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Nice girls don’t get rich! Or do they?

Today I looked at my shelf and there was a modest book peeping shyly back me. The title of the book is Nice Girls don’t Get Rich: 75 avoidable mistakes women make with money by Lois P. Frankel, PhD. I remember buying this book; it was shortly after I became aware of our negative wealth. In fact this may be the second book on personal finance I ever read; the first being Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I was at an airport somewhere, ironically trying not to spend any money, when I spotted Nice Girls don’t Get Rich; bought it and almost finished reading it by the time I arrived back home.

This already tells us something about how highly readable this book is. But what drew me in was that the author really sets out and discusses 75 common mistakes women make with money. These don’t come from personal experience only, as is often the case with personal finance books, but have been identified through extensive research involving women from different walks of life: rich women, poor women, professional women and women in manual occupations. They all had at one or other point in their life made all or some of these mistakes; and it took realising that to start building wealth.

Even more importantly, the book begins with a self-assessment test and depending on the results directs you to different parts and different mistakes. It also encourages you to work through the way in which you think and feel about money, so that you can identify an appropriate course of action. The test works by dividing your financial reality into seven areas. These are: (a) getting in the money game; (b) taking charge of your financial life; (c) spending your money wisely; (d) learning money basics; (e) saving and investing for future wealth; (f) maximising your financial potential at work; and (g) playing it smart with your money. Scores across these seven areas are assigned by answering 42 questions.

I completed this test 15 months ago. Do you want to know my result? Well, I scored exactly 18 points. What this meant is the following:

“You’d better get moving if you ever want to lead a financially independent life. At this rate you are going to be poor or be dependent on others for the rest of your life.”

My highest scoring area was ‘spending your money wisely’ and I was halfway there on ‘taking charge of your financial life’ and ‘learning money basics’. I scored a miserable one point on ‘saving and investing for future wealth’ and ‘maximising your financial potential at work’.

I did get going though. Guess who, 15 months later, has a ‘millionaire’ account and who knows all benefits of her pension scheme, got a computer from work and is now getting an iPad 2 from the same source? Yes, me! And I still think that I am a good girl. Or am I?

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