The following excerpt is from Deborah Owens' A Purse of Your Own . Ms. Owens is a wealth coach on MyGeneration TV, and the lead on AOL.com's MoneyTalks blog.
One: Getting to the Bottom of Your Purse Before You Invest
Wealthy Habit # 1: Outlook
When 40-year-old Lee, a mother of three was asked what she carries in her purse, she was too busy to answer. She'd taken her two youngest children to the playground. Her nine-year-old was on the slide, refusing to budge and blocking his five-year old sister, who was trying to beat him down with a Beanie Baby. After breaking up the melee Lee returned to the bench to reflect on the question.
"If you'd asked me in the past what was in my purse, I'd have said soiled diapers and chewing tobacco, anything to deflect the question and hide my embarrassment." Lee understood that whenever I ask women what they carry in their purses, I'm not asking about the contents, but the state of their finances.
As a stay-at-home mom from New Jersey, Lee, who used to carry a purse running on empty, is unlike many women I've advised in the past or even those who participate in my workshops and seminars. To a large extent I'm in contact with professionals who work outside their homes. But I'm opening this chapter with Lee's story because at one point she was feeling so powerless and out of control, that I thought her story could serve as an incentive to women who want to change financial futures. I hope you'll see that if Lee could make it, there's reason to believe that you can too. You may be skeptical about whether investing is a practical way to fill your purse, or if this subject will ever be made easily comprehensible. And of course you may be afraid of losing your money. I hope this work will boost your confidence and level of financial literacy, which I call Pursonality Quotient or just PQ.
The question of what Lee was carrying in her purse is significant because this chapter focuses on a symbolic kind of purse cleaning. It's not about throwing away wadded up tissues or old tubes of lipstick. It is about creating a more fertile environment that encourages growth, because once you get clear on what you do have you will want to nurture and expand your inner vision. What I'm aiming is to help you experience the kind of comfort you feel when your purse is so well organized that you can just stick a hand inside and grab what you need. Lee wasn't anyplace near that state of financial comfort. And if you aren't feeling comfortable with your purse, you aren't ready to invest.
She'd worked for 10 years as a graphic artist and half of that time had managed a staff of designers. She quit that job, joining the ranks of six million stay-at-home moms, after giving birth to a disabled son. His medical needs made it difficult for her to return to the office, and her husband wasn't around to help fill in for her. His schedule as a fire fighter required him to work in 24-hour shifts..
Not being able to work outside her home cost Lee and her husband big-time. By 1990, the couple had saved $12,000. Eight years later, they were down to $2,000, "We were going backwards," says Lee. Unable to afford childcare that would allow her to work at a job, or pay tuition to update her job skills, Lee felt trapped financially.
During a dinner with a former coworker, Lee began sobbing so loudly that they had to leave the restaurant. She told her friend that she was pregnant again, "I was so scared I couldn't breathe." When her friend pressed her for details on her finances, Lee didn't have any answers. Her coworker reminded Lee that she would never have run the art department that way. "She was right," Lee says. "I'd always run a tight ship. When I got home that night, I pulled out all out our bills and faced the truth."
How about you? Are you too feeling that your finances are moving in reverse? As Lee says of the state of her purse, "I was racing toward the bottom, but at least down there, there's no way to go but up." The Purse Solution offers an alternate route. Change your worldview and you can not only look up, but outward, toward a better life.
Wealthy Habit # 1: Developing a Wealthy Outlook
This habit can help pull you out of the financial doldrums and encourage you to dream big by developing a macro or "big picture" view. Picture wealth, like drops of molten gold. You may feel as if you've been living in scarcity, but because you are learning to attract wealth you're now opening all your purses to catch those golden drops.