Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Dirty Sexy Money

There are those in life that measure success in terms of their material wealth and others for whom this is less of a factor. So what you may say? This post has come about because money seems to be featuring a great deal in many of my transactions at present. This phase started two or three weeks ago when Steve who's co-writing a book with me, asked the other member of our triumvirate how much he would have to be paid to sleep with a stranger a la Indecent Proposal who in turn asked me. In both cases, we initially tried to dodge the question then claimed the moral high ground or created our own rules around it but the bottom line is we all have a price. Try the exercise on good friends of yours and see what happens - one thing I promise is that it will be illuminating.

More recently, money was at the root of a rift between me and another. Naively I had assumed that as both of us would claim to be spiritual beings, we would see situations the same way. If you are a Mum you will understand how flawed that perspective is. Just because two people are Mums does not mean they will get on or have the same parenting style. Likewise in my scenario, I realised it was important to recognise that we are both individuals with our own truth and different values. It was a hard one to learn.

Another issue that came up was around insurance and what adequate cover looks like. We all need some policies in place whether we work for ourselves or are employed. Critical illness insurance is very much a choice and many people decide not to have it believing either that they will never need it and or that it is too costly to justify. There are situations however when having or not having it will determine whether costs such as the mortgage can be paid. My OH and I reviewed our finances recently in particular what arrangements we had in place for getting the mortgage paid if one of us died and decided my cover was inadequate so now we are looking into term life insurance.

Another good friend of mine is in the process of being made redundant and she is seriously considering whether England is the best place for her and her family. Her view is that University tuition fees in the UK will rival those in the States in 15 years time only parents will not have the savings in place to help their children through in most cases. She also recognises how tough this country is to live in from the perspective of quality of life due to the long hours work culture inherent in many well paid jobs. As a result she is seriously considering emigrating to her husband's country as she believes that they will all be better off on a number of levels. On a personal note I will miss her but I can see that it may well be the best decision for her and her family.

This weekend, I spent a day visiting a friend in the rehabilitation hospital in Leamington Spa. She has just had a stroke and also has a pre-teen to care for made more complex by the fact that she is a single parent with no extended family at all. As you may know rehabilitation from a stroke can take months. Said friend is self-employed and due to the cost of critical illness insurance, has no cover. The irony is that she is supposed to be resting and relaxing to ensure a speedy recovery and yet she has some major issues to resolve including the care of her child whilst she is in hospital, which could be several months yet.

What does all this have to do with you is a question you might be asking yourselves. What's the big picture? It is not just that we all have a different take on our financial commitments and responsibility....It's bigger than that. It is to say that no matter how much certainty we have in our lives, insecurity is just round the corner. In fact the only constant theme in life is that change is a given. All we can do is decide how we respond to that. Do we embrace it believing that whatever is happening is happening for a reason which will reveal itself in due course or do we fight it every step of the way in a mistaken attempt to maintain control whatever the cost? Reflecting on it all it makes me realise that Jessica's view that we do not encourage our clients to give up that day job without thinking through how else to deal with dissatisfaction on the one hand and the implications of such a decision on the other.

So here are some questions for you to mull over: What's your relationship with money? Do you know how much you have at any given point? To what extent have you ensured that you have provided for those you have responsibility for?


  1. Couldn't agree more! You've highlighted so many of the difficulties that can hit women at any stage of life. In our book Sheconomics we try to encourage women also to have a cushion behind them (that's a financial one, not a well-padded bottom!).
    Ideally this should be a sum equal to the amount needed to cover 6 month's living expenses should the worse happen. Tuck it away and know that, should disaster befall you. at least you won't have to fund it with your credit card.

  2. hi just started following your blog, mmmm money, I used to think I didn't care about it but thats when I had no kids and had disposable income. I think after facing some stressful financial situations, I realise that every penny does count and if it doesn't make much difference to you then it will to someone else. I am still guilty of wasting money from time to time but I try to be a lot less wasteful now without being mean!

  3. Thanks for your comments Karen and very sensible advice about the 6 months cushion. Something I may just consider doing myself. Hello Anna great to have a new follower. As you say it is all about balance. I expect we all get it wrong from time to time - I know I do ;-)

  4. I have my own bank account and always know whats in there. As for making sure I am covered medically and my family just in case I think it is really important. It may seem like dead money but you never know.