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Prince Charming isn't coming
07 March 2011
For generations of girls brought up on fairy tales it is one of those illusion shattering moments when we realise that Prince Charming isn't coming. It's somewhere up there with finding out Father Christmas doesn't ride through the sky under the high-beam of a red-nosed reindeer or a talking rabbit doesn't break and enter and disperse chocolate eggs in hidden corners of your home.
But researchers suggest that many women today - and we're talking about women who are old enough to know that fairy tales... well, they're fairy tales - are behaving in a way that would suggest they are waiting to be rescued when it comes to finance.
One book, The Science of Marketing to Women, divides women into four categories to help marketers understand what women want and how to get them to spend their money. This book has labelled one category of women the 'Independent Princess' and says:
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\"The Independent Princess firmly rejects the norm and is in no hurry to settle down and have children, although some are secretly hoping for a princess-type existence one day, complete with the perfect prince...she is a high earner but also a big spender. Some Independent Princesses spend 120 per cent of what they earn. As a result it is likely her finances are not under control and she has a revolving credit card debt, meaning she rarely pays the total balance...saving for the future is not a top priority for many Independent Princesses - after all, hopefully Prince Charming will come along one day to rescue them.\"
Financial empowerment coach Linda Fitzhardinge is working with women to overhaul this attitude that so many women seem to possess. She is running a seminar in Sydney with this title - Prince Charming Isn't Coming - and she says while many women have given up on the romantic idea of the prince, they are secretly hoping that something will rescue their finances later in their life.
\"If you're not taking any action to protect yourself today [financially], somewhere in the back of your mind you've got a Prince Charming,\" Linda says.
\"It might be that mum and dad will leave me some money, or I'm married, in a stable relationship, or I'll get a promotion or go back into full time work, or I'm going to cut down my expenses next year so it will be alright. These are all 'Prince Charming' in the back of your mind - a philosophy that something is going to take care of you.\"
Linda says this way of thinking often stems from a lack of comfort or understanding with finance and money, and can be addressed by education and building networks and having conversations on the topic - as well as putting an action plan in place. And then, she says, it is so exciting to watch the shift in attitudes as women become empowered in this area of their life, sometimes for the first time.
Here are some general tips from the Prince Charming Isn't Coming workshop:
Don't rely on someone else. Own your money, don't let your money own you. Gain ownership, control and power over your financial wellbeing.
Make a date with your money. Get to know what your money's up to, where it's been. Create a spending plan to create an awareness of what you're doing with your money.
Maximise your retirement savings. Time in the market is better than timing the market. If you're running out of time, start changing your lifestyle now so you can maximise what you have been able to accumulate.
Remember it's not what you earn that matters, it's what you keep that counts.