Money Hanging in the Closet

Financial lessons from 'Sex and the City'

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When Candace Bushnell created the character of Carrie Bradshaw in her book that spawned the highly successful television series, “Sex in the City,” she offered us every woman’s fairytale heroine: a brilliant and successful columnist and fashionista, living a fabulous and—in many cases— financially overextended life in the heart of Manhattan.

But how could someone as savvy as our favorite heroine be so financially artless — unlike her friends Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha? In the show, Carrie famously said, “ I like my money right where I can see it—hanging in my closet.” This works just fine until her wedding is called off and she finds herself, in her late thirties, homeless in the city.

Consider that if Carrie had invested in the stock of LVMH—the company that makes her beloved Fendi and Louis Vuitton bags, shoes, and outfits—in 1998, she would have doubled her money by 2004 when the show ended. That doesn’t even account for the power of reinvesting. This gives a whole new meaning to the idea of money hanging in a closet!

Of course, if Carrie had done this, we would have had a decidedly different show, but maybe the women who were the show’s target audience could have learned about a different way to look at income, saving, money, and investing.

Consider that if Carrie had invested in the stock of LVMH—the company that makes her beloved Fendi and Louis Vuitton bags, shoes, and outfits—in 1998, she would have doubled her money by 2004 when the show ended.

The state of women and money has changed since Carrie came on the scene in 1998. Women now control more than half the $14 trillion of personal wealth in the US, a figure expected to rise to $22 trillion by 2020.1 And women account for 85 percent of all US consumer purchases, from personal computers to new homes. Let that sink in for a moment!

The US isn’t alone. Women control spending in developing markets as well, with 73 percent of women in China and 69 percent in India saying they allocate household resources for their families.2

Even though women control the vast majority of the American wallet they are greatly underrepresented when it comes to investing America’s dollars. Women shy away from investing for many reasons. They may think investing is too complicated or risky. Or they simply may not be interested or have the time.

I was lucky to be exposed to the financial world early and I learned that investing provides a path to help women achieve a greater degree of financial freedom.

And it turns out that existing financial institutions and programs don’t serve women very well.3 Many women feel talked down to and are dissatisfied with how financial institutions and advisors treat them. Even though many women, especially those who are older and wealthier, would prefer to pay for financial advisors, they’d rather do the research themselves than work with an advisor who doesn’t understand or respect them.

You, like the women in the studies mentioned above, have a mind of your own. You want to direct your own life, to learn, to create things, and to contribute to the world as well as improve your own life. In contrast to Carrie Bradshaw, who let herself be carried along by circumstance, you want to set goals and take control. You’re a critical consumer of advertising. You know yourself and what works for you.

At Heels & Yield, I will show you how investing can be as glamorous as fashion week. My approach is informed by my 17 years of experience as a professional investor. Anyone can start investing, no matter where they’re starting from. It’s never too late to start investing! I have known women who began in their 50s and have been able to retire well.

With Heels & Yield, you’ll feel as self-assured and confident about investing as you feel when you slip into your favorite pair of Manolo Blahniks.

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