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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Semi-fictional phone conversation with new financial planner

Financial planner: … And that's a brief summary of my services. Do you have any questions?
Me: I know so little about money things, I wouldn't know where to begin.
FP: (laughs)
Me: No, seriously. Money are me scary. You see? Even my syntax falls apart.
FP: Your feelings are common, and--
Me: How do money I get and not lose? Help can you me? Where?
FP: (clearing throat) Have you begun saving for retirement?
Me: Sort of. Not since 2002. I have, I don't know, ten 401Ks? Thirteen? I can't remember where they are. Sometimes I put the statements in a shoe box. The one my cat sleeps in.
FP: Ah.
Me: I tried to save some money in one of those ING accounts but then I spent it all on boots.
FP: Well, first thing--
Me: They were nice boots. They were an INVESTMENT. Say, "investment," that's a money talk!
FP: Okay! First thing is, let's work out a budget.
Me: Uh oh. This talk of "budget" makes me anxious. I feel like I'm floating and I'm going to float up into space and never come back. Could you come over with a blanket and wrap me in the blanket and make sure I'm held down and safe until gravity regains its hold?
FP: It's totally normal to feel--
FP: There, there.

Our conversation went like this for about a half hour. I can't believe I found someone so nice who's willing to work with me despite my obvious lack of knowledge/sanity. Henry might get to attend college after all!

Reader Comments (23)

This is one of the funniest things I have ever read EVER...Probably because I feel EXACTLY the same way about saving money things

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermiranda

Yeah - I wouldn't even know where to start either. I'm only slightly ashamed to say that I let my hubs handle all of it. Just looking at the paperwork makes me twitchy.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Apparently I'm not the only one. I used to go into my tax man and hug him and barely let go until he told me that it would be all right.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn-Marie

Alice, you are one clever, funny lady. I have been reading you for ever. Please, please don't self-deprecate like this. It's really not amusing that so many intelligent women are socialised into thinking it's ok to be scared of money. It's fundamentally disempowering and makes me very sad. Glad you've got yourself a kickass financial advisor lady though: clearly you ain't nearly as dumb about dosh as you like to think ;)

Po-faced lecture over. I still love you.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterelle24

I get what you're saying, but please don't tell me how to feel. It's really therapeutic for me to come clean about my fear of money. It's very real, and I'm keenly aware of how damaging it's been.

I think it's important to joke about it because it absolutely exists.

Thanks for the love!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

Oh, the years I've avoided this (and continue to do so)... Does she give referrals? I need a calm, nice, patient financial advisor. No clue about it, but I keep filing the statements away...

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I'm not afraid of money talk so much as I am afraid of banks. And, in particular, of PHONING banks. Oh dear god don't make me. I'm going to forget the answers to every security question and then I will be In Trouble and then what then??? I make my husband do it half the time, and he always comes in with me when I have to talk to them, if only so he can gape in horror at the 5-6 things that go wrong whenever I have to talk to a teller.

Have you tried reading The Wealthy Barber? It's a cute little novel (yes, a novel!) about people learning about money, which is funny in parts and not terribly written and I learned a lot from it without having to read Financial Books.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Ann

HAHA! Funny you laughers me.

Oh wow. This would be me if I ever had the guts to call a financial planner (finances! Calling people I don't know!! Scary!!!)

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori

Totally agree with your response to elle24. This s*** is real for us ladies ... and let's face it, most men too. I get cold-called by financial advisers regularly because I work at a big law firm and my contact information is freely available on interwebs. Their pitch is always "we already work with people at your firm and are going to be stopping by on such and such day anyway, so why don't we chat for 10 minutes and tell you about our services?" One time I was like fine, OK, and made an appointment. The bro called 25 minutes after he was supposed to show up and was like, "yeah, we had a meeting go long, we're in your lobby now," and I was all "no way, if you disrespect my time this much when you're trying to win my business, how can I expect you to respect my money?" He was pissed and I felt good about shutting him down. Point being I think a lady advisor might be a better way to go. You probably wouldn't want to post her contact info, but if you were to do it, she might get a few calls.

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Dave Barry has written more than one column about being bad with money (investing in real estate, making big purchases). I wonder if anyone slapped his manly wrist for it.

I am pretty good at saving and investing, which spares me the pain of having to make phone calls to financial planners, because Lori is right. Phone calls are scary.

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSlim

"This is a money talk." Hilarious.

I will always be grateful for those who are stronger in the other side of the brain than I am, and could not be more thankful to those who have gone into businesses I can hire to help me. (As I hope all my tech/business/money nerd clients who hire me as an editor are grateful I can help them string words together.)

Funny post!

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWhen I Blink

Oh, how this made me laugh!
I'm not so much scared of money as I am untrusting of my employer's financial advisors. I went to visit one once to talk about moving things around because I'm getting on in years and apparently my investing strategy should change with my hormones. My representative seemed shifty, asking me for all kinds of personal info (like my name and email address). Why does he need that? I think he is trying to steal my money or my identity. Or worse--both!

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdgm

Whenever I talk to a financial adviser, I feel like I've been sent to the principal's office...but it's sure a treat to have my money issues and my fear of authority battle it out while I rock myself quietly in a corner, mumbling.

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngstyJen

It would be amazingly useful if you could explain how those of us who are also really afraid of money can take these steps. I've thought I need a pyschotherapist/financial planner, so deep is my fear. I avoid looking at our bank balance — and we do not have money problems, I'm just crazy.

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterN.

I WORKED in a bank. I was a client service representative for many years, and I worked in a risk/compliance position until my retirement several months ago. I was pretty good at what I did for a living, and I truly loved my job, and all the clients I dealt with.

But, put me on the other side of the desk - to renew our mortgage, or discuss our financial future, or even talk about adding to my retirement package and I break out into a cold sweat, and I lose my ability to speak, and I can only hear our financial advisor speaking in a language I do not understand. I have no idea why I feel this way - I guess I hate the personal side of banking like some people hate spiders or brussel sprouts.

I can totally empathize, Alice - and I bless my husband for coming along to translate what has happened, and I also bless our financial advisor for being the most patient and understanding person!!

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

elle24, how about you stop being self-deprecating about your grammar skills? Deal with your baggage on your own blog.This one is Alice's. If your main point is that you wish women were more confident with money, you could have commented that talking to a financial advisor is a great way to feel better about things. But to come on with a "bad, bad, Alice, shame on you" tone? How the hell do you think that is ok?

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterexceptionally annoyed

I don't think it was off-base for elle24 to comment, and I appreciated the opportunity to clarify. Let's not get nasty.

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Great post! My daughter is an avid and dedicated reader of your blog and forwarded this one on to me as I'm a financial advisor. I work mostly with women so am quite aware of the feelings one can have surrounding money. I'm glad to say I have helped my daughter deal with her issues surrounding money ( shed rather clean a toilet than deal with financial crap). Working with the right planner is key. If one doesn't feel comfortable they should seek another advisor.

August 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRick Fingerman, CFP

Alice, I have this fear regarding money and numbers in general. I get what elle24 is saying, but at the same time, I know myself and my fear is real. It's not something society has taught me. I have daughters, too, so I have to work doubly hard to not project my fear onto them. At least one of them is a numbers whiz and I hope that holds up when the time comes for her to pay either the light bill or buy boots. Or, better yet, I hope she's in a better financial position to not have to choose between the two. I don't help with math homework. I use my iPhone to figure out discounts and add up my groceries before I get to the register and spend $150 when the budget was a hard $85. I do not know where my 401Ks are and I am NOT saying this is ok, but it is ME. I don't think I am powerful enough to cast a sterotypical shadow on all women just because I can't calculate a percentage. It is how I have always felt about numbers and financial planning and taxes and PLEASE JUST DO IT FOR ME. I'm glad my husband knows this, accepts this, and takes over when needed. I keep wanting to feel I'm doing feminism an injustice by saying that, but all I can come up with is being glad that I've have become quite adept at not incurring overdraft fees.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArnebya

I love this post.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBriar

I laughed very loudly at this. At work. In a cubicle.

August 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianne

I need blankets for that very same reason.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

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