From Harper’s Bazaar to US to People magazine, Bristol Palin has made the loop from single to engaged and back again, from buying her own townhouse to moving back in with her parents. Hollis Colquhoun, an expert on “financial self-defense” for women, says Bristol’s story illustrates the need for women to take control of their finances.
“Making major moves like buying a house or getting engaged requires big physical, psychological and financial commitments,” says Hollis, who has more than 20 years experience in the financial industry and co-authored Women Empowering Themselves: A Financial Survival Guide. “The lesson here is to take the time and do lots of due diligence before you take the plunge, whether it’s for a house or a spouse.”
Hollis specializes in helping women overcome “Money Anxiety Disorder.” A survey by the American Psychological Association in late 2008 found that 80 percent of respondents reported the financial crisis was causing them a significant amount of stress.
“Women tend to be more highly stressed about money issues because in general they are not the major breadwinners; they are the care-givers, concerned about their family’s future and wellbeing,” Hollis says. “And in relationships there usually isn’t an open and equal financial partnership between husband and wife.”
Six telltale signs of M.A.D., according to Hollis, include:
- An overall sense of fear or dread thinking about money.
- Panic about job security and income for yourself or your spouse.
- A constant fear that financial safety net (retirement and emergency savings) will disappear forever.
- Feelings of confusion, anxiety and shame about lack of financial knowledge.
- Anger about lack of communication with your partner regarding your personal finances.
- Financial discussions with your partner quickly turn into arguments.
Bristol Palin gave up her townhouse and moved back in with her parents. But like most women, she could probably benefit from a better understanding of finances.