Monday, January 16, 2012

Book 6: How Did You Get This Number

I love Twitter for its jokes, its news but, most of all, that it exposes me to so many new things. Whenever Twitter leads me to something new, I never remember how I landed there, who took my hand, what path I chose. However, it really opens my horizons and makes me wonder why I didn't know it before. Like Sloane Crosley.

"How Did You Get This Number" is a great story about growing up, or being of age finally learning. Her command of observational story telling and mastery of adjectives makes me, a former government PR flack, want to write a "power word" list.

There's something about your 20-somethings that make you feel both old and incapable. You should be so much farther along in life than you are. Sloane embraces that while making it feel like more of an adventure than the trip where you lost your map and no one spoke English. Which is what I feel like all the time.

I can't wait for my beach trip in May. This book will be great to re-read in a place where the world seems more stable, where you can breathe.

Then I apologized to the travel gods for thinking I could do this, remembering there's a reason we don't always fulfill the wishes of our younger selves once we're grown.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Value of Good Advice

You can get really good advice when you ask for it.

Around 2006, I was facing the end of another failed relationship. Something about this one didn't sit right. I suspected it wasn't him, it was that I was a spoiled brat. I decided to ask the experts (my ex-boyfriends) a burning question. "Am I difficult?"

Most of them were polite enough not to give a real answer. One, however, fired right back, "It's not that you're difficult. You're immature and unnecessarily confrontational."

A different time, I was thinking about taking a new job. I called my previous supervisor to get his advice. We talked about the job, the responsibilities, the different politics involved. "Here's something else to think about. You're very opinionated, which is great, but when someone makes a decision different from what you recommended, you can be... stubborn about it."

All of the advice was solicited and came from people I really respected. It was also advice I really needed to hear, even if I didn't completely agree. Years later, I've really worked to accept and act on the advice and it often comes to mind when I find myself lapsing into the old bratty me.

So, ask for advice. People that know you best want to help you. You just need to be ready to accept whatever they say.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Zooey and Personal Finance

We generally don't look to Hollywood for money advice. With paydays that eclipse what most of us make in a year, it's a place of excess. Fancy foreign sports cars, designer clothes, and huge jewelry would sink us pretty easily. Even still, many celebrities end up filing for bankruptcy or losing homes by giving into the hype and spending outside their generous means.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I came up when I formulated this blog post. I found your Hollywood personal finance role model: Zooey Deschanel. 

No, really. Zooey and her husband recently announced they were divorcing and, as part of their court filings, Ms. Deschanel attached her income and expense statement. Zero credit card debt, millions in investments and she only spends about a quarter of her monthly income. 

Yes, she's still spending over $20,000 a month, but she's done what so many of struggle to do: live below our means and invest in our future. And, I might add, she's still fabulous. She's certainly a financial role model to me.