The Awakening

The Awakening

Happy Spring!  I just love this time of year, especially living in Michigan because our winters are so long!  Looking out at the lake as I write this, I still see ice covering part of it.  The gardens will soon be bursting with life and in full bloom. Such a happy time. 

I’m interviewing experts about credit, debt, and bankruptcy this month because anyone who has ever experienced being in major debt knows how it can suck the joy and the life right out of you.

I’ve been there too, and it was frightening.

There was a time when my husband and I were first married that we experienced this. I was a new financial advisor, and I was pregnant with my first baby.  My husband was unemployed due to a labor strike, and his only skill since age 18 was playing a French horn for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. To bring home some income, he took a job bartending at a Greek restaurant where he would come home with a few bucks each night. It was so depressing! We got to the point where we were paying our credit cards with the checks you get from the credit card company! The strike finally ended, and he went back to work with a plan.

It was at that point, that we decided that this would never happen to us again.  We made it our goal to do two things:

  • We paid our credit cards off. It took time, but we did it, and we never carry a balance. In fact, most months, my husband has our credit cards paid off before the statements arrive.
  • The second thing we did was to begin building an emergency cash reserve. We started with one month’s expenses, then three, then six, and finally we reached one year’s worth of expenses that we kept in a safe money market account. Now we only get 2% on this money, but it helps us sleep at night, and I love the ability to make home improvements like a new roof, for example, right from our account.

Building up that savings account took time, and besides investing in our retirement plans regularly, it’s one of the smartest thing we ever did. The next time my husband was unemployed due to a labor strike back in 2011, the strike lasted six months. Thank God we had that cash reserve!

I hope you enjoy the interviews this month with our financial experts. We will address the inner and outer workings of debt. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox offers four really smart debt tips in her featured article. I address the deep-seeded causes of debt in my article. You probably know others who can use this information. Please share it with them and invite them to join our Smart Women Community at

Also, I’d love to hear how you like the shows and what topics you like to hear more of.  You can email me at  I love hearing from you!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit

What’s Your Sign According to the Myanmar Zodiac?

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Your personality is intimately related to the day of the week you were born on… or so says traditional Myanmar astrology. I thought I would bring the Myanmar Zodiac home and share it with you and see what you think. The mystic in me always has fun learning about new ways of creating self-awareness and answering the questions all humans ask about why they are here and what they are meant to be doing. (more…)

How I Used My Writing Skills To Build My Own Business

How I Used My Writing Skills To Build My Own Business

I Was Almost Too Afraid To Get Out Of The Car

I sat across the street in my car staring at the door to building number 824. I was 21 years old.

If I didn’t go inside soon, I’d be late for the interview.

But the scene gave me pause. When I was a kid, this was one of Baltimore City’s no-go neighborhoods. In fact, though I’d spent all of my 21 years living in Baltimore, I’d never driven down East Baltimore Street before. (more…)

Smart Money Tip #16 – Can Your Business Run With … or Without You?

Smart Money Tip #16 – Can Your Business Run With … or Without You?

The downside most business owners face is not being able to take a break. When working with a business owner, these are the questions I frequently ask:

  • How confident are you about leaving your business for a few days, a week, a month?
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  • What would it be like if your business could literally run without you?


Smart Women Tip #15 –  Estate Planning: Planning for the Unexpected

Smart Women Tip #15 – Estate Planning: Planning for the Unexpected

Almost 20 years ago when my mother married my step-father, they came to me for estate and financial planning.  My parents created their own trusts and set-up some assets in joint accounts.  To simplify things, they consolidated all financial assets into a brokerage account with American Express Financial Advisors, and I was their financial planner.

Everything was perfect, right?  Well almost. (more…)

Smart Women Tip:  #14 – Could Your Money Personality be Sabotaging Your Marriage?

Smart Women Tip: #14 – Could Your Money Personality be Sabotaging Your Marriage?

It’s hard to believe that my husband, Mark, and I just celebrated our 32nd anniversary this month. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with my husband. He’s not only my partner, but he’s also my best friend and loudest cheerleader. Our marriage has always been strong, but I confess that I wish I had known then what I know now … especially regarding money psychology or money personality.

According to a survey by SunTrust Bank, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships. Although divorce rates are falling, nearly 40% of all marriages are dissolved before a couple reaches their ten-year anniversary. Again, money is the primary culprit. I realize no one enters a marriage with the anticipation of ending it, but there are ways to safeguard your union. (more…)

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