I recently read a book about financial issues for women that I highly recommend. Sarah Van Breathnach was a woman who seemed to have it all. She was a best-selling author, had a cottage home in England, a grand apartment in Manhattan, speaking engagements galore and lots of money. Unfortunately, this all came undone when she relied upon her new husband to manage her money and then the two of them divorced. It was at that point she realized she was broke and the bill collectors came calling. The result of this painful point in her life is her new book, “Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Security.” This book is a must read for any woman who wants to start enjoying “living well, spending less and enjoying more.”
Although there are tidbits of sound financial advice in the book – not living beyond your means, not relying on others for your financial security and how to dig out of debt – the thing that makes this book different is that it examines our emotional relationship with money. I (and, I guess others) had never really thought about my relationship with money and how that relationship influences so many things about my life. Additionally, I was a history major in college and Ms. Van Breathnach used many quotes from World War I and World War II era ladies magazines in her story.
The most delightful part of the book, however, was the suggestion to create a contentment chest to hold things you treasure — notes from your children or grandchildren when they were little; brochures from that cruise you hope to go on one day; pictures of loved ones; clippings from magazines or newspapers that made you smile; or anything that you can look at and it will make you smile. Once you have your contentment chest, when you are feeling blue or about to “jump out of your own skin because you’re worried about money” you can open up your chest (which can just be a cardboard box) and it will cheer you up and get your mind off of your troubles.
While there are many good financial planning books for the serious female investor, Peace and Plenty is a light read that just might give you a little more insight into yourself and your relationship with money. So whether you have a cottage house in England or a condo in Baton Rouge, “Peace and Plenty” is bound to offer you some advice about your finances that will benefit you.