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.)
Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

What do the classic movie “Gone With The Wind,” the TV sitcom “That Girl,” and Lucille Ball have in common? At first glance, the answer is easy. They were hugely popular at the time but have stood the test of time as they continue to have fans decades later. Red, a theater major and movie buff, could explain all the “artistic” reasons why, but Black has (as always) a very different perspective.

It has to do with role models and how they can come from the most unexpected places – both real and fictional. Scarlett O’Hara, a heroine from the Civil War, was a fiercely independent woman (even by today’s standards), while Marlo Thomas portrayed “That Girl” as perhaps the first “modern woman”, one living on her own in a big city and pursuing a career vs. a family. But as Black points out to Red in “RED & BLACK … Girls Can Do Anything!,” it’s Lucille Ball that’s the ultimate badass (Black’s word, not Red’s), proving that you can be an amazing actress and comedian while simultaneously being a pioneer in the TV industry and a shrewd businesswoman.

And what better time than Women’s History Month to reflect on how women can inspire other women to do amazing things? After all, Black may not admit to being a role model, but she will admit that her racing a Ferrari has inspired countless girls over the years, and women of all ages are amused when she says, “How hard can it be? Boys do it.”

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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As much of a history buff as I am, I’m embarrassed to admit that for a long time, I didn’t know March was Women’s History Month. But now that I do, I’m amazed by all the inspirational stories of women’s remarkable achievements.


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Too bad Natasha and Sawyer do not still live at home; it would be fun to start a conversation by asking them what women they find inspiring.


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I already know who they would pick. The first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And I’d have to agree with them. Your Ferrari racing has made an impact on so many people. But especially girls.


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Until you mentioned it several years ago, I never thought about that. In the 1970s, I was one of the few women in business school. I then made a career in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. I am used to being a “token” female.


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Trust me. I watch people whenever we’ve done speaking engagements. It’s predictable ... we put up the family tree, and Natasha and Sawyer get awws, but your two racecars get everyone’s attention.
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