Cents and sensibility

With a pulse on the female psyche, the book offers realistic solutions to the financial troubles of women.

Kamya Jaiswal        Print Edition: August 2010

It is a no man's land, sorry, book. Everything about Sheconomics is unabashedly female: the frothy narrative, profusion of tales, choice of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City as a financial guru and the overload of emotional perspective. The clincher: so is the financial advice. It is not easy to pull off a money guide that's only for women.

As the book admits, "Money doesn't have the foggiest idea which sex you are." But Karen Pine and Simmone Gnessen successfully establish that women battle unique financial issues which must be addressed differently. There is no judgement in this premise. In fact, you will feel grateful that someone has dedicated reams to discussing how to share financial intimacy with your partner or spend money without feeling out of control. These aren't issues ordinary books bet their money on.

Nevertheless, they are important to women from all backgrounds and income levels. Whether you are a jet-setting corporate czarina or a modest BPO executive, you will empathise with Rapunzel, who is hassled about an impromptu office shindig. She can't swipe her credit card for buying shampoo, so she picks up an unnecessary lipstick and mascara as well.

The lipstick turns out to be the wrong colour and the mascara is lost. Worst, she misses her next few credit card paybook s :: Reviews mints due to a tight budget and lands up a bill of £100. All for one bottle of shampoo. It is tempting to dismiss such anecdotes as being straight out of chick lit.

However, Pine and Gnessen are breezy only in style. This story introduces the fifth Sheconomist law-look debt in the face. From here on, the chapter discusses good and bad debt, credit scores, mortgages, power of compounding, debt stereotypes and negotiation with creditors. Doesn't sound like the screenplay of the next Money and the City, right?

In fact, Sheconomics is full of statistics, calculators, worksheets and financial strategies. It's no surprise, given the impeccable credentials of Pine, who is a renowned researcher in developmental psychology, and Gnessen, who is a financial adviser.

Besides, both are women and you can't deny the advantage of an insider's view on the female psyche. This is why parts of the book read like a heart-to-heart interaction between the writers and the reader.

 Instead of ticking off a binge in a Prada store, they identify the triggers of such retail madness and ways to handle them. Similarly, even as they espouse the benefits of joint accounts, there is a word on salting away some money in a separate account just in case he turns out to be the Mr. Wrong. Sounds like fun? It is.

It's also practical, intuitive, harsh, calculative, wild in parts and gentle too. Just like a woman. So, go on girls, pick up this book to get rid of financial panic forever. Boys, maybe you could sneek a peek too, and learn a bit about both-women and money.

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