All, Thanks for all the support about the Paris Marathon. More later this week, but it went well, and I am on my way back. I wasn’t shooting for a PR, so it wasn’t quite this in terms of my time, but I emerged happy and more importantly, healthy. On to today’s post!
There are a couple of things that I am really good at: French-braiding, jump roping, making weird healthy concoctions in the kitchen, and doing cardio for hours. There are a lot of things that I am okay at. And there are a couple of things that I am really terrible at, like turning on TV’s with our master remote control, picking food off of other people’s plates, and *especially* being responsible and grown up about my fiances. I am horrible at budgeting and would rather crawl into a pile of sand than address money issues. So, I am super excited about a new book I just read that inspired and resonated with me to no end. Nicole Lapin and her book, Rich Bitch! An educational, funny, and helpful account of how to be mindful of one’s own finances. And guess what? I had the opportunity to interview her! HOT DAMN! Check out Nicole’s website here. Read the book! Buy it here. And enjoy the interview below!
Nicole. Congrats on your book! What gave you the idea and how did it come about?
When I wanted to learn about money I looked at lots of books and not only were they boring, they were not relevant. Rich Bitch is relatable for every stage of life, from your first job, apartment and checkbook to merging bank accounts with a future spouse and planning for retirement.
Rich Bitch is the stuff that no one tells you about money; negotiating bills and purchases, finding extra money by making your social network work for you, asking for a raise and getting it.
This is the first personal finance book that swears. It’s a jargon-free zone, and I wanted the title to reflect that spirit. I’ve been called a bitch in a derogatory way throughout my career. But there’s nothing wrong with being strong and confident. That’s why I’m taking the word back and owning it. If being a rich bitch means being debt-free and on top of my career, then I’m a Rich Bitch. And proud of it.
You’ve been on a book tour for a couple of months and I assume you’ve been talking to a lot of women. What kind of feedback are you getting? Have you found that a lot of readers haven’t thought enough about these kinds of issues before?
Women will talk about anything—and I mean anything—before they talk about their finances. I actually recently did a survey with Nielsen that found that women would rather admit their weight than their salary. It’s THAT taboo.
Many women I’ve spoken with throughout the book tour are at odds with the conventional financial wisdom out there, because a lot of it no longer applies to our new normal post-recession. You have to think for yourself, and rethink “conventional” financial wisdom. There’s an old adage that says “play to your strengths.” well, that’s sounds like gospel…if you don’t think about it for yourself. Sure, it can be true for some. But not for everyone, because nothing is true for everyone. So a 401(k) might really be the best retirement vehicle for you…but there also might be a better option out there. And instead of buying your house, renting might actually be the way to go. Only once we start thinking for ourselves do we truly learn this language of money—and truly feel empowered.
You made the NY Times bestseller list.. Congrats! So how does it work… was this something you and your publisher kind of predicted/expected, or is it just something that kind of happens and is a pleasant (and awesome) surprise?
I was as surprised as anyone! You work at it and hope it will happen, but you can never really know until the list comes out. I’m just grateful that the book is resonating with my audience and getting women to join the financial conversation from which they have long felt shut out.
As someone who stresses about money and budgeting, I am a little scared of reading your book. Is that a common reaction? If so, how do I start? Any tips on how to even approach the book if it is scary? (Sounds like a therapy session — sorry! It is not as dramatic as I am making it sound!)
Like those “other” 12-step recovery programs, the first step is admitting that you have a money problem—then we’re going to figure out together how to get back on track. This is a simple 12-step program that helps you to get your financial life together…once and for all. It’s not about bling bling and private jets; it’s about living a rich life in every sense of the word. So from family to fashion to 401(k)s, I’ve got you covered.
So, for Josie Girls who may be too busy to read through the whole book, what would you say are most important 2 or 3 takeaways?
The biggest takeaway from the book is that it’s time to join the conversation! You can’t expect to get your finances in order until you can speak the language of money, and then feel empowered by that language…and I’m here to help you do just that. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know; just look it up, learn more about it, and realize that money is a language like anything else. The more you know, the more you want to know. Still have questions? Tweet me @nicolelapin and I will answer any and all of your burning money questions!
Has writing the book changed the way you think about your own finances?
You know what they say: you don’t truly know anything until you can teach it to others. And that’s true for personal finance, too. I’ve been on all of the major networks and have the fancy credentials, but until you sit down face to face with other women and help them through their money woes, you can’t truly understand your own—and how to get them in order. I’m constantly learning, and hope to pass that spirit on to my Rich Bitches.
You and Ken have a similar background. You both started out as financial news broadcast journalists, and then moved on to other things. Did you like that world? Do you miss it?
I am probably the least likely person to be in the business news world. I didn’t grow up with The Wall Street Journal on the kitchen table. There was no talk about stocks or bonds in my family…ever. As part of an immigrant family, I was raised thinking that stashing your cash under your mattress was the best place to keep your money. I never learned or thought about how to grow that money through investing, and how to make my money work for me. I had a boyfriend in high school who said he wanted to be a hedge fund manager and I thought he wanted to be in gardening. So, I was clueless.
I was forced to learn the language of finance—and fast—when I landed a job on the floor at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. At just 18, I was young and hungry and didn’t want to pass up an amazing job opportunity just because I didn’t yet speak the language of finance. So, I learned. I studied. I wanted to be a part of this global money conversation that was happening all around me. At first it looked liked Chinese, then French, and then finally it started to make sense. And I was able to not only speak the language of finance—I was able to speak it to the world.
You have had a lot of powerful women support your launch (check out this video here, featuring a number of powerful women including my mother-in-law). How did you round up so much support?
The support has been truly incredible; I’m so grateful! I think a lot of powerful women understand that you can be smart, confident, and accomplished…but still not have it all together. And that’s okay. We’ve all been in the position of being called a bitch in a derogatory sense, and so we can all relate to the need to take that word back and own it, in the same way that we own our careers and our financial destinies.
What’s next? Any other books planned? Anything else exciting?
The better question is: what’s NOT next?? The tour continues and I can’t wait to see what the next week, month, year has in store for me and my Rich Bitches everywhere.
Thank you so much, Nicole! Truly, inspirational. To follow Nicole on twitter @nicolelapin, instagram @nicolelapin and facebook.com/NicoleLapin. Now it’s time to get out my highlighter and review the book for a second time. Thanks so much!