Words & Banter

It’s Not Complicated … It’s Just DOLLARS & SENSE

Money. It’s the first thing Red thought about when her husband came home and, totally unexpectedly, told her he was fired. And what was the first thing she did? She freaked out (Black likes to say that Red finally used her theater degree), assuming the worst about their financial situation. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she was certain she couldn’t “do” personal finance.

She then made a third foolish assumption … that her sister Black, who had an M.B.A. in International Finance, would tell her what to do. Instead, after giving Red a few days to deal with her emotions, Black started to ask her basic questions about their financial situation, and it became obvious Red’s default setting was to “freak out”.

And so Red’s journey (which Black turned into our bestselling book, What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!) began with learning the basics of personal finance and, ultimately, she’d realize that Black wasn’t being sarcastic when she said,

When it comes to money, you have two choices: you can let your money control you, or you can control your money.

But first, Red, a straight-A student, had to overcome the unfounded belief that she wasn’t capable of learning about money. She had to find a way to get around the mental roadblocks of being intimidated by financial terminology and concepts, which the very thought of gave her a headache. And then Black simply asked,

Can you add and subtract? If so, you’re qualified to “do” personal finance.

So, whether you’re more like Red (was), feel like you’ve got a good handle on your money but are always looking for tips and tools, or merely are curious about Black’s unusual ways of looking at money (or her sarcastic comments), we think you’ll enjoy the DOLLARS & SENSE section on our new site in the new year.

Until then, and especially since “tis the season for spending”, we want to share some of our favorite money posts:

P.S. – And whether you’re trying to survive the holiday season (this checklist is about more than just money) or looking forward to a fresh start in the New Year (although maybe not the “resolutions” part), stay tuned as later this month we’ll have a post dedicated to THE BIG PICTURE. (FYI, our subscribers get sneak peeks before we post online.)

Warm and fuzzy? Yes, and proud of it, too. After graduating with a degree in Theater Arts, Tina Pennington (aka “Red”) met an Englishman, fell in love, and traveled the world. His career took them everywhere, with stints in the Netherlands, England, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, until they moved to Texas in the early 2000s.

With two red-headed children, Sawyer and Natasha, and one red labradoodle, Red had the picture-perfect suburban life. That was until … her husband got fired. What had seemed like a fairy tale life soon unraveled to reveal something far from it.

Years later, it ended up having a happy ending, as Red says, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

If you think today’s politics are ugly … let’s talk about a man who named himself “dictator for life” of the Roman empire, and is then assassinated by a group of senators, including his best friend. (However, there’s a “pretty” part – Cleopatra was his mistress.) Food trivia and leadership lessons aside, the fact July is named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

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Pragmatic and blunt? Yes, with more than a hint of sarcasm. Unlike her sister, Mandy Williams (aka “Black”) is all business. With an MBA in International Finance from NYU and London Business School, Black was a driven executive who retired from the male-dominated oil and gas industry before she was 40. Boredom quickly set in, so she began racing Porsches, then Ferraris, and became the first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis.

Living in Texas, Black has been involved with the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for decades and has raised over $1 million.

Black often says, “You have two choices in life – you can be the passenger along for the ride, or the driver and steer where you want to go.”