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This Week In Your Wallet: How To Be Fearless

Jean Chatzky  |  December 11, 2018

Yesterday the Fearless Girl statue moved to her new home — in front of the New York Stock Exchange (and out of the way of the Charging Bull statue it was facing).

With the recent market volatility being enough to rattle a good number of investors, I think we can all take a lesson from her. Be steadfast, her posture seems to say. Focus on your goals. We need to own the fact that we can’t control what’s happening in the markets so we should channel our energy into focusing what we can control — our savings rates and our investment allocations (i.e. our mix of stocks and bonds) for our long-term goals. The money we need in the shorter term doesn’t belong in the markets now, or ever. If yours is still there, get it out before you suffer greater losses. Then, stop watching the market’s every tick — you’re basically inviting stress into your body if you are constantly refreshing your Twitter feed. And…if you missed it, I gave some other tips for reducing stress on the Today Show this morning. You can watch here.

Money Mentors

When you have a question, especially a money-related one, you want your question answered, right? You don’t want the canned, FAQ version of an answer. That can be hard if you don’t have the right person to ask. Who might that person be? Another woman, of course, preferably one slightly older than you. Women are eager to learn about their finances but as this article argues, it’s all about who we get our information from that makes us want to learn. The author asserts that having an older female money mentor who is a co-worker, teacher, or someone else you feel comfortable broaching the subject with (it doesn’t have to be an authority figure) will be the best in terms of digesting the actual advice. 

When women do get together with the purpose of going deeper with their financial matters, the conversation doesn’t seem to stop. I would know because I’ve started hosting HerMoney Happy Hours in cities across the country (join our private HerMoney Facebook group and let me know where you’d like us to come next!). At these events, which range from groups as small as a dozen to those much larger, it’s not rare that as we finish our wine and the conversation ebbs, women exchange numbers and plan to meet up again without me. It’s so evident how much women want to help other women achieve financial peace — and the woman sitting next to you at the office or on the next mat at yoga class could be the one to help. 

Festive Dressy

Raise your hand if on the night of the annual office holiday party you try on multiple outfits, head out the door, and still aren’t sure you’ve nailed it. It shouldn’t be that hard, writes the always fabulous Jennifer Weiner in The New York Times. Whatever party you find yourself attending (the classic office party with bad fluorescent lighting, or drinks with a small group) you have to “navigate the journey from professional to party, choosing clothes that signal that you are polished without being boring, attractive without being provocative, and that you’re looking to be promoted, not propositioned,” writes Weiner. 
 
For women, dressing up (or dressing down) is never easy. Weiner argues that women’s outfits not only make a statement about how we want the world to perceive us, but they also tell a story about you. That’s a lot of weight to put on a LBD, but it’s true. Men have it easy — they have the same three or four suits on rotation, while we need to be more cognizant of outfit repeating and not being “festive dressy” enough. Weiner proposes these questions as we rifle through our closets fretting over what to wear this holiday season (and any season): “If men can wear the same thing over and over, why can’t we? If men have clothes that look good and let them kick a soccer ball, hold a baby or walk on cobblestones in the rain, where are ours? And finally, how would it feel if the only person’s approval you sought when you looked in the mirror was your own?” (P.S. Check Jennifer out on the HerMoney Podcast.) 

CFO Of The Home

Finally, according to a recent study by the Center for American Progress, women forfeit up to four times their incomes each year they stay home, after calculating missed retirement savings and Social Security contributions. But the truth is, you can be a stay at home mom and save for retirement — you just need to have a plan. The first step in the plan? Stepping into your role as CFO of the house. Just because you aren’t making any money doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in your family’s financial decisions. Look at where your family’s money is going — are you spending too much on your cable package? Do you really need that monthly health subscription box? Eliminating unnecessary spending opens up more money for you to sock away for later in life. For more tips, keep reading here.


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