On My Bookshelf

Awhile ago I had started a post on this article:
Arianna Huffington, the accidental feminist. By Meghan O’Rourke – Slate Magazine

Her motivation, she explained, was to start a “fearlessness epidemic” that would transform the lives of women. Tellingly, what moved Huffington to action wasn’t merely perceived inequality but also the immediate lack of female readership at her own site. She had been surprised to find that the readership of the Huffington Post—more than 2 million visitors a month—was predominantly male. Huffington conceived of a section of the site that would deal with what seemed to her to be the primary thing holding women back: their own fears. The resulting book may be frequently banal, then, but it is banal by choice, indicative of her habit of combining the personal and the professional, the selfless and the self-interested.

Whether unfortunately or fortunately, it got lost in one of those computer snafus that seem to have happened to me with regularity this past summer. Since then I have a new “laptop cooler” to keep that from snapping off, but I still suffer from resets from either the ISP or the host server which seem to be to blame for losing posts from my desktop. And probably bad habits to boot.

But today, I was remembering this article and some of the post I had written on it. It had to do with Huffington complaining :

In On Becoming Fearless, Huffington scolds women for being careless and clueless about money (“Even in the liberated workplace of today, a surprising number of us still think that it’s the man’s job to make and understand money”).

and the way that this summoned my own recent history in taking a crash course in real life financial responsibility. I understand why women who are independent and strong will still be remiss in money matters, because that was me. I don’t know if it is fair to attribute this to outmoded views of ” it’s the man’s job” in this, unless that is a phenomenon of the weirdly contorted fifties society of our parents day (my parents day). Women often traditionally held the purse strings for the household, even though that might have been under their husbands tutelage, or maybe it is attributable to being a feature of the pampered classes, which so many women seem to aspire to in some way. Whatever the source of financial ignorance, women ( and not just women- which is maybe more of the problem: it isn’t just women who are dummies about financial wisdom) need to know more than how to earn a living or spend the money. They need to know how to steward. Now, there is an old Bible word for you.

I came face to face with my unconsidered ignorance when I became executor of my Father’s estate. I hadn’t been paying attention to budgets or accounting or financial business of any sort since before my marriage, I simply did the daily sort of economizing in trying to spend less, shopping the sales or trying to just “make do”. Suddenly I was supposed to know something about stocks, how to track down bank information, dealing with government, wills, and all sorts of unknowns. It was a steep learning curve, but I have a liking for dealing frugally and being in control. Two things that are ideal for learning fiscal responsibility quickly.

Now to that title of the post… this all changed my bookshelf choices quite a bit. Before, my shelf was filled with religious books, garden books, homesteading manuals,interior decorating, coffee-table art books, things to do with raising children. In short, everything but finance-related reading. And I think that my new interest in trying to master handling stocks and being wise with my resources had spilled over to my husband, who though he owned his own business always struggled with the business versus the working part of it. It really was he that picked out the books from the library, and which I felt were good enough to purchase for reference and repeat reading. So those are listed in my blog here, and also in the wonderful “Library thing” which I finally explored enough to start using. It is one of those internet things which really have lots of usefulness ( check it out- it’s over there on the far right of the screen).

Maybe another time I will resume the more abstract opinions on women and why they don’t all flock to debate and political sites and why they still are so slow to pick up on their part of understanding the financial world. But for today, this is it… suggesting that a woman might do well to educate herself about money. It is neither a feminine or masculine thing to do, but as with all wisdom, it benefits everyone. To know how to handle that part of life just makes sense.