Talking about money sucks; but so does being broke. Do your eyes glaze over just thinking about the mumbo-jumbo of finance? Do you break out into hives at the thought of money? Well, sister, you are not alone. In RICH BITCH, money expert and financial journalist Nicole Lapin lays out a 12-Step Plan in which she shares her experiences, mistakes and all, of getting her own finances in order. No lecturing, just help from a friend. And even though money is typically an off-limits conversation, nothing is off-limits here. Lapin rethinks every piece of financial wisdom you've ever heard and puts her own fresh, modern, sassy spin on it. Sure, there are some hard-and-fast rules about finance, but when it comes to your money, the only person who can spend it is you. Should you invest in a 401(k)? Maybe not. Should you splurge on that morning latte? Likely yes. Instead of nickel-and-diming yourself, Nicole's advice focuses on investing in yourself so you don't have to stress over the little things. But, in order to do that you have to be able to speak the language of money. After all, money is a language like anything else, and the sooner you can join the conversation, the sooner you can live the life you want, RICH BITCH rehabs whatever bad habits you might have and provides a plan you can not only sustain, but thrive with. It's time to go after the rich life you deserve, and confident enough to call yourself a RICH BITCH.
"You might not know this but stressing over money can harm your overall health. Let Nicole be the doctor for your financial health and you will feel better in more ways that you'd think." —Dr. Oz, host of the Dr. Oz Show, and Lisa Oz, host of the Lisa Oz Show
"RICH BITCH should be mandatory reading for every young professional woman who wants to take control of her financial destiny. Lapin provides unfiltered, brilliant advice to a generation of women taking aim at their own success and wealth." —Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN
"Nicole's advice is a swift kick in the pants to the young, ambitious, upstart women out there who want control over their lives, debts, and careers." —Wendy Williams, host of The Wendy Williams Show
"RICH BITCH is the manual for a new generation of women who want both job stability and financial peace of mind." —Stacy London, host of TLC's "What Not to Wear"
"Nicole does a fabulous job educating people about money while always keeping it fun and entertaining." —Alexis Maybank, co-Founder of Gilt Groupe
"Lapin's unfiltered, energetic advice speaks to anyone taking aim at their own career destiny." —Mike Perlis, CEO of Forbes
"RICH BITCH is essential reading for 21st century women wanting to rise to the top of the economic ladder. Everything that you need to know is in here, all of it said with the wit and confidence we've come to expect from Nicole." —Rebecca Taylor, designer
"If you're a woman and you like money, you need to read this book. Immediately. You can't afford to miss this one, ladies!" —Allie Webb, CEO/founder of Drybar
"Nicole delivers expert financial advice straight up, no chaser, in a tone that's as lively as it is likable." —Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, founders of Warby Parker
"Nicole brings to life in a highly readable way the real pitfalls and solutions of financial life in a more complex world." —Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin' Brands
"Whether you want to take over the world or just balance your check book, Nicole gives you the tools to save, spend, and succeed." —Randi Zuckerberg, Technology Expert
"I wish I had Nicole's book when I was starting my business. She makes business and finance feel accessible but does it in a sassy, humorous way. It's a must have for any budding entrepreneur." —Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Medalist, founder of Tsu.ya
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About the Author
NICOLE LAPIN started in finance at age 18 reporting for First Business Network. She went on to become the youngest anchor ever at CNN and then at CNBC, where she anchored Worldwide Exchange, while contributing financial reports to MSNBC and TODAY. Nicole has also served as a business anchor and correspondent for Bloomberg Television, and is a money contributor on The Wendy Williams Show. Nicole has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) certification.
Read an Excerpt
STOP SMILING AND NODDING
Embrace the Rich Bitch Attitude Every single story goes back to money. I learned that being in the news world for so long. If you want to get to the heart of any story, you just have to follow the money trail. So, let's follow the money trail of your life. Yes, that will take us through the nuts and bolts of hard-core personal finance. Of course. But it also means going down paths of topics like shacking up and taking care of yourself. "Wait, say what, Lapin? Those aren't money issues," you might be thinking. Well, sure, they're just topics about men and wellness at first blush, but they are absolutely money topics, too. Actually, to me, those are the best kinds of money stories because you don't feel like you are talking about money. And that's how I like to talk about money: in a sneak-attack way, like mixing spinach into a chocolate brownie. You don't taste it, but you still get the nutrition.
Throughout our adventure together, don't forget why we are following the money trail. We want to get to the heart of your life story, the one you have lived so far and the one you'll continue to write. So I will do a lot of storytelling: my money stories, your money stories, the ones that we can all relate to and link us all.
It's that simple: financial lessons are more easily digested through brownies and story time. Who said learning had to be boring? So here we go. It's time to learn everything about money that you need to know but don'tor think you know but don't.
Now, before we start, let me make a confession: I wasn't always this confident.
STOP THE BS AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Looking back, I wish I could talk to my younger self, whom I would have told that some guy shouldn't be the motive for coming out from behind her cowardly smile and nod. I would have told her to figure out that the Journal means the Wall Street Journal. I would have told her that Helen Thomas probably would have respected her more if she had just asked what shorting the market was instead of acting like she knew that it meant you were betting that the market would go down.
Tell yourself earlier than I did that it's enough already. You need to learn the language of moneyand don't think you don't because you aren't on TV talking about it. Money speak comes up in all aspects of life: from jobs to social situations to relationships. So the sooner you can understand and speak it, the sooner you'll be able to accomplish what you want to accomplish and the sooner you'll be able to live the life you want to livethat's what being a Rich Bitch is all about.
WHAT IS A RICH BITCH?
Let me be clear. Being a Rich Bitch is good. (Rich Bitches are the good kinda bitches, like Glenda in The Wizard of Oz, not the bad bitches like the Wicked Witch of the West.) It's about empowerment. It's about taking control.
Being a Rich Bitch means going after what you want in life by getting the financial part in order. Because let's be honest: you need money to live the life you want. And that's what this book is going to help you do. You're going to set your goals, and then together we're going to figure out how to achieve them. My mission is to make you so inancially it that you're conident to call yourself a Rich Bitch.
A Rich Bitch has the self-awareness to know exactly what she wants from her lifewhether it's buying a house, chasing her dream career, having three kids or noneand she is fluent in the language of money that is the key to achieving those goals. The dirty little secret is that at some point in our lives, we're all scared when it comes to money. You're not the only one. I am proud to admit that I've been in your shoes. And I am proud to talk honestly about my setbacks along the way, because I made it through a very bumpy journey. And you can, too. I promise each and every one of you aspiring Rich Bitches, I've got your back. I'm going to tell you exactly what you need to know, straight-up without any jargon. Rich Bitch is your Rosetta Stone for finance.
I didn't work at a bank or get my MBA, and I'm not going to pretend like I did. I just figured it out the hard way. This book is everything I have learned about money, warts and all.
Just to warn you: I'm going to admit to some embarrassing stuff in this book, so feel free to laugh at me; in fact, I want you to. I want you to be able to smile when you think about money issues. So if I have to be teased for my personal and financial foibles, I'm happy to take one for the team, as long as you remember one thing: learning about the financial world is not as bad as it seems, and once you learn the language I'm about to teach you, you will be able to join conversations I couldn't back in the day. It's only then that you will no longer feel left out. It's only then that you will feel truly empowered.
Let's get one more thing straight before we begin: you're not going to read this and then all of a sudden make a million bucks. This isn't financial boot camp. It's a sustainable financial diet, one that encourages small indulgences to keep you from binging later on. I wish there were a magic potion but, as we've all seen from those protein or grapefruit or master cleanse diets, the extreme short-term diet ultimately just keeps us in terrible shape. And when you don't get a six-pack after a day, what happens next? You quit because you feel like a failure.
And we are in it to win it, bitches.
THE FIRST STEP: ADMIT YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
I like using steps for anything I try to accomplish, especially in the realm of money stuf, because it prevents you from having an anxiety attack when you don't accomplish everything all in one day. Like with learning any new skill, things need to be broken down into steps so that you're doing one thing at a time. When I did my taxes for the irst time, I didn't set aside one day to do them. I set aside an entire month. Day one: uncrinkle my receipts. That was it. Success! If I had told myself I needed to sit down and do all my taxes and not get up until they were done, I would have panicked and found myself on the couch with a pint of Haagen-Dazs, taxes incomplete. This is not going to happen to you on my watch. Baby steps, baby. And the first one, affectionately borrowed from our friends at other 12-step recovery programs, is, all together now: ADMIT YOU HAVE A MONEY PROBLEM.
There, we've said it. You have a problem. I had a problem. We've all got problems and this is just one of them. Maybe it's a HUGE problem for you right now, but it's one that I can help you cross off your list. And now, with feeling: I HAVE A MONEY PROBLEM.
Okay, phew. Step 1: done and done! Now let's move on.
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY; IT'S ABOUT YOUR LIFE
I'm not going to start telling you how perfect you need to be with your money, how you should start clipping coupons and stop buying your latte, how saving for retirement should be your main goal and how you've been doing it all wrong. What made me fall in love with talking about money and figuring out how it worked wasn't about what would happen to me in fifty years. It was about what was happening right then. It was being disappointed in myself for not being able to join basic money conversations and interactions, not being able to fit in (which I realized later wasn't always the right thing, but a normal desire, nonetheless).
It wasn't just the fear of being weird or awkward that motivated me to understand money. It was also fear of the debt I found myself in and all of the things I wanteda dinner out tonight, a car soon, a house someday, maybe even a childthat I saw no way to afford. I was afraid of the path I was on. I needed to talk to someone about how to get on the right track.
Still, the more I finally started to want to have these conversations, the more I realized that no one really wanted to have them with me. Let's face it. Women will talk about anythingfrom blow jobs to diarrheabefore we will talk about money, even with our close friends. We will share the number on our bathroom scale before the number on our pay stub. Try it as a social experiment. Ask people both. They will address the weight one first, albeit reluctantly, then hem and haw over the salary one. Would you do the same? Be honest. Back then, I would have, too. Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is.
It's easy to get in trouble with your finances. Every time you turn around, there's some ad telling you what you really need to have. And I'm not saying you shouldn't spendit's your life to enjoy, and, yes, even indulge when it's appropriatebut to do that, you need to know what you're doing with your money. It's why you picked up this book.
Yes, breaking news: here is a inancial expert who doesn't tell you you're stupid if you don't make your own coffee in the morning. Financial health isn't about deprivation. That's not a ticket to knowledge or power. It's a scare tactic that makes you feel bad about yourself and keeps you out of the money conversation. It doesn't need to be that way.
Money lingo is actually not that tough to learn. I know it's meant to sound complicated and make outsiders feel all intimidated and, thus, not want to talk about it. You might be thinking, "All those numbers and math, shoot me now!" But, I pinkie swear, the math part is easy. It's the humanities part of money that's tricky. Money is cultural. It's filled with conflict. And in the end, it's about character. Your character.
Most of us value honesty when it comes to character. When it comes to money, you have to be open and honest with yourself, too. It's like cheating on a workout. You're only cheating yourself, and you'll never lose weight. A quick ix here and now will not solve the problem in the long run.
I've always said the best diet is the one where you only eat looking at yourself naked in a mirror. Will you eat the chocolate cake then? Same goes for money: look at the real version of yourself. Once you've looked into the financial mirror, would you rack up ive grand in clothing debt? Didn't think so.
So let's get naked.
Conventional wisdom: Finance is complicated and difficult. You need experts to talk to you about things you don't understand, because this is all over your head.
False. You can do this! Everything you need to know and do to take control of your financial life is right here in this book. Yes, there will be times when it is wise to seek out expert advice, but you can be the chief financial officer (CFO) of YOU. In fact, you're perfect for the job.
Conventional wisdom: Money is about math, and, if you can't do math, you're screwed.
The truth is that when it comes to personal finance, any third grader can do the math. What truly matters is knowing how you want to liveand then translating that knowledge into smart, swift and strategic financial action. That's right: it's not about math. It's about you. Who you are and who you want to be. Put another way, how you handle money is an expression of your character.
Conventional wisdom: You have to change your bad financial habits all at once.
Hardly. We're going to conquer 12 steps to getting your financial shit together in this book, one at a time. This isn't a crash diet. It's a sustainable long-term plan to get you where you want to be. And as with any sensible diet program, don't beat yourself up if you slipjust pick yourself up and keep moving forward, your eyes focused straight ahead at the fabulous life that will someday be yours.
Oh, and BTW: This isn't meant to be school. Still, a little review never hurts, and so at the end of each step, I'm going to debunk some of what you might think of as financial advice. Ideally it serves as a chance for you to rethink conventional financial wisdomand begin to think for yourself.
Table of Contents
Step 1 Stop Smiling and Nodding: Embrace the Rich Bitch Attitude xii
Step 2 Hello, It's a Marathon and A Sprint: Get a Grip on Your Future 16
Step 3 Your New LBD: Create a Little Budget Diary That Fits YOU 38
Step 4 Put a Roof on It: Home Is Where Your Stuff Is 75
Step 5 Eat, Pray, Drive: Transportation, Food, Insurance and Other Essential Expenses 101
Step 6 Get That Monkey off Your Back: Paying Down Debt 126
Step 7 Lock it Up: Saving Sucks but So Does Being Broke 161
Step 8 Work It, Bitches: Put Your Career in Overdrive 181
Step 9 Aging Gracefully: You Will Get Older-Do It in Style 225
Step 10 Make It Grow, Baby, Grow: Investing Is Just Not That Serious 257
Step 11 Being Under, Over and on Top of "The Man": Rich Bitches in a Man's World 288
Step 12 Bringing it Home: Your Life Is Your Business 312