Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

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Living from a Position of Financial Strength

By Manisha Thakor, MBA, CFA, and Sharon Kedar, MBA, CFA
Excerpt from Get Financially Naked, Copyright © 2010 by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Media, Inc. Co. All rights reserved.

When you live your life from a position of financial strength, you are able to spend your time and energy the way you want to. You are able to pursue the types of work and activities that truly make your heart sing. Living your life from a position of financial strength starts with knowing where you want to go financially. The reality is that most Americans do not think about their monetary goals. However, in this financial world gone wild, it’s never been more important to have a clear vision of what you want. We’d like you to respond to the following sentence with whatever comes to mind: “When I live my life from a position of financial strength, I will…” Simply write down whatever—and we really do mean whatever—pops into your head.

Money is a topic that stirs up many emotions. Here is a sampling of what other women have said when they think of the word M-O-N-E-Y.
• Yuck, I don’t want to deal…I do deal, but I must admit, it’s not a joy!
• Stress on one hand and freedom on the other.
• A source of anxiety.
• Freedom, luxury, power to do what I want, power to improve the world.
• Something to be earned and saved so that you can take care of yourself, the cause of most arguments, and a validation of my hard world.
When it comes to money, your past really is more like a prologue. Your formative experiences have a tremendous influence on you. This was certainly true for us.
While growing up, we each came to believe that money enables independence for ourselves as individuals and ultimately for all women in general. However, the way in which we each arrived at that viewpoint was strikingly different. This helps highlight two key points about money histories. First, they are highly personal. Two people may draw similar conclusions from very different circumstances or entirely different conclusions from the exact same circumstances. Second, you have the power to take whatever happened in your past and reframe that history into a more empowering view of money. In other words, once you uncover your current financial beliefs, you have the power to change them.

To follow, are our individual money histories. We have shared these so you can see the way in which highly personal influences and defining moments in each of our pasts came together to create our current views on money. Our paths are not inherently good or bad—they just are what they are. It doesn’t matter whether you struggled more or less than we did. It doesn’t matter if you found money more or less than we did growing up. In fact, we’d argue that the most unique part of each of our personal money histories is that we had an interest in the subject growing up (which probably explains why we ended up writing books about the topic!).

Manisha’s Money History, in Her Own Words

When I think of the word M-O-N-E-Y “freedom, independence, and life’s small joys” come to mind. I’m definitely more focused on money than most people are. A big part of this is because I was one of those rare individuals who grew up in a household where money was talked about openly and honestly, and the basics of personal finance were taught. As a result, I love talking about money. Sometimes a bit too much! Saving and budgeting are my particular fortes. I can tell you accurately within $10 where every dollar I’ve spent since 1992 has gone. Geeky, even obsessive, I know. But it’s what I need to do to feel financially confident. My money history is defined by three key life experiences:

Growing Up a Dork. There really is no other way to put it. When I was in grade school, I was a smart, dorky looking girl.

My Parents. Growing up, my mother read gender-neutral books to me like Free to Be You and Me. My parents always encouraged me to be anything I wanted.

Virginia Woolf. When I was in college, I stumbled across a copy of Virginia Woolf’s book A Room of One’s Own. It literally changed my life. Her argument that money gives women freedom to become their best selves has become my guiding mantra.

I am a woman who views money as an enabler, as a powerful tool that allows me to be myself and help the people and causes I care about.

Sharon’s Money History, in Her Own Words

When I hear the word M-O-N-E-Y, I think of the word independence.

I am the child of immigrants. My father came to the United States with only an airplane ticket and very little money. He enrolled in engineering school in New Jersey and made his way from there. He met my mom while in school. She too was an immigrant without much money.  When I was born, my parents did not have health insurance. My father had just lost his job one month prior and had to pay for the birth of twins. Money was tight.

Growing up, I was a lucky kid.  Unlike my parents and grandparents, we always had food on the table and clothes on our backs.   Relative to the rest of the world, I had absolutely nothing to complain about.  However, I knew—even though we never talked about it explicitly—that money was tight and we needed to watch our dollars carefully.

At a very early age, I made a decision. Once I was capable, I was going to make enough so that money would never be the driving force in life decisions. That’s why I started creating businesses at age five.  My first business was selling bookmarks with stickers (five cents) and “bear” magnets (twenty-five cents) to friends. I enlisted my twin sister to help me get the business going.

I have always viewed money as an enabler to lead the life you want to lead, from a position of strength.

Read more of Get Financially Naked!

By Manisha Thakor, MBA, CFA, and Sharon Kedar, MBA, CFA
Excerpt from Get Financially Naked, Copyright © 2010 by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Media, Inc. Co. All rights reserved.

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