Me, and my money jar. I learn, and I shall earn, and do it my way.

In 1970 … something, a defining turn of events would forever change my course of history.  Mid junior year, the nuns of The Notre Dame Convent, my little school, were instructed to cease teaching arithmetic and begin teaching maths. Babes, us all.

Boxes arrived with green books for the students and a red one for the teacher.  The answers were written in the red one.  No-one, including the nuns, were sent on preparatory classes, understood it quite frankly:  numbers and the alphabet in between, it was simply easier to reveal the answers and let us run, with barely a passmark. I ended up hopeless at maths, and though I loved arithmetic, was left with a deep distrust for anything that made no sense to me.

Rather Pluto than Pythagoras.  By no means ‘ahhhhh ‘ I can’t do it, or understand it, but rather, if I did not need to … I have other things to do.  And so, Belle left the financial investment side of things to darling during marriage – such a cliché now isn’t it?  Darling and Financial Advisor would build the portfolios, pension funds, growth this and risk taking that and I would make sure the children had swimming costumes for the gala, and run the car and diary. Tax was like a distant relative, one I had heard of but never really to meet up close.

Personally, half the reason I didn’t really pay attention, other than I was not required to, is that I was weary of predictions and all that stuff – I mean, every economist in the world, still claims they did not see the Sub Prime coming, and they were supposed to be the experts?  Anyway, I digress:  when darling did decide to leave, and the shock and horror of divorce anaesthetises your very existence, finances are the very last elements you are thinking about.  Yes, you do think you will die, and I did believe that I was going to end up in a council flat, but that was only because I was dealing with a pocket full of not knowing what the hell my future finances were.  I never want to be in that situation again, ever again.

Whilst re-training to breath and a very odd habit of hiding money under the pillow, just in case –  (anyway started the fuck you fund far too late – was never going to happen) also informed by those at the head of the Financial portfolio Information desk, what I would and would not be getting.  No negotiation,  no requests, and honestly, no reason to not accept, so hopeful was I of a turnaround and romantic ending.  I was also told that apparently no-one leaves a relationship without planning it for a long time, so if this is true or not, there would be a few elements to the Financial Portfolio that could well have been omitted for sake of brevity and a swift separation. Besides, I did not even think of challenging or questioning or whatever, demanding an audit whilst flaying myself religiously, I mean, what could I have done about it anyway?  Possibly nothing then, but certainly now.  Some notes:

  • It never ends as badly as you think it will.  It will be bad and you may have less than you imagined, may have to start all over again, but hey, you have control of your life now.
  • Whatever you thought, or did not know about finances, astonishing how fast one learns.  Wunderkind you!  Was that you I saw reading the FT, you go smartie!  Still a trifle boring though,  methinks…
  • Back to the having little left.  That little is like the magic bean, it is going to propel you into many different actions, a job, a career, investing in your own or someone else’s business.  It’s like having pocket money all over again, and remember how so little was all the money in the world!  
  • Cutting down is so in these days. Minimalist everything is sexy and strong.  
  • Nothing like that drive deep in your heart to prove to yourself you can control, and empower your own life, to make you sit up and be the Chairman of your own financial portfolio. Take advice, but let your decision be yours, the person you trust the most.
  • Finally, the learning to say ‘no’ because you are saving money, does not make you a poverty queen, only that saying ‘no’ means it does not work for you, and you have other plans.

When darling told me; ‘ It’s time to take control of your own finances,’ I thought he was kidding.  That’s not fair, I whimpered, mumbling I was too old to learn. Hah, thanks for doing that darling, I am so loving this new adventure, and today, when my Financial Advisor suggested something, I could actually say … it doesn’t work for me and let them know what I wanted to do.  Felt fabulous and something else, my darling was right, he knew I could do it.

When said FA told me would not be able to afford a property,  let alone get a mortgage in the future,  I thought to myself … time was I would have simply believed it, and now, thinking, maybe it’s time I made a plan, or find someone who does believe like I do.

More on The Jam jar, but for now, there are many great women out there with brilliant financial advice, many women who work in conjunction with Divorce lawyers to assist in this transition and make sure you are supported all the way.  I love ‘The Wealth Chef’ and blogs by Mary Waring for inspiration but if you are looking for more details on professional contacts I have to help you, please email me.

We are there for you.

Those darling nuns, no-one to provide some help, but how times have changed – bless them!


Images: 123rf, 

Can you change your career in Silver Street?

vintage-berlin-guide Oh, times I am so bored with the whole thing!

Want change, want change, want change!  Sound familiar?  Is it even possible?

Ah the ever trampled cliché called ‘the Midlife Crisis.’  I believe some do suffer from the affliction, physically I did for sure, but crisis – that’s my middle name.  Crisis chic de la Créme.  Is it mid-life, it’s life, magnified.  What I do know is this is the time when things change too fast, and others become stale.  And we are not talking about the bucket list thing.  Shhhh …

Bodies aside, have you ever reached a point when blah to the career you have spent half your life building up?  Has the thrill waned, the point faded and the desire … flagged?  That’s fine, but what do to instead?  If you are suffering ‘career blah’ a few questions for you.

  • How long have you been thinking about this?
  • Is there a burning desire to start all over again?
  • Do you have the courage to do this?

and then:

  • what do you see yourself doing?  Would it be following a passion, like becoming a floral designer or going into coaching?  Something like health and fitness or going back to study – are we talking about a five year degree here?
  • Will this change in career bring about financial strain in the beginning and are you ready to make a financial sacrifice to do what you think you really love?
  • Would you need a loan to start your new business, or contemplate an investor in your new business?
  • How good are you at doing the math, being able to support yourself whilst making the change?
  • How would you go about branding yourself in this new venture?

If you are sort of nodding, even half heartedly at the questions above, you are ready for the change!

So how do you go about it?

Some tips.

  • So the math again.  Have a contingency plan for the stepping stone phase, moving from one career to the other, which you can do gradually until you feel secure enough to let go and dive in.
  • Think of your title.  This is very important.  When introducing yourself, what will you say about your career.  Tell yourself ‘I am an Executive Coach/chef/writer/designer/blogger/hedge fund manager … whatever, if you say it enough, you will begin to believe it.  Imagine the title on your passport – that should be persuasive enough.
  • Brand yourself.  Imagine how your business cards will look.  Your website, shop, office and social media.
  • Create mood boards.  Mood boards are vital in creating a visual, spatial and ideal vision of the environment you want to be in.  Not just be brides to be and Event planners.

picmonkey-image An idea for South Africa as a travel destination.

  • Begin your social media.  Your business may still be a ‘tiny little fledgling’ but the interest factor is in place.
  • Decide on where you want to create your new business.  Will it be a home business or do you need to find the perfect venue for your shop?  If it is a destination business, such as a shop or office, will you need feet flowing past, in the right location or a pop up to begin with?  These are important factors to consider, it’s going to be difficult to start a food truck if you have nowhere suitable to park it!
  • Consider networking.  Have you found a niche for your business and if so, find those in a similar field who will promote and support your business.  Networking should lead to solid leads, not just the social time together.
  • Research, research, research.  You will need to build up a solid list of suppliers, agents, contacts and dependable venues.
  • The ever important budget.  Be ruthless, positive but realistic.  What part of your business will absorb the largest part of your finances?  Your start up costs will take a chunk of your budget, so how to streamline and factor it all in.  You may have a vision, but this takes money and you need to be financier extraordinaire.
  • Consider doing an Internship to learn the ropes of your new venture.
  • Have I forgotten something?  You tell me …

and then:

  • Listen carefully, this is important … GO FOR IT!
  • You can begin again, change your career and make a life doing something you are passionate about.
  • You can dive into unknown waters and swim.  Remember those first swimming lessons, thinking you shall drown for sure, and the joy of knowing you have learnt how?
  • You can share all that magnificent knowledge you have, all your experience and make your dream something others want to share.
  • You can learn, about everything. Learn to manage your money, find those suppliers, create your website, promote yourself.
  • You have the ability to do this.
  • You need to do this.
  • You will do this.

hip-paris-blog-muse-kate-7-1600x1068 Find your Muse.

And Tres Important.  If you have never had a ‘career’ to speak of, but been working at the same job for most of your life, or been an at home mum, or whatever, this is your time to fly.  Start your career for the first time, no matter what the stage of your life, no matter how far down the road you are – you have something to offer the world, we want to see it and you are the only one to make it happen.

And then, please invite me to share your dream.  I would love to hear your story.

Image.  Hip Paris