Why Nicole Lapin decided to write a financial book that women can relate to.
Since learning the ropes on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange at 18, Nicole Lapin has served as anchor on CNBC's Worldwide Exchange, business anchor for Bloomberg TV, and money saving correspondent on The Wendy Williams Show. In her new book, Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together...Finally, she takes her expertise and channels it into what she describes as “the Rosetta Stone of financial content for young women who might not relate to the other so-called financial experts that yell at them, ‘Don’t buy a latte, buy a house!’”
While she's in town to host a power women brunch this Saturday with our editor in chief Kristin Detterline and Ellevate Philadelphia, the financial journalist talked to us about Rich Bitch and the biggest financial mistake women make today.
Tell us a little bit about your career and how you first learned the language of money. NICOLE LAPIN: I’m the least likely to become a financial expert. Like a lot of first-generation Americans, my family was all about cash; I never even had a debit card growing up. My boyfriend in high school wanted to become a hedge fund manager and I thought that meant he wanted to get into gardening—I kid you not. I used to smile and nod instead of joining money conversations because I was too scared to ask questions—until I was thrown onto the floor of the Chicago Merch, which is the Chicago Stock Exchange, when I was 18 years old, and needed to learn how to speak the language of money to the entire world. At first it sounded like Chinese to me, [but] then it turned into something I could understand and then it clicked.
After such a successful career in broadcasting, what inspired you to write a book? NL: For me growing up and going through my career and learning on my own, there was no resource. Frankly, all the books I read were boring and didn’t feel relevant to me as a young woman. When I was 25 and I was anchoring at CNBC, I realized it wasn’t this audience that needed [this] information most. In fact, a lot of the expert advice that was [being] given was bulls---. We need to change the language in which we’re speaking about these things and just keep it real, which is exactly what I do. The way I speak in my book [is] the very same way I’m speaking to you right now, and I swear because I swear in real life. [I thought], Why isn’t there a money book that swears and why isn’t there a Skinny Bitch for money because that book is amazing? Let me create one. And that’s what I did.
What can readers expect to find in the pages of Rich Bitch? NL: They can expect to get a 12-step program to getting it together and getting it all. It’s a simple plan to get you comfortable with figuring out what your goals are and [figuring] out how to pay for those goals. I knew the best way to tell a story is to tell it openly and honestly and being comfortable in my own skin in order to talk about all the ways I messed up along the way. I put my heart on my sleeve in this book; I keep it real. I tell you the unofficial guide to life by getting your money right and in order.
Why did you choose the title Rich Bitch? NL: It was a really conscious choice. Yes, I’ve been called a bitch in a derogatory sense, but there’s nothing wrong with being strong and confident. I’m taking back the word and owning it. Being a rich bitch is a great thing [and] it’s an empowering thing. It means you're confident enough to live a rich life in all aspects and have the self-awareness to know exactly what you want and grab it by the balls.
What’s your advice for women on how to balance career and family? NL: I think you have to not draw such a hard line between work and play. There [are] a lot of blurred lines—work can be fun and fun can be work. I think when you stop trying to create this perfect balance, you’re going to become happier. There [are] ways of looking at goals in all aspects of your life in order to make them compatible. I break down your goals in the three Fs—Finance, Family, and Fun. It’s about coming up with goals in those three areas in your life and they have to be things that are compatible. You need to be very clear about where you’re going in those areas in order to create a cohesive narrative for your life.
What's the biggest mistake women make when it comes to money and financial stability? NL: Not having the only LBD that never goes out of style—the Little Budget Diary. I like to make an analogy toward diet [because] it’s like looking at your financial diet. I break down budgeting in the three Es—70 percent goes to Essentials, 15 percent goes to End Game, such as your future like saving for retirement, vacation, starting a business, or whatever it is, and then 15 percent to Extras, so all the fun stuff you want to do. The same as your diet; if you allow yourself small indulgences, you’re not going to binge later on.
Tell us about the brunch you're hosting with Kristin and Ellevate this weekend. NL: Ellevate is a woman’s organization that was started by a female banking pioneer named Sallie Krawcheck. The group in Philadelphia and I wanted to put together something that celebrated women who take control of their life, their career, and their destiny, which is what a rich bitch is all about. It’s about living a rich life in all aspects; it’s not just about career, it’s about love, it’s about relationships and community, and that’s what the event will celebrate.
What are some of your favorite Philly spots to visit when you’re in town? NL: I like Zazen in Bryn Mahr on Lancaster—it’s awesome. That’s where I get my blowouts and my mani-pedi. They do it at the same time, which is the ultimate time-saver. I’m a vegan so I love Vedge and I love Charlie was a sinner. Those are some of my favorite spots. Oh, and 76ers games.
What other projects are you working on? NL: I will continue to be Wendy Williams’ money correspondent. It’s an awesome show to be incubated in as her in-house financial Svengali. I am a business correspondent for The Insider and Entertainment Tonight covering the business of Hollywood. I [also] have a production company that creates accessible financial content. We have a show with AOL called I’ll Never Forget My First, which is where powerful women talk about the first time they [realized] they made it. It’s about celebrating career in a fun and sassy way.
Have brunch with Nicole Lapin and Kristin Detterline this Saturday, February 28 at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, 10 Avenue of the Arts, 215-523-8000. Purchase tickets here