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


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I’m not sure who’s more excited about Sawyer doing so well at her weekend waitressing job at P. F. Chang’s, me for how she’s balancing her college classes with working, or her because she’s making good money.


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I am impressed that she plans to save most of it so that she has a nest egg when she graduates. Too bad you did not have the same understanding of money when you were her age. Or, even when you were in your 20s or 30s.


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You’re never going to let me forget that, are you? I can’t help that I found personal finance intimidating, so avoided it. Plus, it’s confusing. And tedious. And boring.


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That is one way to look at it – but as you eventually learned, if you can add and subtract, you can “do” personal finance. But, you have made significant progress. You used to kick and scream about it; now you just whine.


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Fine, but just because I now have a better understanding of personal finance, it doesn’t make it any more interesting. But just like brushing my teeth, I know it’s something I need to do because not doing it has repercussions.


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Great analogy, especially as personal finance is important for everyone.

red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


But just because something’s important doesn’t mean “everyone” wants to know about it, or do it. For years, we’ve been saying that people would rather be entertained than educated.

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I will never forget how surprised I was that our book, which was supposed to be the basis of a sitcom, ended up being a powerful way to “teach” personal finance and other life lessons. I envisioned people enjoying the sisterly banter and all the other “characters”, so was focused on them, not the subject matter.

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Yes, while I was focused on my personal crisis, you were busy turning it into a book – a brand – a business.

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Once I realized that the most successful sitcoms were about relationships and basic day-to-day living, it seemed logical to use your financial predicament as the backdrop. It was never intended as a “laugh and learn”.

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Well, “I Love Lucy” never did an episode on her trying to understand financial statements. And I doubt “Seinfeld” or “Friends” ever talked about credit cards.

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Missed opportunities. Think about our “Assets and Liabilities” story. You started freaking out at the mere mention of financial statements. Telling me how I was the MBA and you were the theater major. Then, when I thought I was making it easier by focusing on assets and liabilities, you completely lost it. Insisting you could not do this. Complaining that you hated math. Your theatrics alone would make it a funny scene.

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Thanks. Happy to help!

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Then, when I simplified it and said I wanted to talk about “what you own” versus “what you owe,” you calmed down. And, much to my amusement, you then declared that you could do that, just not assets and liabilities.

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How was I supposed to know they were the same thing?

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The point is that it is a funny story. And one that many people seem to enjoy, as many people can relate to being intimidated by terminology.


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That, and thinking that understanding, let alone “doing”, personal finance requires an MBA. Let’s face it, by creating mental roadblocks, I became my own worst enemy.


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That is an understatement. But, that “character flaw” can lead to an assortment of amusing episodes. As does thinking that just having more money was the answer, not realizing the key was how you handled the money you had. That having more might mean larger mistakes.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

Is this where you’re going to tell me about all the celebrities, athletes, and lottery winners who made (or won) millions, but ended up broke or in bankruptcy? I still love how you use Nicholas Cage and his purchase of two ‒ not one, but two ‒ castles to make that point!


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If these people understood the basics of personal finance, they would have made very different decisions. It is as simple as money coming in and money going out. I guess no one asked them if they could add and subtract.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

The first time you asked me that, I thought it was just another one of your sarcastic remarks. And whenever we tell that to people, whether an auditorium full of eighth-graders or one person in a business meeting, they always laugh.


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I miss doing speaking engagements. I loved asking people how many like math. Everyone would look around to see who the nerds in the room were. Then when I asked how many like money, everyone’s hands went up. It is all in the packaging.


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Which is why I’d love to circle back to the sitcom idea. But how do we get Hollywood to see that a sitcom about personal finance and other Life 101 topics could be successful? And funny!


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Easy. By not telling them. We focus on the characters that are resonating with audiences of all ages ‒ a warm and fuzzy stay-at-home mom and her pragmatic and sarcastic retired executive sister who races Ferraris, who are surrounded by an assortment of other “characters”.


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So, just totally ignore the “laugh and learn”.


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When I first envisioned your crisis as a sitcom, I saw it as something to be disclosed on a need-to-know basis, and at the time, you did not need to know. This is no different.


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Now that’s funny.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by chatiyanon on iStock

It seems the pandemic has resulted in people “recycling” relationships from their past, and I have already admitted to doing that and then being “ghosted” (the relationship was doomed the first go-round and trying to resurrect it reminded me of why). Although on the surface it may seem rude, there are a few “legitimate” reasons for ghosting, some less obvious than others.

Looking back to decades of dating, a handful of engagements, and two failed marriages, I realized none of them started as friendships. I will also admit that very few started with sparks of passion (I know those fizzle out), but all were analyzed in terms of compatibility. Too bad I was not aware of research indicating the majority of romantic relationships begin as long-term friendships.

This story began as an impromptu business meeting when I asked to speak to the manager of a food franchise I frequented, thinking there might be an opportunity to create a joint marketing opportunity with Red & Black. There was no way to know the attractive man sitting toward the back of the store, who I noticed when I first walked in, would be the district manager.

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


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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Photo by Epiximages on iStock


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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!