Financial Planning for Women


Now the seven of us women were sitting around a big table in the Ranch dining room. 

When I mentioned to my Ranch friends the bad feeling I get in my stomach when my life is out of balance, Linette understood right away. “That’s the feeling I’ve been having lately,” she said. “It’s like the bottom has fallen out of my stomach. And I know it’s because of the divorce and my husband’s affair. But it’s also because of my fear that I had been left out of the loop in my marriage, as far as money goes.”

Women and financial planningA waiter delivered our entrées, an eggplant lasagna and a medley of zucchini, cauliflower, and string beans, as we continued talking over dinner.

“I’m sure none of us wants to be financially upset, with that gnawing, unpleasant feeling roiling in the pit of our stomachs—especially when we’re having such delicious food and doing other good things for ourselves,” I said.

“You got that right,” Betty said with a laugh, savoring the lasagna. “But seriously, I pretty much know what I want for my financial future.”

“I do, too,” added Rachel.

June stared, a quizzical look on her face. “You know,” she mused, “that’s something I’ve never really thought about.”

“Why not?” Sadie asked.

“I guess because I don’t think it applies to me. I feel very secure about how my husband takes care of me,” June answered curtly.

“What if you didn’t have a husband?” Linette challenged. “Then what would you want?”

June was silent for a beat before answering, “I don’t know.”

“I think what we all want is very simple,” I said. “I don’t think many of us set out to be extremely rich. Rather, what we truly want is a good ‘feeling’ about money and our future—a feeling of financial security and well-being. We want to know that we’re going to be okay in all seven areas of our Wheel of Life. Our hopes and dreams include all seven spokes: good health, caring relationships, a secure and fulfilling job, meaningful friendships, mental and spiritual growth—and no financial problems.”

What Do You Want Out Of Life?

I love Money in Block Letters

“What do you want out of life, Joan?” Maggie inquired.

“First, I want to be secure. Then, I want to build wealth to the maximum of my talents, because then I can follow Oprah’s lead and give some away to make the world a better place,” I said. “But the first stage is definitely personal security—knowing that my needs and the needs of my family will be reasonably well met even if I’m not working.”

“Hey, I hear you,” Linette interjected. “After the marriage I was in, I definitely want to be financially independent. And I don’t ever want to have an emergency I can’t handle. But the most important consideration for me is my daughter’s education.”

“How about you, Betty?” I asked.

“Well, I feel lucky,” she responded. “I’ve made good money, so I’ve been able to buy most of the things I want. As for my future . . . well, I just want to make sure that I can live comfortably, on my own—following my passions—and that I won’t have to depend on family or friends—”

“Or shrinking government programs,” I suggested.

“Right. And you know something else? Like you—and Oprah— I’d also like to make a contribution and give something back to society,” Betty continued.

Women, their life goals and financial planning“I feel very strongly about that, too,” Sadie said. “I’ve been working with inner-city kids in Boston, teaching them how to read and write. It’s an after-school program, and the youngsters are such a joy. I’m so proud of them, and I get such good psychic rewards from the work. I took my group to a bookstore in Harvard Square one day and told them they could each pick out a book to read and I’d buy it for them, but only on the condition that they tell me all about the book when they’re done.”

“That’s way cool,” Maggie said. “So do you have any book reports yet?”

“Yes and no. They haven’t finished reading, but they’re giving me chapter-by-chapter recitals.” Sadie laughed. “At least they’re reading. Some of the kids could never do that before.”

The futures my friends envisioned grow from very human desires. Their dreams are practicalities rather than luxuries, lives of sharing and caring. Wouldn’t you be happy if you could fulfill them? I know I would, even though I have more than modest desires. But these are goals that lead to rich, fulfilling lives, and they are obtainable for all women.

We finished dinner and parted for the rest of the evening. I made a mental note to speak privately with Linette and Maggie. Both seemed to need a friend, someone to listen. Betty’s enthusiasm about tackling her finances clearly had been sparked, and she asked to see me professionally when we both got home. Rachel and Sadie had the same interest. Only June was reluctant to think more about her money life. Still, I suspected that our chat had awakened some concerns of hers that had been dormant.

Truth be told, we have to focus on our money lives, deliberately do financial planning, and learn the skills, behavior and psychology that show the way to our financial stability.  That’s here in this website!

Joan Perry is the publisher of, the national authority site for women and money. She is a Best Selling Author of ‘A Girl Needs Cash’, Random House; and Living Proof, Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper (co-authored with Lisa Nichols). Joan is also the creator of The Women’s Wealth Model, A Heroine’s Journey to True Wealth,. As a pioneer in the field of women’s wealth, she founded the first female-owned investment banking firm that underwrote and traded municipal bonds for major governmental entities. Now as a women’s wealth advocate, she serves as a teacher, coach, writer and speaker.

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