Who needs a tiara? Give me a Roth IRA.

Finding this clip was supposed to make me feel better, but I remembered it differently.  I thought she straight out googled “finance,” but she didn’t, so it didn’t.

I work in finance and sometimes I wonder how the hell that happened. Scratch that.  I work in the finance industry and I was hired because knowledge of the industry was not a key requirement.  My bosses actually find it slightly humorous, and I like to think charming, that the TV by my desk – meant to keep guests in the office informed about the markets – is more often tuned to The Today Show and Oprah.

It’s mostly frustrating to me personally tonight because of the “rollover 401(k) to Roth IRA” cloud that has been looming over my head for years!  I’ve got step one crossed off my list, but don’t know where to go from here. 

21-year-old Emjaye never really expected to be here, but 26-year-old Emjaye is glad she is. 

At 21, I talked vaguely with my dad about finance as I started my first real job, opened those damn 401(k)s and began supporting myself.  At 21, there was a big hullabaloo about transferring investment accounts into my name, but I haven’t done much with them (besides, fortunately, watch them grow). 

At 21, I thought by 26 I’d have found someone to know about finances in the way I’ve always relied on my dad to know about finances.  When I say finances, though, I mean the bigger stuff.  Day-to-day, I feel confident about budgeting and spending and saving. 

Luckily, I never got myself into huge debt expecting some prince to come along and get me out of it.  I just expected some prince to come along and help me plan a comfortable life and retirement (like my prince of a dad has with my mom).

At 26, I know it’s up to me.  And just like at work, I’ll get there.  Neither is going to be about step one, now step two anymore.  I work better when I know WHY I’m doing step one and HOW it helps me at step two, so I’m engaging myself.

I might have a little talk with Pops this weekend, but those talks usually just remind me that I’m quite capable and knowledgeable if I just give myself a break.  And that I don’t need a prince and his castle and his piles of money.  I just need a man who will treat me like a princess – maybe even one who is a little turned on by my financial savvy!


Keeping Up With the Joneses

 I’ve always been a saver. My sister used to make fun of me (reaching for anything she could think of to me mean as sisters do) for having a large (for a 10-year-old) savings account and, at times, rubberband banks y’all.

Apparently saving money made you lame.

As an adult, this is still a catch-22. Yes, saving money means “lame” brown bag lunches, having to say no to happy hours and going to the movies, but in a world where saving is lame, does that mean credit card debt is cool?  Eek.

Blame it on elementary school, no one wants to be the adult equivalent of the kid who eats paste. 

Anyway, why bother with thinking about what personal choices are best for us when we can just let advertising companies, marketing execs and groupthink tell us?

In a society that talks so freely about things that would make your grandmother blush, we still won’t own up to our financial issues.  Yes, it’s crass to talk about money, that is a social taboo that has actually stuck, but everyone would benefit if they could at least be honest with themselves.  And if it were okay to speak up to your friends and tell them that you actually don’t think they’re fat and have bad personalities, but that you can’t hang out when hanging out mostly just means spending money.

I’m definitely getting better at that.  Practice makes perfect.