Prince Not So Charming: A financial Planner's Smackdown of Cinderella

By Kathleen Grace

Cinderella's slave-driving stepsisters don’t let her go to the ball. Having to take care of the home and her step-sisters and step-mother make Cinderella feel trapped, without options and looking for some way of being rescued. Meeting and dancing with Prince Charming presents her the opportunity to escape to a world which appears better, even blissful.

Desperate times can lead to desperate measures.  Cinderella knows nothing about this Prince and has only met him for a few minutes, yet views him as escape from the torment she lives.  When things appear dire and hopeless, we can blindly chase what appears better. But this can often lead us to make poor decisions, as was the case with the modern-day Cinderella described in my book  "Prince Not So Charming®".  

Prince Charming can’t rescue you – he’s too busy rescuing himself!  Here are some guidelines that might have helped Cinderella.

1.     Giving Prince Charming full financial control also hands over your power. When someone has control over your financial future, you are vulnerable to a financial crisis. Counting on Prince Charming to pay the bills exposes you to being controlled financially or otherwise. Knowledge and involvement in the daily expenses and income will help prevent becoming a victim.

2.     Anything can happen to Prince Charming, so be prepared. He can die, become disabled, be a spendthrift, or simply turn out to be a jerk. Relationships may be perfectly romantic in the beginning. The unfortunate truth, however, is that they often come to an end—given the current divorce rate is over 50 percent.

3.     When you are financially independent, you are better equipped to deal with the emotional devastation of a breakup. Getting over the loss of Prince Charming, in and of itself, is tough enough. But it is exponentially more difficult when you are dealing with a breakup and being broke.

Failure to understand these three truths could lead to Cinderella’s financial demise. Her predicament is familiar to anyone who has been swept off her feet and consumed by the euphoria of a budding romance. Indeed, my over 20-year career as a financial adviser has taught me that we are all vulnerable to being deceived by someone who really isn’t the person they claim to be.

In fact, I have met countless women—rich and poor, educated and uneducated, business leaders and stay-at-home moms—who, like Cindi, are convinced that Prince Charming exists. Experience has taught me, however, that no man will ever save you. Thus, it is our responsibility as women to save ourselves. But rather than place blame on Cinderella for making poor financial decisions, I encourage you to use her example to identify possible warning signs that can prevent you from putting your financial well-being at risk.

Nine out of ten women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives.

By understanding the following four principles, you will be able to improve your decision making, regardless of the emotional role that money plays in your life:

1.     The key to creating wealth is to live well below your means and save the rest.

2.     Do not use money to make yourself feel good.

3.     Be in control of your money. In other words, do not let money control you.

4.     Be smart and savvy with credit card debt.