May 05, 2019
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In this episode, Suze shares a story from a woman who suffered a brain aneurism and woke up thinking her life was great.
So today is Sunday and normally on Sunday’s podcast, I tell a story. And that story somehow leads into a financial lesson. And today's podcast starts with an email that I got from a woman by the name of Christina. Here is her story. I'm a new listener to your podcast. I'm a podcast junkie, but I love you so much. I find myself listening over and over, and hoping that something sinks in. I remember your advice not to make financial decisions out of fear, anger or desperation. Well, I guess that's just fear. Well, I've done them all. What a pickle. Let me tell you a little bit about my story. At 43, I was a successful statistical programmer, a mother of four, when I was struck with a grade four ruptured brain aneurysm. I spent six weeks in a coma, suffered a stroke and woke up to find that life had changed significantly, and that I had also forgotten a lot about where I was in life. I woke up adoring my husband of 20 years and forgetting that I had been planning on leaving him, and that I had a secret brokerage account set aside for my escape and why. We set out on a new path together as I was forced into retirement. He relied on me to do all the decision making, and he would just follow along as he had always done. What I've forgotten was the reason I was in charge was because he doesn't like to be held responsible for going down the wrong road. So if I'm leading, then he can blame the results on me, and he doesn't have to participate. Just ride along because I was always the engine. I've been remarkably resilient, but question whether I should have been in charge during such a time of great loss. My skull had been cut into. I lost my job, my livelihood was suffering from depression, PTSD and didn't have a very good piece of mind, but still was left to do the taxes, sell the house and find a new reason to live. Crazy things inspired me. I started training horses and fell in love with alpacas and farm life. I was raised on a dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania. I was forced to liquidate much of my brokerage accounts because they were linked with my former job, and it was employee owned so that meant reinvestment. Without any advice or consultation other than my ride along spouse, I purchased a starter herd of alpacas, which I boarded. Then the farms I was boarding at said I had to get out, so I began to search for a farm and ended up in western Kentucky. I took the rest of my liquidation and built the barn paddocks and shop, thinking we were starting a business together. But soon rediscovered what I had been forgetting. My ride along spouse was not interested in starting a business, in being on a farm, or doing farm work in his retirement. The same resentment that was present in my before life, was now large in this new forever life. And I was more alone than ever. Plus, he treated me like I had dementia or something. I had been cognitively tested numerous times, and always tested well. My current dilemma. Here I am now 56, and stuck with the 64-year-old guy I can't stand. And he is miserable in this place that I dragged him to. We hate each other. The kids are on their own, all four plus granddaughter. We have to get away from each other. I've had four brain surgeries just in 2019, and expect another before the year's out. I am angry and I don't want to be foolish again. He knows this is not working, and wants out as bad as I do. I'm just not sure how or where to start. Divorce or separate? Lawyers or financial pathologist? He has a retired federal worker. We've been married 29 years, so I'm entitled to part of his pension. I have been the one paying the mortgage for my disability. I have my retirement account at Ameriprise, plus I lost both of my parents last year, and their estate has been settled. But most of that is in stocks that I have been moving into a brokerage account. Because I am disabled, I have been able to make early withdrawals without penalty, but I am not to use my retirement because I'm not 60 yet. Where do I begin? Thanks, Chris Stuck in the bluegrass. Why am I conveying Chris's story to you? Because in life, the easiest thing to do is to forget. The hardest thing to do is to remember. And that is the theme of today's podcast. Now, Chris, Chris had a really great reason to forget. To forget that she hated her husband, to forget that she had a side fund because she was gonna leave him, to forget all these things because she had a brain aneurysm. And she's still going through it all to this day, really, medically speaking. But you forget things that go on in your life that you don't like as well. And the reason that I'm telling you this story is because as many of you are writing me, and I've said this before. You are writing me about at the age of 40, 50, 60 and 70. That you are finding yourselves in a position that you don't want to be in anymore. You don't want to be in the relationship that you're in. And it's not even just with another person. It could be you don't want to be in the relationship that you're in with your money, you don't want to be in the relay that you're in with your kids because your kids are fighting with you all the time. You don't want to be in the relationship that you're in with your boss because you hate your job, and everything isn't working out for you that way. You don't want to be in the relationship that you're in with your mother in law, with your father in law, with your own parents, with anybody. So this isn't just about a relationship with a spouse. This is about relationships period. And it's important. How you deal with relationships, because when you are in a miserable relationship, with anybody or anything, you tend to be miserable. And when you are miserable and you feel miserable, what do you do? You go out and you spend money so that you can feel better. You go out and you buy things that you don't even need or want because you are practicing retail therapy, because the only thing in your mind that's going to make you feel okay is to spend money. To do something that really destroys your own relationship with your financial future. You go out to eat, you spend money, you go to a movie, you spend money, you go on a vacation or take a trip, you spend money. And normally you do that to escape. To escape the relationship of life that you don't want to remember. And in doing so, in the same way that Chris did not remember how miserable she was, she then started to start over and she got little signs. One, by one, by one that reminded her, oh yeah I never wanted to do this. Why did I do this again? But I did. In your own life, you get little signs. And the question is, do you pay attention to those signs? Do you? You get little feelings when something's going wrong, Whether it's in your personal relationship, or with the relationship with a financial advisor, or an insurance agent, or anybody in your life. But yet, you don't pay attention to those signs. You just keep going on like everything is going to be just fine. But then the years go by. And the truth of the matter is, it's not fine. And everything comes tumbling down on you. Chris asked me the question. At the end here she says, I'm angry, and I don't want to be foolish again. She calls herself foolish. Just because she didn't remember. He knows this is not working, and he wants out as bad as I do. I'm just not sure how or where to start. Divorce or separate? Lawyers or financial pathologist? So the question is in your life, are you in a situation where you have a relationship with someone or something, and you know it needs to end. But you don't know where to start in terms of making it end. It's not easy to do things when you always want to be seen as the good person, or you don't ever really want to hurt somebody. Or you want to make sure that everybody else feelings is put before your own. The object of the Women & Money podcast is so that you value yourself. You know how you always hear, let me say at the end of at least my TV show, I don't know why I don't do it on my podcast. I need to think about this. Anyway. People first, then money, then things. And you would always take that people first to mean others. That you should put others in front of money. You should take care of others. It's not what it meant. It's not what it meant at all. It meant you that I wanted you to put yourself first in front of everybody else, no matter what that made others think about you. It doesn't matter what others think about you. Let them think, cause they're gonna think anyway. What matters in life is how you feel about who you are, how you feel about your life, how you feel about the actions that you take that you take. And if you know that your actions, and your feelings, and your thoughts are kind, are necessary, and true, then who cares about what anybody else thinks? Chris, oh you betcha, I know where you should start. Divorce him. Just divorce him, Chris. At 29 years, you are entitled to half of his pension. You're entitled probably to your home. You're entitled to all kinds of things. You know, you say that your parents died last year. Just make sure that 100% of that money is put in an account that is just in your name, not in a joint account. As long as it is just in your name, you will be protected. So it's almost as if your parents are coming down from above and saying to you, no, just keep it for you. This is for you. Don't share it, don't do other things with it, keep it for you. So it's important Chris. It's important your story, because within your story against all odds, you're making it, you are making it, your kids are making it. You're making it. Your ex-husband when you do that will make it. And all that matters in life really is that you never forget again. So why am I once again telling you Chris’s story? Because I don't want you to forget the things in life that are there to protect you. Again, the hardest thing in life is to remember, the easiest thing is to forget. You are to remember the little things that you don't feel are going the way that they should. You are to remember when you get yourselves into situations that you thought, you know what, this just doesn't feel right. You are not to forget those things, because if you do, you won't do anything about them. And to be a strong, to be a smart, and to be a secure woman, you have to have the courage to take actions. You have got to have the courage and the faith in yourself to do that which you know you should do to protect yourself. And yes, as I said earlier, this is all about you. Yourself. Because if you can protect yourself, and make yourself strong, smart and secure, you then have the strength to hold up your entire family if you ever need to. So I don't know, I think that's a good reason for most of you out there, especially those of you that are mothers. To want to remember always, always. The key thing I want you to remember is this. I want you to remember who you really are, and who you really want to be. All right, that's the story for this week's podcast.
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