Friday, November 20, 2009

From Rags to Riches to Rags to Riches

Kim's Story:

Twenty years ago, I went to work for a small computer supplies wholesaler. At the time, they were doing about $36 million a year in sales. I was just a few years out of college and started as a clerk in the purchasing department.

Over time, I rose up through the ranks, ultimately reaching the level of senior management. With each promotion came additional responsibilities and pay. Some of that pay came in the form of stock options.

In January 1995 the company went public. By then, they were closing in on $500 million a year in sales and would soon reach a billion. At the moment my employer’s ticker symbol crossed the tape for the very first time, I suddenly had more money than most people dream of having even after a lifetime of work. I was 31 years old.

I knew nothing about investing or taking care of money. In fact, at the time the company went public, I was basically living paycheck to paycheck (albeit a fairly large one) just like everyone else. I had gone to some of the finest schools our country has to offer. I had business law in high school, and I graduated from college with a degree in business. I took several classes in corporate finance. I could do double entry accounting, tell you about supply and demand curves, program a computer, and read a novel in French. But nowhere along the way did anyone ever sit me down and explain the basics of personal finance or investing. Strange, isn’t it?

So, having grown up on television commercials, I did the thing that seemed most reasonable. I went to one of those big brokerage firms and asked them what I should do with the money. They told me they had brokers who would be more than happy to manage that money on my behalf.

Cool! Problem solved. Abdicate responsi—I mean, hire someone else to handle it.

Mind you, I didn’t just pull a name out of a phone book. I got a recommendation from the lead underwriter on our public offering. My broker came highly recommended and worked for the parent company of the investment bank that took our company public. Without naming names, I’ll just say that unless you have lived your whole life under a rock, you know the name of this firm.

In all fairness, I will be the first to admit that I didn’t handle my side very well. I spent a lot of money on really dumb things. In fact, I quit my job and proceeded to have a really good time. That is what you do when you are young and foolish and feeling bulletproof. But you know what? The broker did his fair share of dumb things too.

I didn’t understand what he was doing. Frankly, I didn’t even try to understand what he was doing. After all, he was supposed to be the expert. Whatever he suggested, I agreed to. How could I not? I didn’t have any facts to base a decision on one way or the other. I was like a leaf floating along in the river, going wherever the current might take me. And where it took me was over the falls!

Less than two years later, I was dead broke.

The story might have ended there - except that it didn't.

How did Kim's story end?  Find out at the 2010 Get RADICAL Women's Conference where she'll be sharing her rags to riches to rags to riches story along with her financial strategies to not only help you make money - but grow it and keep it!

Save $50 off the regular conference registration price!
Take advantage of our 2 or 3 payment option if you register by Nov. 30th.

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Doreen Rainey is a Life Coach and Speaker who helps her clients Get RADICAL! For a FREE 30 day membership to the RADICAL Lifestyle Women's Network or to subscribe to her bi-weekly newsletter, visit her website. Join Doreen in the Washington, DC area for the 2010 Get RADICAL Women's Conference featuring Jillian Michaels, Fitness Trainer from The Biggest Loser and Rhonda Britten, Emmy Winner Life Coach from Starting Over and Celebrity Fit Club.

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