Kelley Keehn – For decades, there has been this rather long accepted – yet highly unfair – pre-conception that women never knew how to handle money, let alone earn it.
When that stereotype comes to mind, I immediately think of a typical episode of the classic 50s TV sitcom “I Love Lucy”, whenever Lucy Ricardo would buy a new hat or dress, and then her husband Ricky would literally go ballistic over Lucy’s purchase, not to mention the high price tag that went along with it.
Kelley Keehn, author and longtime personal finance educator, who is also seen regularly on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show as its financial educator, agrees that this age old stereotype is unfair.
“You can’t paint that image with broad strokes. Woman are now in the workforce more than ever, which is a newer evolution for them,” she said during a recent phone interview. In fact, women now hold up to 40% of the wealth in the world … yet 50% of women still defer to their spouses when it comes to financial matters, and over 70% of them wish they could have more power when it comes to their financial future.
“Also, it’s quite unfair to stereotype women as people who can’t and don’t handle their finances,” she added. “It’s like a reminder about their grandmothers, who were around during a time when they couldn’t own property without their husbands at their sides. Although the men worked for and earned their money, women were the better money managers because they were able to pay the bills every month.”
So in order to help break that stereotype of women as poor money managers, and show that they can be the masters of their own financial futures, Ms. Keehn has recently published a new book that tackles these issues, which is called Rich Girl, Broke Girl.
The idea for the book was a collaborative effort between Ms. Keehn and her editor who worked on her previous book Talk Money to Me, who was well aware of the unique financial issues that women faced. So over a glass of wine at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Toronto, the two sketched out the idea for what would become Rich Girl, Broke Girl.
Throughout the book, Ms. Keehn offers a wide variety of helpful tips on how women can gain the confidence to become more effective money managers. They include how to determine realistic and attainable goals, how to enjoy the occasional splurge AND save money at the same time, and how to better understand financial risks and make good investments.
“Just because there are women today who are regarded as ‘rich’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they got tons of money in the bank and are out of debt,” she said. “In my book, I have two main messages that I want to convey to readers: 1) you can do it and 2) money is the oxygen supply and the essence of our lives, whether you’re the breadwinner or not.”
Another plus for the book is how Ms. Keehn uses case studies involving a number of composite women characters to give a more realistic approach to the financial lessons that she wants to impart upon the reader, instead of a whole jumble of complex and complicated financial theories and principles. “I have been teaching finance for a long time, and at times it can be boring. That is why I used female-specific stories for the book, so that I can bring all this financial information to life,” she said. “That way, they can see themselves in the characters that are portrayed in the case studies, and the solutions that are presented are real case scenarios that really worked out for the better.”
When Ms. Keehn found out that the Indigo bookstore chain wanted Rich Girl, Broke Girl on the shelves of its stores earlier than the original early 2022 release date, she found it to be a welcoming surprise. “I think it was great that Indigo wanted the book to be in the hands of readers much sooner than anticipated,” she said. “With COVID, things changed financially and it’s important that when it comes to money and gaining financial freedom for women, that mind set should be established as soon as possible, so that women don’t have to bury their heads in the sand, and can build up their confidence to take charge of their finances.”