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Top Ten Chick Flicks

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I live in a house with men. Even my cat is a man. So, whenever I have the place to myself (which is rare), I like to watch girly movies. The girlier the better. The next time I am home alone, I could be watching one of these movies…

 

10) Grease 2 – Yes, 2 not the original. For whatever reason, I love the lesser quality copy of the original movie. In particular, I wanted to be a “Girl for All Seasons” I just couldn’t figure out which one because they all looked fun.

9) Terms of Endearment – Whenever I want to cry my eyes out, I watch this movie. Especially now that I am a parent, and I watch the scene where Shirley Maclaine begs the nurses to give her daughter more meds so she won’t be in pain, I lose it.

8) 10 Things I Hate About You – I LOVE when Kat reads her poem at the end about not being able to hate Patrick. Such a great scene.

7) Bridget Jones Diary – Despite the fact that I have a difficult time believing Renee Zellweger is “fat” in this movie, I love it. And I was always a Mark Darcy type vs. Daniel Cleever (see my top favorite chick flick).

6) Love Actually – This movie makes the top ten of many lists for me. I have a caveat, though, I can actually only watch it after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Hearing “Christmas Is All Around You” throughout the movie just makes me want to celebrate the holiday season, that song and the Christmas lobsters of course.

5) Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion – This is a great example where you can’t judge a “movie” by its cover. From the commercials and promos I had absolutely no interest in this movie. However, once a friend told me she loved it, I rented it and fell in love too. It has such a great message about staying true to yourself and the importance of friendship.

4) Pretty Woman – This movie made girls all over the world dream of being a hooker that is how good it is. Who doesn’t want to meet a wealthy, available, prematurely grey but hot guy who wants to buy us clothes and take us for dates in a private jet?

3) Dirty Dancing – “Nobody puts baby in a corner” is one of the all time best cheesy lines from a movie, and beside that, who did not want to fall in love while dancing with the hot, sexy, older guy from the wrong side of the tracks?

2) Girls Just Want To Have Fun – The first time I saw this movie when I was a tween, I fell in love with it. I had the biggest crush on Jeff and to this day, I still get excited when Janie and Jeff are announced as the new regulars on DTV.

1) Pride and Prejudice – the BBC version – This is one of my favorite books ever, and despite the length of this film, it never feels long to me because it captures the entirety of my favorite book in a movie. And I have had a crush on Mr. Darcy since I was in high school.

Wealth Strategies That Won’t Work – I am going to marry rich!

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I had a friend in college who was brilliant and beautiful and literally could do anything in life.  We used to talk about our futures.  I knew from the first day of college that I was going to be a business major, get a job in financial services upon graduation, and tackle the male-dominated world of finance.  She wanted to get her degree, marry a wealthy doctor, and become the most educated housewife at her country club.  This friend is still a great friend; however, she never married that doctor and is in fact still single.  She could have married someone who was financially well-off, but she realized money really didn’t make things better and ultimately he couldn’t give her everything she wanted from a relationship. She’s worked hard to build her career in the non-profit sector, even though she could quite frankly make more money doing other things.  Even though it was never her life plan, she’s learned how to live as a strong, independent, career-minded woman. She actually makes Financially Blonde decisions and is one of the most Financially Fit people I know.  So despite her lower salary, she is able to save and plan for herself long term.

I think we all (men and women) secretly want to marry rich.  It would certainly make some aspects of our lives easier.  The reality is that we can’t choose who we fall in love with. Or we can’t control who does or doesn’t fall in love with us. I fell in love with a teacher.  Some people, like my friend now, think it is better to NOT marry rich. And most importantly, there really aren’t that many “rich” people out there (only 1% of the population would fit into this category).  So, given all of these realities, we need to make sure that we make the best financial choices for ourselves and our future spouse.  Just as my friend did, we need to make sure we can take care of ourselves because we don’t know what life and love are going to bring us.

 

Music Mondays – Life is a Highway

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Tom Cochrane originally performed this song; however, after seeing it and hearing it in the movie Cars, I fell in love with the Rascal Flatts version. Whenever I speak with a new client about his or her financial goals, I always start out by telling them that our adult lives are like a road trip from New York to California. And my job as a financial planner is to help him or her get to California when they want, live in the house they want to live in when they get there, and make all the stops along the way that they want. This song is a great reminder of that journey that we all make. We all take different paths to retirement, but at the end of the day, that is the end goal for all of us. And it is important to remember that the journey is a long one, and just like we would do when we take a long road trip, we should have a road map or plan for the journey. When we have a plan, we are able to do and see more than people with no plan.

Do you have a financial road map for your life? What do you want to see? What do you want to do? We are heading into the end of the year, and this is a great exercise to do at the end of every year. Think about your life journey so far and think about where you want to go next year or the year after. Always remember where you would like to end up and put your plan together. The best way to enforce your plan is setting up a budget. I know that budget seems like a four-letter word, but it really is the best way to keep you on track for your journey. If you have never created or lived by one, start with baby steps and set up a “big picture” budget. The more you practice it, the better you will be and you will be able to work on the “finer” areas of your financial life. Remember that life is a highway and the best way to travel it is with a map and a plan!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvsmRuRp4cM

Tough Love

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I recently met with a client, who confirmed my decision to start my own company focused on financial fitness and well-being. In my previous job as a financial advisor, I was primarily responsible for managing his money (or his assets), and he has significant money.  In my new role, I help my clients manage and understand their assets as well as their liabilities (credit cards, student loans and other debts). This is an important change for this client in particular. Even though he has substantial assets, in the past few years, his spending has gotten out of control to the point that now his debt between his home and credit cards is almost as much as his investment portfolio. When we sat down recently, we started discussing the plan of how we were going to stop some of his bad spending habits and focus more on the lifestyle that he would like to live which would require less money over time. He said to me, “Shannon, I need tough love. I need someone to tell me NOT to buy things.” He wished that his partner was that person, but his partner was just along for the ride with him.

I see this so much in relationships. There is frequently one person who is the “spender” and one person who is the “saver.” This difference in financial personality types often leads to years of fighting and many times, divorce. For those who stay together, it certainly causes strains at various points in the relationship as the saver has a difficult time telling the spender “No” and giving that person tough love. Relationships are hard enough as it is and when you are working through it day in and day out, you pick your battles and sometimes you let the “spending battle” go for another day. The problem with this strategy is that the spending battle does not go away, and bad spending habits as a couple can create huge problems over time. I love that I can now give tough love to my clients so that his or her significant others can give them a different kind of love. But if you do not have a third party like me, don’t be afraid to use tough love with your overspending loved one. They need it. They may not like you for doing it, but they will be happy that you did down the road. Embrace tough love and save them and their finances from becoming a disaster.

Top Ten Quotes about Finance and Money

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10) A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. Bob Hope

9) Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. Epictetus

8) The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket. – Andrew Carnegie

7) It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake. Margaret Thatcher

6) The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax. Albert Einstein

5) When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. Oscar Wilde

4) All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy. Spike Milligan

3) Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without. Joseph Wood Krutch

2) If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right! William Shatner

1) Do what you love and the money will follow. Marsha Sinetar

Music Mondays – Home by Daughtry

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I will probably write a few blogs about home and the joys of returning home. Due to the poor economy and bleak job prospects for recent college grads, many young people are graduating and moving home. Because of this, the media has dubbed this generation the “Peter Pan” or “Boomerang” Generation. According to a Pew Research Study, 36% of 18-31 year olds live with their parents. This is close to 22 million people and the highest level in four decades. When I left for college, I was told by both of my parents that I could not come home, and I had to take care of myself. Granted the time was different, but it would have been nice to know that I had a “safety net” when I left.

If you are reading this and you are boomeranging, I think you should feel thankful that you are able to go home. I know that you wish your roomie was your best friend and not your dad, but it’s actually very Financially Blonde to move back in with your parents. Close to 40% of your income typically goes to housing costs. If you can avoid paying those for as long as possible, then you give yourself a better opportunity to get off on the right foot financially when you are ready (assuming you are saving what you would have been paying in living costs while at home). You also give yourself the most flexibility about where you can move next. If you’re not committed to a lease, then you give yourself more options as far as jobs, graduate school, or relationships. So when you get bummed that your scenery has not changed since high school, listen to Daughtry sing of home and the eagerness he feels as he yearns to return there. Enjoy this time. You may actually miss it one day!

Top Ten Cities I Would Love To Visit

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I don’t have many regrets in life, but one of the few that I have is not traveling abroad more before I had my son. The handful of times that I did leave the country, I had a profound experience, and I developed an appreciation for the various cultures that I got to witness. When my son is older, we plan to travel with him as much as possible. I think it is important to have an understanding and appreciation for all cultures, and the best way to develop that (other than living in NYC) is to travel overseas and get immersed in it. So, the top ten cities that I would love to visit include:

10) Siem Reap, Cambodia – I love that this city has completely reinvented itself from the city I learned about in history class 20+ years ago. I have had friends visit and say amazing things about the food and culture, and I would love to see for myself.

9) Istanbul, Turkey – I can’t think of this city without thinking of the song by They Might Be Giants. Despite the song, though, I have a few friends from Turkey, and their amazing stories of their homeland from the cuisine to the terrain have made me want to add it to my “must-visit” destination list.

8) Cape Town, South Africa – I have been a fan of South African wines for many years, and the wine tours alone would make this city an interesting one for me. However, I have a friend who lived here with her husband for four years and gave me many more reasons to enjoy this great city.

7) Sydney, Australia – I don’t love the idea of spending the greater part of a day on a plane to try to get anywhere; however, after watching Oprah’s trip to Sydney during her last season, I realized that some flights are worth the effort.

6) Hong Kong, China – My son has a friend from China who takes Mandarin classes regularly and tries to educate my son on Chinese culture. I love this friend because he has inspired a sense of adventure in my son who counts China high on his list of places to visit. And I happen to have family living in Hong Kong, so maybe we can crash with them?

5) San Jose, Costa Rica – When I first started dating my husband, I went on a family vacation to Italy and he went on a singles cruise to Costa Rica (It was booked before we met). I LOVED Italy, but seeing his pictures from Costa Rica made me want to spend time there as well.

4) Paris, France – One of my family’s favorite movies is Ratatouille. Every time we watch it, my husband makes Ratatouille “Remy style” and we plan our trip to Paris including where we plan to eat and visit.

3) Cuzco, Peru – This is typically the starting point for hikes up to Macchu Picchu and filled with a great history of the Incan Empire. Hiking Macchu Picchu is an absolute bucket list item for me.

2) Vancouver, Canada – I love the mountains and a cool environment. Ever since this city hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, it has made my list of places to visit.

1) Dublin, Ireland – I am Irish, and I am told by my mom, named after the Shannon River in Ireland. I am proud of my heritage; however, I have never been to Ireland. I look forward to this trip the most!