Like most people, I have experienced my share of life transitions, some more jarring than others. One in particular stands out as the catalyst to which my idea to write Prince Not So Charming® came about.
For many of us, we grow up believing one day we will find our prince and live happily ever after—but then dreams turn into reality, and we end up making rather unwise choices. In my case, despite my education and professional achievements, I did exactly that. My professional credentials failed to provide the skills I needed to find the right mate.
My parents did not provide solid marital role models. Although they stayed together until my mother passed away from breast cancer when I was 35, they didn’t have a fairytale marriage. My father was not the best husband or father, and after my mom died, he seemed to give up on life, and passed away five years later. Given my experience, it is not surprising that I did not choose wisely in my own personal life.
Several years later, I sat in the emotional storm that rages around all of us in the midst of divorce—feeling hurt, betrayed, and angry. I was a single mom with a demanding full time job. And then—I can’t explain how or when or even why—through my tears, I suddenly thought about my beautiful daughter—so sweet, kind, and healthy! I contemplated how fortunate I was to have such a great career and that I had plenty of financial resources to do almost anything I needed and most of what I wanted.
Embarrassment swept over me in having succumbed to a pity party. I am so blessed, I thought. Then I sat and wondered, how do other women cope when they have children to care for and don’t have the financial resources to leave an abusive or bad relationship or their husband dies or gets sick? Or if they do have the strength to leave, are then cast into poverty. My mother, who did not have her own resources to live independently, felt her only option was to remain in a volatile marriage. I realized that even today, many women across the country find themselves in a similar predicament. The reality is that one out of four women in the United States will be a victim of domestic violence during their lifetime. So what can they do?
I felt that if I could help some women protect themselves financially, then maybe they would have greater choices in the event that their prince became “not so charming.” This inspired my suddenly overwhelming passion that fueled a year-and-a-half-long process to complete Prince Not So Charming®. My sole purpose of this book was to help other women find their financial, as well as their emotional, independence.
I thought that if women have choices, they will be less likely to be dependent upon anyone. In fact, women who have read Prince Not So Charming® regularly share with me their own tragic stories. No doubt, too many live on the brink, teetering dangerously close to financial disaster.
I wrote Prince Not So Charming® as a call to action to inspire and empower you to take control of your finances regardless of the obstacles you face. The reality is that nine out of ten women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in time in their lives. Following a divorce or separation, women’s household income declines by an average of 41 percent—close to twice the level of income loss that men experience.
In addition, once a woman is widowed, her household income declines by 37 percent, compared with a 22 percent drop for widowers. The income disparities women experience over time can have significant implications on the money they are able to save for retirement. In fact, compared to men with the same savings and investing pattern, after 30 years women typically have a 25‒30 percent shortfall.
What women need now are the tools to help them get back on track financially. By working with a competent, qualified financial planner, women can take steps to increase their optimism and financial outlook for funding their retirement years.
In the weeks ahead, I will provide some financial tips on The Shrive Report Newsletter (sign up here) to help address some typical planning issues women face. This information will help you start thinking in the right direction, but it is not a substitute for meeting with a competent professional to create a solid plan that addresses your specific goals and needs. Together we can begin to make a difference in the world, starting today!
Nothing contained in the book Prince Not So Charming® should be misconstrued as investment, financial, legal, tax or other professional services advice, but is general information only. Nor is the information provided in the book being offered by United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC, its parent, or its subsidiary entities. You should seek the services of a competent professional before beginning any improvement program. The story and its characters and entities are fictional. Any likeness to actual persons, either living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
Kathleen A. Grace, CFP®, CIMA® is a Managing Director at United Capital. Read more about her book on her website www.PrinceNotSoCharming.com or to purchase the book click here. A portion of the net proceeds of the book Prince Not So Charming® will benefit Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc. To learn more and provide your support please visit: www.womenindistress.org
Advisors Perspective, March 2011 http://www.advisorperspectives.com/newsletters11/pdfs/Womens_Views_of_Wealth_and_the_Planning_Process.pdf
Investment News, “Women Face a Retirement Income Glass Ceiling” 7/31/2012
Women and Retirement: Overcoming Retirement Incomes Challenges Facing Women. Insured Retirement Institute’s July 2012