Interview with Lisa Serwin, Author of So Many Shoes, So Little Money

You grew up thinking you were bad with numbers and math, but went on to a career in corporate finance.  What inspired you to write SO MANY SHOES, SO LITTLE MONEY?  
 Like many women, I grew up thinking I was good at shopping but bad with numbers and math. I’m not sure why I felt this way or why so many other women feel this way today. Although this attitude is changing, historically, girls weren’t supposed to like or excel at figures and, as a result, were rarely encouraged to take math classes. There were also women who were hard put to discern any practical applications for math, so why bother?  For me, it was a combination of the above. Whatever the reasons, I simply didn’t enjoy it and avoided it whenever possible.  But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to entirely get around dealing with numbers. They were everywhere. I had to concede that since the world was turning out to be full of numbers, I should make an effort to understand them better. So I took a deep breath, made a big leap, and learned all about finance.
One of the main things I learned was that I possessed the math skills I needed to learn finance. I didn’t have to be a whiz with numbers. Since I was a canny shopper, I had the basics. To manage your money effectively, you really don’t need to have studied advanced calculus or quantum physics. You only need addition and subtraction. Okay, multiplication and division help, as do fractions and percents, but that’s really it. Notice that algebra is not listed; geometry is nowhere in sight (although one way to save money is to angle around the outer perimeters of the shoe department); trigonometry—forget it; calculus—don’t need it.
So I wrote a book using fashion and shopping as fun way to help all women who think they can’t manage their money – you can! 
Why did you choose shopping and fashion as the foundation for teaching women about personal finance?
 Although there are tons of personal finance books on the market, few focus on women, most read like dull primers, and their didactic attempts to teach about money often scare readers to death.  So Many Shoes, So Little Money demonstrates that managing your personal finances can be painless and chic. The book uses shopping and fashion, topics that many female readers already know and love, as a metaphor for lessons about how to handle money. The book is structured to help women embrace the empowering notion that basic financial knowledge and a long-term plan can be the equivalent of front row tickets to Fashion Week. By offering fashion oriented analogies I hope to motivate women with the idea that managing your money is the new black.

 In SO MANY SHOES, SO LITTLE MONEY you stress the importance of creating a budget.  Why is this the essential first step in learning how to manage money?
 Creating a budget is the first and most important step you can take toward managing your money and creating a sound financial plan. Only by knowing what you have (and what you don’t have) can you figure out the next step—whether you can save, spend, or should cut costs. Living within your means is much more important than the amount of money you have. Whoever you are, no matter how much money you make, more than likely, you’ll never have quite enough. Why? Because as your income goes up, so do your expenses. We all want more than we can afford. With more money, your tastes upgrade—it’s inevitable and normal. You’ll want Manolo Blahnik, not Designer Shoe Warehouse, you’ll want champagne, not two buck chuck, and you’ll want a house with a yard instead of that “cozy” little apartment. The beauty of budgeting is that it tells you what your means are—and means are different for everyone. 
Money management is often intimidating.  How does SO MANY SHOES, SO LITTLE MONEY help women overcome their fears of finance?
 By mixing fashion and finance So Many Shoes, So Little Money, utilizes a fun, familiar topic to learn about an unfamiliar topic and actually enjoy gaining these essential skills, despite their misgivings. For example: You know that little black dress tucked in your closet, the one that cost a fortune and you only wear once in a while, but when you do it’s fierce? That’s you and your relationship with your credit card: To be used only on special occasions.

Having money can be a truly enjoyable—even life changing— experience. At its best, money is about freedom and choices, about having options and opportunities. It’s about being able to live the life you want to live in the way you want to live it. Money allows you to travel, to go to school, or to work at something that offers you full satisfaction, regardless of compensation, instead of being stuck in a job you hate just to pay the bills. Money allows you to be self-sufficient, with the confidence that comes with being independent and the freedom to make life choices that are right for you. It doesn’t guarantee all this, but it certainly ups the odds. It’s a means to an end we all aspire to.
The books approachability and use of familiar topics takes the fear out of learning money management. As a bonus it includes fashion and style tips, how to buy designers clothes, quotes from famous designers, and even a brownie recipe because as most women know “sometimes shopping doesn’t help, but chocolate always does.”

To grab your copy of So Many Shoes, So Little Money: A Girl’s Guide to Finance click on the Amazon link below: