Joanne is a self-described "Chicago girl." A happily married, working mom with an 11-year-old daughter and a well-paying job in a tough, male-dominated industry: oil and gas.
"I got Jean's book Make Money, Not Excuses right after it came out," she explains. "I picked it up because—it's embarrassing—but I hadn't paid attention at all to where our money is going. How much do I have in my 401(k)? How much in company stock? I excused myself because I'm a busy working mom, but it really caught me—especially the beginning—because I felt like I really need to get a grip on this.
"It's not that I'm stupid," she continues. "I have an MBA from the University of Chicago. But in corporate finance class you don't talk about things like getting a will and asset allocations. I started noticing my assets were accumulating. My daughter has gotten a little more self-sufficient. It just seemed like the right time."
And there was the other motive: retirement. Joanne knows she wants to work until she's 50—no longer—which is a scant eight years from now. She wants to secure her retiree medical benefits and then do something else. And she's not sure what. But she knows that she wants a change and that the big hunk of money in her retirement accounts ought to be able to provide that...if she takes the time to manage them now.
"I had picked up other financial planning books before...some of them were real snoozers," she acknowledges. "But as I went through the first few chapters, I kept thinking this is like me. This is going to work." As Joanne worked her way through Make Money, Not Excuses, she used the few blank pages after the index to make what she called "an action plan" for herself. "I didn't make it obnoxiously long, listing 20 things knowing that I wouldn't get to any of them. I made it doable." It looked like this:
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Real Women, Real Excuses continues...