or 401(k) plan.
• The average woman born between 1946 and 1964 will likely be in the workforce until she is 74 years old due to inadequate financial savings.
• Between one-third and two-thirds of women now ages 35 to 55 years old will be impoverished by age 70.