When I was offered a chance to snag a copy of How to Avoid Bag Lady Syndrome (B.L.S.): A Strong Woman’s Guide to Financial Peace of Mind by Lance Drucker, how could I turn it down with a title like that? Avoiding bag lady syndrome is a key tenant of brokeGIRLrich!
I found I’m in good company. Apparently USA Today did a study at one point and found that over 50% of women have real worries about winding up a bag lady. I get that. I work in a field that really ups the odds of me never settling down and I can’t begin to tell you how many older stage managers I know – nearing retirement age – who have wound up single. It’s kind of a rough life. Don’t get me wrong, I know a few stage managers who are married too… although most of them are actually men.
How to Avoid Bag Lady Syndrome addresses the concerns women face when figuring out their finances for the future on their own – be it after a lifetime of being single, a divorce or the death of their spouse.
I have to say, I felt like the first half of the book was essentially an infomercial for why you should work with a financial advisor (Lance Drucker may have a vested interest in that topic), but the second half of the book picked up steam and provided a lot of good information on how planning for the future works. Also, financial planners aren’t a bad idea, especially when you’re figuring out your finances on your own for the first time.
However, amid that infomercial was the repeated idea that you need a financial plan and guess what? You do. Everyone does.
And once you have one, a lot of the fear about the future starts to fade – especially if you start early!
I really enjoyed his reiteration of the four cornerstones of wealth management:
- Build a nest egg.
- Protect your wealth.
- Distribute your wealth.
- Plan for the transfer of your wealth.
Lance makes it clear the steps you need to aim for and provides details on how to follow through. I also loved his stress of playing offense and defense (really though, sports terminology? In a book for women, Lance? ;o)
The goal is always to maximize your earning potential while living below your means. The further below your means you can train yourself to live, the larger nest egg you will be able to live and that nest egg will last you that much longer too – allowing you to exit the rat race much sooner than most folks.
One of my favorite bits in the book was Lance’s clear explanation of different assets that generate income. I think especially as someone still on the lower end of the age spectrum (when it comes to retirement planning), it’s great to see a list of different things I can spend the next 3 decades looking into and trying to amass.
Suffice to say How to Avoid Bag Lady Syndrome is a pretty interesting read and a great idea for anyone who is really worried about their financial future. If you’re just starting out in your personal finance journey, there are a lot of other general primers I would read – but Lance Drucker’s book is one of the first I’ve seen to focus on the worries that females have specifically about surviving retirement.