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Paperback Money, a Memoir: Women, Emotions, and Cash Book

ISBN: 0312426275

ISBN13: 9780312426279

Money, a Memoir: Women, Emotions, and Cash

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Book Overview

Women learn the lesson early: Coveting money is greedy. Hustling for it is unladylike. Talking about it is crass. And so they develop a quiet contract:I'll do what it takes to get money, but I don't... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A "face-it" book about understanding women's emotional attachments to money

When Liz Perle was a little girl, her grandmother brought her into her room and produced a reticule from deep within a drawer. Stuffing a folded $20 bill into the misshapen little purse, she explained that it was the beginning of Liz's private stash. "Every woman needs money of her own that her husband never knows about." The same grandmother also stressed that polite society never discussed money. Lucky for us that Liz Perle ignored that taboo to write this book, whose subtitle is "Women, Emotions, and Cash." The book is a memoir to the extent that we learn the life experiences that brought Perle to the point where she was forced to explore her own fears and emotional connections to money. But it is also the result of interviews with over 200 women of all ages and incomes around the country, and their stories lend an added weight of authority. MONEY, A MEMOIR is not a self-help or fix-it book. It's more of a "face-it" book, as we accompany the author on a plane back from Shanghai with her four-year-old son, reluctant to count the wad of bills her soon-to-be ex-husband gave her as she left him at the airport. As she puts it, "There's nothing like losing just about everything to lay bare what's important." Thus began the process of examining her emotional relationship to and assumptions about money. She points out some sobering facts about our country: that more than half of all retired women live in poverty. That more women will file for bankruptcy this year than will graduate from college, suffer a heart attack, or be diagnosed with cancer. She talks of the emotional middle class, those who rely on money to recreate safety and surety of the mythic middle class. "We marched past the simple desire for comfort to a need for luxury." We want nice things but we don't want to think of ourselves as materialistic. As long as we experience purchases as necessities, we can escape that nasty label. And there are plenty of advertisements and catalogs to convince us that we deserve only the highest thread count in our sheets. No wonder the average credit card debt in the United States is $8,000. Several chapters explore money as a symbol of power in relationships and the not-so-pretty dances we do to avoid money conflicts. Even if we do have our own jobs and our own money, what happens when we get laid off? The author admits that between jobs she resorted to filching $20 bills from her husband's wallet --- so she could buy him a worthy present! We may not have gone that far, but how many of us have knocked a few dollars off the cost of that leather jacket when (if!) we tell our husbands? Throughout the book, Perle maintains a warm, honest, direct tone that keeps us reading about this sometimes uncomfortable topic. No finger wagging here --- just material, both expert and anecdotal, that helps us understand our own emotional attachments to cash. "Perhaps that way we can move closer to liberating ourselves from the fears and fantasies that keep us from as

A Fresh and Energizing Approach to Money

I learned of "Money: A Memoir" while listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR. I was riveted to the radio as the author, Liz Perle, recited the statistics about the numbers of women who will end up living in poverty in middle and old age. At 63, divorced, the alimony having ended, the home equity loan no longer a blessing with interest rates going up and up, and having been a performance artist since I was eight-years-old (It takes constant hustling to earn one's living as a professional storyteller, historic portrayal artist, and folksinger), I heard myself as part of those statistics. However,I also heard that if I change my attitude towards money and separate emotions, fears, and what the "Joneses" think and instead focus on my particular needs and realities, I stand a chance of not seeing my (and millions of other women's) worst nightmare come true: that of becoming a bag lady. I promptly ordered the book and read it as soon as it arrived. I could not put it down. I felt like I had found a friend who knew what I was going through and what my fears and feelings of inadequacy were. Though I would have liked a greater variety of examples of women's stories and experiences to be included in the book, Ms. Perle's own story affected me deeply. When her divorce occurred and the savings were almost gone, she sat down and looked at her own necessities minus frills. She prioritized, added, and knew what she must earn to fulfill these needs. I am now in the process of doing the same. I gained strength and courage from her words and examples. Most-importantly, reading the book somehow took away my feelings that I was no one, nothing, the scum of the earth because I am not rich and don't have a retirement plan and may even consider renting a room or two in the four-bedroom townhouse I live in alone. In other words, the book worked. It has certainly helped me to separate money from emotion in defining my value as a person, and I have embarked on a thought-out plan to earn, through my talent, the money I need for the priorities I have. Additionally, I found Liz Perle's insightful writing about how we women, even in this modern era, have been and continue to be duped by those princess stories of Prince Charming coming our way and taking care of us. She clearly points out that even if we are lucky enough to meet our Prince Charming, and, of course, he lucky enough to meet us, his Princess Charming, that money should not enter the charm, and that we women must look to provide for ourselves. I recommend this book for women of all ages and walks of life.

Excellent book every middle class woman single or married needs to read,

This is one of those rare gems of a book that you cannot put down once you begin reading it. And it imparts so much wisdom its hard to know where to start. Now I admit I came of age during the height of the feminist movement of the seventies and admit I am always taken aback when I read any book by someone who is well educated, has had enough money to live middle class, yet makes choices that go against the self preservation that the feminist leaders of the seventies talked about almost ad nauseum. The one element of the book the author doesn't deal with and she notes up front on page 2 'Since this is a book about money, I won't go too deeply into the losing-the-marriage part'. I note this simply because every book on finances and divorce note that money is the number one issue or cause, so looking deeper into this aspect would have been helpful if not interesting and educational for a lot of women. Again she notes on page 8-9 'So it was five weeks later, at the age of forty-two, I bumped down on the stormy tarmac of San Francisco International Airport with no job, no home, and no clue what was going to happen. I had those hundred-dollar bills and, as it turned out, a small savings account, but almost everything else -- even the joint credit card I carried--was in my husband's name and under his control half a world away'. Again I was shocked that in the years since the feminists had driven home the message that no woman should ever be dependent on a man and all women should have their own credit that I was reading of a woman who in her own words had fallen thru the cracks of what she knew was required. This is what makes this book so important. As she writes on pages 10-11 that she then began to encounter other women who she would interview, who lived in trailers to gated communities, who had such interesting views about money. "some of the women I talked to were really rich. Others were hovering at the bottom of the middle-class tax bracket. Yet they all admitted that money was the great unexplored territory in their emotional terrain. And in no case did ignorance turn out to equal bliss'. Now she write on page 25 'Women relate to money much differently than men do. There are many reason large and small why this is true. When I asked Stephen Goldbart, a prominent psychotherapist and codirector of the Money, Meaning,and Choices Institute, about these differences, he tells me that they are ancient and deeply embedded psychologically and biologically in both sexes. These differences are so old, so deep, and such a part of our basic wiring that they cannot be ignored.' Excuse me but I suggest that saying 'Women' rather than 'many' or 'most' women is a big mistake. Especially for those of us who savour and use the wisdom in books like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and/or Fortune in Your Cookies by Meena Cheng. As someone who was raised in a family where my brother as well as myself were expected to work save and not depe

Very eye opening :-)

Liz Perle takes a look at how us women see money and handle our finances. She spoke to about 200 women to get her research. The results are inside. A lot of women don't like to handle it or talk about it and let our emotions get in the way and let our husbands deal with it. Liz herself, had let her husband deal with the financial side of their marriage and later found herself divorced with a four year old child and out in the cold. She talks about money myths; things we tell ourselves about it. Some of those myths are; I bought it on sale, I don't buy for myself, If I ask for too much money, I will lose the job. She stress's that we have an emotional relationship with our money but if we get our emotions out of our finances we will be better off. Start taking responsibility, take control over our money and we will be happier, and hopefully not one of the many women down the track either widowed or divorced without knowledge of our finances. We then can have some power. I have learned quite a bit from this book. She gives good insight into what we should all be doing to help ourselves avoid getting into financial messes. I liked this and think many people could gain good information from reading this interesting look into why we do what we do with our money.

made me reconsider!

While I wasn't sure about reading the book at first, I'm so glad I did! Perle's prose is so effortless to read, and I was quickly absorbed into her personal story. I was also fascinated by the tales of women whose emotional relationship with money had nothing to do with me... until I realied that they did. This book gave me a depth of understanding of all the issues that surround money, and how to realize them for what they are - a longing for security, love - things we all wish for. All women should buy this book. They'll be suprised at how their personal relationships with parents, siblings, children and friends can be influenced by money, and how they can change that with the wisdom found in this book.
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