Chicks and Dough
I opened up Facebook this morning to find that my old neighbor and friend, Helaine Olen, has just finished her new book. Her first solo book, really. And boy- what a doozy it is.
See, Helaine has for years been an independent blogger/columnist specializing in the area of economics- most specifically, personal finance. (Which according to her, as you might imagine, puts her in a suite that perhaps three other female individuals in the world also have the keys to. Not a large beer bash up on that floor...)
Her current blog on the Forbes platform is called "Where Life Meets Money." She's written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and had a popular feature in the LA Times called "Money Makeover," to name a few of her credits.
When she resided here in Venice, a mere six doors down from us on the walkstreet, I knew very little about her vast array of knowledge- about just how damn smart she was and is. I did know Helaine as the wife of another charismatic, witty Jewish TV/film writer, and as a new mother to a sweet and precocious boy with a beauteous mop of soft honey hair. I knew her as an acerbic wit, and as someone anyone could tell from 20 paces was a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker through and through. But until very recently, I did not fully comprehend the personal gravitas which this woman is owed.
Helaine's fresh off the presses book is called "Pound Foolish." It's a sobering, detailed account of how Americans have mostly ineffectually managed their personal finances starting from the end of the last century into the present, and what really has happened to all our money. Here is a link about the book and a bit about the extraordinary mind and person that she is: Helaine and here is a link to her appearance on the Daily Show last night (Good golly you go girl!) Helaine n Jon gettin it on
I for one was a bit bowled over when we met for lunch on the AK- a mere four months ago or so- back when she was in town on PR business or some such for the book. She described to me what it is she's been up to for the past few years. (Now, mind you, Helaine and her family left Venice about a decade ago, right around the time I had just given birth to our first kid, so it's not shocking that I didn't really have much of an idea what was going on in her life. Unscrewing a jar of Gerber apricot baby smish was an intellectual endeavor for me back then. I was operating on so much consistent sleep deprivation...)
Turns out Helaine has been studying and reporting on stock market trends, ever shifting expanse of our country's GDP, 401K returns. Everything to do with personal finance as it pertains to the economic climate of our country, and how we "get ahead" or don't- this woman has been in knee-deep. And I find that tremendously impressive. Firstly because I get swimmy-eyed half way through page 1 of our financial advisor's yearly report of our family's assets. I try valiantly but really can stomach no more than the handful of headlines the Sunday Times Business section offers each week. Turns out, no matter how much of a dormant intellectual I'd like to fancy myself, when it comes to money and finances.. and..stock picks and...Alan Greenspan... interest rates...current... fixed loan.... mortgages..and....zz..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I don't really know if I can truly call myself an adult at this point.
But Helaine is. And more importantly, she's a LADY adult. Small and petite of stature, pretty and whip-smart, this mid-aged sexy-librarian (with or without her designer specs on) is exactly who should be pulling the curtain back on the Great Oz and exposing our financial climate for the veritable circus it has been in the past fifty years or so. Especially because she talks at length about how WE as a nation need to start thinking in terms of OUR money. How WE are like one organism here in America, financially speaking (among other ways I believe), and we need to dispel the myth that middle class families are individually to blame for their economic troubles. She is another female voice of stature who is trumpeting the need for communal responsibility and true investment.
I for one will run, not walk, to my nearest Amazon link and click the BUY button for this book- which I encourage all of you to do as well. ( Good Christ, I'm going to try to make it through the first chapter. If ANYONE can hold my attention on financial matters, it's got to be Helaine...)
Here's to smart, ballsy women! Here's to you Helaine Olen! May the New York Times Bestseller List be yours for the taking!
Ok. I'm just gonna go strum my guitar and try to come up with some more lyrics to another song now. Then probably watch some TV....then maybe make the bed....I dunno, go to the grocery store... I hear Ralph's is having a sale on pork chops...