Book Review: Prince Charming Isn't Coming By Barbara Stanny
When I first saw this book “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming” by Barbara Stanny in my suggested Amazon reads, my eyes glazed right over...
Prince Charming? I wasn’t expecting a Price Charming to come and save me, but...
Growing up, my parents were divorced and a lot of their friends were divorced too, and so I always knew I wanted to be financially independent. But actually achieving that… is a whole other story.
** Full disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small commission if you buy anything. Thank you for your support!
Prince Charming doesn’t necessarily have to be a man, it can be anything like winning the lottery, getting an inheritance, or striking it big with "the ONE idea" someday. Something we fantasize about that will “fix all our problems someday”.
This “magical idea that I was going to stumble upon" was my downfall - I kept thinking that “someday… I’m going to get this magical idea." Learn from my mistakes; ideas are everywhere and a dime a dozen, but execution is what really counts. If you have an idea, act on it and keep going (more on this later down below in “The Learning Curve”).
My coach once said that she doesn’t believe you have knowledge until it’s actually been applied, and I completely agree.
You have to do more than read a book or watch a video or listen to a podcast once, you have to apply what you’ve learned from those things. Over and over again.
So whenever I read a book now, I ask myself, “Okay, what are my biggest takeaways from this? What is the author trying to teach me here? What’s the moral of the story?” and there’s always more than one lesson. Maybe there’s one big lesson but I can guarantee that there are a bunch of little tiny gems in there too (and they aren’t so tiny or little).
That’s what you get with this book.
A lot of really good gems and life lessons.
I will say that some people might find it a little outdated since it was originally written in 1997 and updated in 2007. However, I still found this book extremely relevant in today’s time and in my life as a millennial living in the 21st century.
Throughout this book, Barbara shared stories of women she’s interviewed and the stories of their lives and money experiences. And well, you know how important sharing stories is to me. I found it to be really grounding and uplifting that other women from all walks of life struggled in their journey.
I mean, we all do, right? But we don't always share the hard parts with one another...
That’s the power of storytelling:
You make someone feel less alone in their journey and you remind them that while the road in front of them may seem scary and the “end” to be nowhere, the journey is possible for them too.
This book is broken up into 3 parts: 1. The Problem, 2. The Process (where she goes over 7 realizations from women she’s interviewed and herself), and 3. The Power (or what I’d call to call, The Enlightenment).
So, with that, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of my book review i.e. cliff notes, takeaways, and why you need your own copy of "Prince Charming Isn’t Coming” too because honestly it's soooo good.
Here are my 4 major takeaways from
"Prince Charming Isn't Coming" by Barbara Stanny:
1. The Learning Curve
There are 4 stages to the learning curve:
unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, unconscious competence, and conscious competence.
Okay, so I’m the type of person who’s really impatient and wonders why things aren’t working out even though I’ve just started something x number of weeks ago. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of supportive and encouraging people around me this year to keep me grounded and to continue the journey when I was going through my “conscious incompetence” stage.
Essentially, your conscious incompetence stage is when you’re aware of how much you don’t know - and if you’re the type of person that doesn’t give yourself a break or some grace to learn, well … you’re going to have a very hard time going through these four stages and you may give up before you get to stage 3: unconscious competence when you start to understand what you’re learning but you’re not aware of how much you know yet.
Honestly, it’s all really interesting and you may think “Well… duh… it’s common sense that you’re not going to get something right away” but soooo many people give up on things before giving themselves enough time to learn and even more people give up before they’ve even started!
Here’s the good news: Even if you are / were one of those people that have given up easily in the past, you can change starting now. Not tomorrow, not next week. Now. Today. And I can tell you that because one of my biggest old stories was that I’m one of those people that give up easily (and trust me, I have given up on a lot of things).
Until I choose not to anymore.
“In the first stage, “Unconscious Incompetence,
we don’t even know what we don’t know. We are in the dark.”
If that sounds like your relationship with money, you’ll want to get out of there asap. It’s not fun being in the dark about your money.
Whenever journey you’re on right now - maybe you’re working through a passion point or learning a new skill and maybe you feel like you’re not making any visible process, keep going. You may not notice your progress for weeks or even months, but one day, you’ll be doing something and notice. You’ll notice how far you’ve come, all the progress you’ve made, and you’ll find yourself in stage 4 over at conscious competence when you know what you’re doing, saying, and you’re walking the walk with flow and ease.
She also breaks down the part about feeling overwhelmed, riding the learning curve, getting started, some tools for the traveler, and what happens when resistance takes over.
All really good information and …all really relatable. Because it’s happened to me …more than once.
2. A Two-Part Process
“For women to achieve financial self-sufficiency, I believe we must follow a two-pronged process.
In other words, we have two tasks we must accomplish in order to reach our goal: I call these two tasks the other work and the inner work. The outer work tackles practical matters with factual information; the inner work explores the psychological realm and focuses on emotional awareness. It is the inner work of transforming our beliefs and attitudes combined with the outer work of absorbing hard-nosed facts that ensures our success.
That is why, for many of us, reading an investment book isn’t enough.”
- Barbara Stanny
Most people want to focus on one and skip the other, but you have to do both the inner and outer work to get the whole picture.
Y'know, a wholehearted lifestyle.
While reading an investment book sounds …not so fun (though probably very helpful), it does sound a bit better than doing the inner work of spending time with your emotions, childhood history, and the mindset blocks standing in-between where you are and where you want to be.
If you’ve spent years and/or most of your life ignoring and trying your bury your emotions, the last thing you want to do is go digging it all up.
But that's what it takes. That's part of the journey.
And as you start your journey on this two-part process, get help - another one of Barbara’s wonderful realizations: “I don’t have to do this alone".
Join a financial support group where you feel comfortable and supported. Talk to a therapist (as you uncover your childhood and past). Get together with a friend and have money conversations over coffee.
I know that there might guilt, shame and maybe a mix of over underlying emotions, because you’re worried of what other people will think of say about your “lack of knowledge”. So here’s mine: I use to avoid depositing my paychecks, because going to the bank made me feel stupid because I didn’t know anything about money and I felt like everyone else around me ~knew something that I didn’t~. (Lies, all lies I told myself.)
The only way someone takes our power away from us is if we give it away.
Share your story shamelessly instead; let it free and let it go. You’re on a better path now and you don’t need anyone’s permission to be a financially savvy women.
3. No One Is Going To Do This For You
Barbara’s right: Prince Charming isn’t coming. In fact, no one is coming.
And at some point, you have to get really serious and ask yourself, “What if Prince Charming doesn’t come?”
What if you don’t end up winning the lotto? Or hitting it big with that “one in a lifetime” idea? Or getting that inheritance? Or what if you do get that inheritance and blow it all away?
At some point in your life, you’re going to realize: The responsibility of how your life turns out (or doesn’t turn out) is on you. And no one is going to do this for you.
Spoiler alert: You have to go through the journey yourself.
And that can be a very scary realization. …at least, it was for me.
At the same time, it can also be really exciting and freeing because since you’re in charge now, you can start creating the life you truly desire (and remember, it’s not an overnight process) but now you’ve left stage 1 and entered stage 2 of conscious incompetence.
This is only the beginning of a very beautiful and often messy journey, my friend.
Choose to be your own Prince Charming.
You are going to learn so, so much, and I am so excited for you. There is so much in store for you. Because as overwhelming and scary leaving stage 1 is, once you’ve gained awareness and insight to a whole new world, it changes everything.
It's like seeing life from a whole, new perspective.
Time to say goodbye your rose tinted glasses.
Your whole life changes. (Yes, it’s suppose to sound that dramatic, because this is a very big deal.) I hope you’re just as excited as I am for you. And if you’re feeling the fear and resistance, remember you don’t have to do this alone.
No one can go through this journey for you, but this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help, watch videos, join a support group, etc. There are people out there willing to help. I believe in you, and I know in my heart you can do this.
4. Climbing The Investment Pyramid
Remember how we talked about this being a two part process? The inner and outer work combined?
Well, here’s the outer work: Learning to climb the investment pyramid.
What I love about this book is that I got the best of both worlds - the psychological and the practical without feeling super overwhelmed and feeling like I was/am an idiot for being so clueless about everything.
Honestly, I didn’t even know investment groups existed before reading this. I also didn’t know the difference between financial planners, money managers, brokers, etc.
My favorite tactic (in the past) when I didn’t know something was to avoid it at all costs, and while reading this book, I learned I wasn’t the only one which was very comforting but also inspiring to see how the women in this book empowered themselves and took consistent action over time to be in control of their lives.
If you’re also like me and easily feel overwhelmed by “not knowing enough”, here’s a quote from the book that might help alleviate some of that:
“[…] common sense and basic knowledge is all we really need to become financially fluent. Look at this way. There are only five places to invest money: stock, bonds, real estate, commodities, and cash or cash equivalent.” - Barbara Stanney
And she gives you a brief description of each one on page 60-61.
Back to the pyramid, it goes (from the bottom to the top): Cash and cash equivalents, conservative stocks and bonds, more volatile investments, and most risky investments. You work your way from the bottom to the top, but most people rarely do “most risky investments”.
“We should have enough cash set aside for periods of unemployment, unforeseen emergencies, or unexpected expenses. When we have sufficient cash savings, we move to level two, stocks and bonds." - Barbara Stanny
Reading the first half of this book was a breeze, but reading more practical and financial heavy part took me a minute … and by a minute, I mean me checking Instagram every few pages because it was harder for my brain to want to digest, but it’s definitely written in a way that’s digestible, easy and fun to read, while being extremely resourceful.
If you couldn’t tell by my 2,000 words review, I really enjoyed and took a lot away from this book. And I know I’ll take away even more information the next time I read it.
There are so many golden nuggets in here that I didn’t even cover in this blog post, like how to find a financial planner or the enlightenment phrase - “I can make a difference”, so I guess you’ll have to get a copy for yourself and find out the rest.
If you enjoyed reading this book review of insights and cliff notes and would actually like to read the actual book for yourself,
I would so appreciate if you used my affiliate link to buy “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming” by Barbara Stanny.
I think it’s extremely important for women (and men) to educate themselves on money and finances. Growing up, I always used the excuse “I wasn’t taught in school” and that’s exactly what it was - an excuse. An old story.
The only way you’re ever going to write a new story is if
you stop believing in your old one and start writing a new one for yourself.
You don’t have to learn everything overnight, but you can start somewhere today.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
Share with me in the comments below:
Have you read this book before? If so, what did you think about it? If not, does it sound like something you’re interested in? Are there any books you would like to recommend for the next book review?