Book Review: Investing for Empowerment: Every Woman Should Know Her (Million-Dollar) Options | Author Jan Moran
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Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.

Book Review: Investing for Empowerment: Every Woman Should Know Her (Million-Dollar) Options

Every Woman Should Know Her OptionsIt's time to reveal something about myself that you might not realize: Besides my love of writing and entrepreneurship, I'm also a finance major and a full-fledged finance fanatic; I believe that having nest-egg savings, an investing schedule, and a solid retirement plan gives a person options and freedom of choice.

So when I was watching the San Diego morning news on television and Laurie Itkin — a fellow San Diegan and financial guru — was introducing her latest book, Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment, I got excited and said, “I have to meet her for coffee and have her on the blog.” Laurie is a regular contributor to DailyWorth, a frequent guest on KUSI San Diego's News Channel, and an experienced financial planner.

You might be thinking… “Jan, you've been interviewing authors and talking about entrepreneurship. Why are you discussing financial planning?” Well, let me tell you a little story, something I haven't really shared with many people. Maybe it can help someone — maybe even you.

My Entrepreneurial Beginnings

When I was seven years old, my wonderful father died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-two. My beautiful mother was devastated; she had three children at home, no understanding of financial matters, and to make matters worse, her father had died six months prior to that. Her only remaining family member was my grandmother. Never having written a check, balanced a checkbook, or managed investments, my mother was lost. I'm sure my father thought he was taking care of her, but in the end, it caused her even greater anguish.

My first stab at entrepreneurship was later that year at the age of seven. I decided to stitch up a product — which I even branded with an alliterative name, “Patch Pockets” — and sold it door to door (most likely the neighbors took pity on my pitiful efforts!). I took over the family finances in high school, visited attorneys as a teenager to help my mother, worked before I was old enough to drive, and put myself through college and graduate school while working an assortment of jobs and raising a child of my own.

This experience fuels my passion to help others avert such a path — or embrace it and rise above it. It's why I'm such a strong advocate of education, entrepreneurship, and financial awareness — especially for women and young people (my husband and I have four sons). Even in the fictional worlds I construct, you'll find entrepreneurial women and men who overcome the odds, find strength in their natural talents, and learn to use their skills to create rich lives and businesses that help support their children and others.

And that's why I was so fascinated by Laurie Itkin and her story.

Investing for Empowerment

Laurie Miranda ItkinA Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in economics and a concentration in finance, Laurie started investing at 24 with a $1,600 inheritance from her Grandma Eda from the Bronx. With this windfall, she bought 40 shares of Starbucks.

In her book, Every Woman Should Know Her Options, she outlines the steps she took to build a million-dollar stock portfolio before she turned 40

And she shows you how to do the same, sans fear. Here are some of her top tips on investing:

1)      No one cares more about your money than you so don’t delegate complete control to someone else

2)      Live below your means and make automatic contributions to your retirement account each month

3)      Overcome your fears of the stock market by learning how to build a “layer cake of wealth”

4)      As soon as your children earn money, encourage them to start investing

5)      Challenge yourself to learn new investing strategies, such as using options to generate income

6)      Be smart about choosing a financial advisor – know which questions to ask

My favorites? Numbers 1, 4, 5, and 6. I like her approach to no-fear stock options, which Laurie describes as receiving cash for “renting out” your stock. She has a pragmatic, plain-English approach to teaching that's easy to understand. Two thumbs up to Laurie for making a complex subject make simple sense.

Whether you're just starting out investing in your financial life, or you're in the home stretch, there's a lot to be learned from this gem of a book. She demystifies investing, covers the basics such as 401k, IRAs, and mutual funds, then moves on to teach about options with real-world experience. She tackles the issue of risk head-on, and teaches you how to use options to magnify earnings while protecting against, and even reducing, risk. She pulls back the curtains and reveals how financial planners get paid, what you can do yourself, and when you should ask for guidance.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Investing

My favorite part of the book — aside from the real-life stories of other women and their investing success — is Chapter 11, where she includes a step-by-step to-do list. She tells you how to open an online account, what periodicals and online sites to follow and read, and how to hire a professional money manager if you decide to. It's the best $16.95 you'll ever spend, and it's a book I wish I'd had years ago.

Be sure to visit Laurie Itkin at The Options Lady to purchase her book, see her event schedule, or schedule her to speak at one of your events.

Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship on the Rise

When I was growing up, nice girls didn't talk about money. Hogwash, I say, (or stronger words to that effect). We have to talk about it, but more than that, we have to arm ourselves with knowledge and take action. If you want to live the good life — and today that might be as basic as having health insurance and a decent retirement, but I like to think it might also include the occasional trip to Paris or a spa — then you have to take consistent, automatic action with regard to your money.

Even if you're struggling today, make a plan for yourself. I saw a recent research paper by MBO Partners, which stated that by 2020, a staggering 60% of knowledge-based workers in the U.S. will be independent. That means self-employed. The Wikipedia definition of a knowledge-based worker includes those who “think for a living,” such as doctors, teachers, financial analysts, attorneys, architects, etc.

And if you didn't catch the date, that's less than a decade.

So if you're not an entrepreneur by now, you may be soon, whether you planned for it or not. Be ready with your own nest-egg and investments, and the tools to manage your financial and business life.

A Financial Challenge

Here's my challenge to you. If you haven't created a schedule for investing, do it today. Sign up for your 401k program at work, open a Roth IRA, open a trading account, or invest time in a side business to bring in extra income. Prepare to weather the storms and vicissitudes of life.

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Where to Buy Jan's Books

  • Buy on AppleBooks
  • Buy on Amazon
  • Buy on Barnes & Noble
  • Buy from Google Play
  • Buy from Kobo
  • Buy from IndieBound
  • Buy from Audible

Jan’s books are also available to purchase in Deutsch, Dutch, Italiano, Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian. More languages coming soon!

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