General Rules for Happily Ever After

By Landis Lain

Cinderella’s stepmother was not wicked. She had no skills, no job, no prospects, and two daughters to support.  She married a man who died and left her with an extra child who learned all the stuff stepmother did not.  Girlfriend was disappointed.

Cinderella, on the other hand, knew how to read, write and count.  She learned how to clean, cook, hunt and run a household on a budget. She knew how to bargain with the tinker and barter with the neighbor. She had knowledge of animal husbandry and sewing. She knew how to deal with the servants in a kind and polite way. Name it, Cindy could do it.  Cinderella was the only woman in the household who was prepared to become a princess.  Become Cinderella. Prince or no Prince, she knew how to run things. 

At some point, 80 to 90% of American women will be solely responsible for their own finances. The average age of widows in 2000 was 55.  Statistics show that by to year 2025 there will be 34,971,000 women over 65 years old. The average life expectancy for American women is 7 years longer than for American men.  Of the widows now living in poverty 80% were not poor before their husbands died. Everyone needs to learn about finances, especially women.

Follow Cindy’s rules.

Prepare for a career.  Finish school. Keep your resume updated. Your career path should allow growth, flexibility and financial solvency. Continually learn new skills. Every skill is useful. Remember, the virtuous woman was living large even before the prince ever came into her orbit.

Pay yourself first. Set up direct deposit accounts so that you never see the money. Pay your account like a bill. The money no longer exists. Learn about investments. Start saving for retirement.  Stuff breaks. Maintain a rainy-day fund.

Live within your means.  Shelter, food, transportation and running water are bills.  Everyone has them. Macy’s is debt.  Debt free is the way to be.   
Maintain your own credit. Keep one card for business transactions. Negotiate lower interest rates. There is a difference between bills and debt.  Cut up the extra credit cards and pay off the accounts.  The 20% interest that the credit card company charges should be in your savings account. 

No romance without finance.  Investigate. Before you comingle with a partner discover how they live single. Get a roommate to share expenses, not a parasite.

Family plan. Never have more children than you can take care of by yourself.  Death, divorce, desertion, disability and dumb stuff happen.

With or without a Prince, be like Cinderella. Start planning for success today. Preparation is key to weathering emergencies. Develop your own financial umbrellas. Because it does rain, even in happily ever after.

Landis Lain has two Young/New Adult novels published by Brown Girls Books titled Daddy’s Baby and Butterfly Arising. Her 2020 short Story ‘Gossamer VooDoo’ is published in the Anthology ‘The Fire Inside’. She has won the Michigan Land Contest for her story Dead King Furniture.

Her short story Rusty Feet was published in Chicken Soup for the African American Soul and Color Him Father. Correct Madness: Diary of a Mad Corrections Officer was her first full length publication. She writes romance, short stories, fantasy, fiction, inspirational and creative nonfiction. She taught writing composition at Lansing Community College and has written for the Lansing State Journal Community Advisory Board.