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Archive for Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Color of Money: Wise women share their financial advice

March 2, 2010

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Except for the occasional special coin or the Martha Washington $1 silver certificate, I always wondered why the face of a woman isn’t part of U.S. currency.

Then I saw this quote from Ivy Baker Priest, a former U.S. treasurer: “Why should we mind if men have their faces on the money, as long as we get our hands on it?”

How true.

So for March, in honor of Women’s History Month, I’ve selected four financial books written by four dynamic women to recommend for the Color of Money Book Club.

Here are the books and why I’ve selected them:

• “A Purse of Your Own: An Easy Guide to Financial Security” by Deborah Owens with Brenda Lane Richardson (Fireside, $15). I simply love using a purse as a metaphor for wealth. “More than anything, the purse represents our private financial identity,” Owens writes. “At the end of the day, creating wealth is about adding to the purse.”

Owens covers much of what you should find in this type of book. She talks about investing, saving and spending less. But she does it with a conversational tone. She’s the smart sister you might wish you had and could go to for financial advice. Owens is a 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, chief executive of Owens Media Group and the host of “Wealthy Lifestyles,” a personal finance talk show that airs on the National Public Radio’s affiliate WEAA 88.9 FM in Baltimore.

• “Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom” by Marianna Olszewski (Portfolio, $24.95). Olszewski is the founder and chief executive of Madison Financial Management, a broker-dealer and hedge fund marketing company.

Her book is part motivational, part personal finance, and Olszewski seeks to first inspire before she walks you down the path to prosperity. “A healthy mind, body and bank account are all connected,” she writes. This isn’t psychobabble. Often those who are poor money managers are unhappy and unhealthy people. Olszewski suggests you get a few of your girlfriends together and read the book as a group to follow her exercises. “The power of the tools is enhanced, and abundance comes to all of us much more quickly than if we are working on them by ourselves.”

• “Save Big” by Elisabeth Leamy (Wiley, $24.95). I’m a lifelong penny pincher who follows the cautionary advice from Benjamin Franklin that “a small leak will sink a great ship.” I use this quote to drive home to people that it’s the small expenditures in life that can add up to big losses.

But in her book, Leamy, who is a consumer correspondent for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” says buy your latte in the morning and work on spending less on the big stuff. Her personal finance philosophy: “I’ve always preferred to save a lot of money on a few things rather than a little bit of money on a bunch of things. I like to save big. Not small.” Every tip in her book has the potential to save you at least $1,000, she says. She shows you how to save on the five things we spend the most on — a home, car, credit card, groceries and health care.

• “Expect to Win: Proven Strategies for Success from a Wall Street Vet” by Carla A. Harris (Hudson Street Press, $24.95). This Wall Street veteran, who is a managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, has a lot of sage and specific advice if you need a push to the top of the career ladder.

• know we’re in a recession and so I’m not suggesting you should purchase all four books — unless you can truly afford to. But at least put them all on your list to read eventually, because each has something to offer and will help you, as Priest, the former treasurer, says, get your hands on some money.

Join the club

It’s easy to be a member of the Color of Money Book Club. We don’t meet, at least not in person. We come together for a live online discussion. Join me at 11 a.m Central time March 25 at washingtonpost.com/discussions. All four authors of this month’s selected books will be available to take your questions. And, yes, gentlemen are welcome.

Every month, I randomly select readers to receive a copy of the featured book, donated by the publisher. This month, I’ll be giving away copies of all four books. For a chance to win one of them, e-mail colorofmoney@washpost.com with your name and address. Please identify which book you would like in the subject line of your e-mail.

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