Leather Spinsters Newsletter March 2000 Edition

Leather Spinsters Newsletter March 2000 Edition

Inside this Newsletter

1. Articles

    A. A Better Alternative to Marrying a Multi-Millionaire
    B. We Are Not Misguided
2. Spinster Letters
3. Inspiration Corner
4. Advertisements
5. Helpful Products
6. Spinster-Friendly Newsletters and Ezines

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A Better Alternative to Marrying a Multi-Millionaire by Lynne Thomas

If, as some financial experts maintain, money is the primary tool of power in our society, why do women hesitate to contribute to their retirement plans? Perhaps we fear the consequences of investing for the long term without having a “safety net” in place for the short term. Let’s examine this safety net, or money cushion, and explore one way to establish it with money you already have.

In December 1986, burdened by $8,000 worth of credit-card debt, this spinster-in-the making found herself in a law office pouring out her troubles to a bankruptcy attorney. Four months later my debts were discharged in bankruptcy court, yet I remained a spending “junkie,” nearly blind to my lack of money management skills. Grasp the fundamentals of retirement planning? Devise a practical, workable budget? Hmm. Retirement was charging at me with the words “bag lady” written all over it, but only marriage seemed to offer financial security.

The turning point occurred when I read How to Turn Your Money Life Around: The Money Book for Women, by Ruth Hayden. This 150-page guide not only addresses women’s training, beliefs and behaviors with respect to money, it demonstrates ways to change them. Just as important, it presents a simple, practical plan for managing expenses. Using the book’s work sheets, I calculated my living costs--from rent and groceries to magazines and movies--by analyzing data from my check register, bank statements and credit card statements. After subtracting my expenses from my income I adjusted my spending to align with my life’s goals. Today I recognize each spending opportunity as an occasion to ask 1) Does this fit my agenda? and 2) Can I afford it? Even a bargain is not a bargain if the answer to either question is no.

Finally, the expenses and income are balanced–aha! a budget!--I made the plan work by taking the checkbook, credit cards, debit card and most of the cash out of my purse and leaving them at home. This, for me, was (and is) the centerpiece of Hayden’s method: By spending cash from a weekly, fixed-amount allowance to pay for such things as groceries, lattes, gifts and movies–the “flexible” expenses–I was able to reserve the checkbook for “fixed” expenses such as rent, utilities and insurance. Not only were other spending tools unnecessary, but assigning a specific cash amount to each flexible budget item, allowed me to create a set of fixed expenses out of an array of variable expenses. Who knew groceries, clothing and entertainment could be transformed into fixed expenses? Above all, it was easy to see over time that reducing the number of spending opportunities my bottom line increased. At last, I was living well within my means and becoming comfortable with my spinsterhood. The next financial challenge: growing my savings and investments.

Every woman, according to Hayden, needs an escrow account and an income-replacement fund in addition to a retirement plan. All three are equally important, she emphasized, and should be built simultaneously. Without a foundation of escrow and income-replacement funds–the safety net–a retirement plan could topple like a house of cards.

The escrow fund (usually a savings account) is where money is saved to be spent. Because this money has a spending agenda, it must be liquid--that is, immediately accessible without penalty. What types of expenses are met with escrow savings? Home and car repairs, insurance premiums, uninsured medical expenses, vacations, and veterinary care are examples of such expenditures. And so, I funded my escrow account with money “discovered” during the budgeting process as well as with gifts, inheritances, tax refunds and other windfalls.

“The more variables you have in your life,” Hayden tells her Women & Money classes, “the more money you need in this account.” Among those variables are children, pets, a house, vehicles and vacation property.

The second savings component–the income-replacement fund–is financed by a cash instrument such as a money market mutual fund. Funded in the same manner as the escrow account, this is “insurance” against job loss. Its objective is to cover a person’s living expenses for a minimum of three months in the event of disability or downsizing, for example. The size of this fund is contingent upon such things as disability insurance and accumulated sick time. Once I had fully funded this money cushion, I deposited later contributions to my retirement plan instead.

Having put the budget and safety net in place, this now-full-fledged spinster delved into investment books (David Bach’s recent Smart Women Finish Rich is a good one) and began implementing the information they offered concerning IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k) plans and other long-term investment vehicles. Money magazine, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, numerous Web sites and several public radio and TV programs offered additional information on retirement planning and general money management.

Finally, here are some parting words from Hayden:
“If you have saved for retirement and don’t live to spend your money, someone else gets the money,” she tells the women in her classes, smiling at the irony.

“If you live and you haven’t put any money away,” she adds, “being 80 years old is going to be nasty. So, let’s bank on you living well a long time.”

Lynne Thomas (lynne.thomas@senate.leg.state.mn.us), 44, is a career receptionist. For nearly seven years she has successfully followed the money management plan described here. Recently, when she revealed her net worth to her family, her mom, especially, was impressed. Her mom is now convinced that a husband isn’t necessary for financial security.

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We Are Not Misguided

February 12th I was on the Ted Rall Show in Los Angeles. When I was invited to be a guest speaker on the show I had no idea of what to expect from the host or his audience. The producer assured me the host was a professional and the topic of asexuality would be handled from a mature angle. Having told me what I wanted to hear I agreed to do the show.

The host wasn't rude to me but he made a point to showcase leather spinsters as a group of misdirected anti-sexual women who were waiting for their ultimate orgasm. I spent the greater potion of the show trying to get my two cents in but failed miserably. During the show I realized my participation in the program was fruitless. Sure it yielded some hits to the website but leather spinsterhood and asexuality wasn't approached with the seriousness it deserved.

Unbeknownst to me, the sole purpose of the show was to feature some form of perversion to generate publicity for the radio station. There's nothing perverted about being happily unmarried and for those who are asexual and celibate, there's most certainly nothing abnormal about abstaining from sexual intercourse. Frankly, radio shows from that day forth will have to work very hard to get me to participate in another program speaking on leather spinsterhood. My days of being interrupted and referred to as strange, crazy, and misinformed are over.

For far too long single women have been made to feel inadequate for not marrying and the time has come for us to stay out of the closet of shame. The Leather Spinsters website serves two purposes, for starters it's a site to celebrate female singlehood, and secondly a place where asexuality is seen as a normal expression of one's sexual self.

I feel the site is truly self explanatory, otherwise, there wouldn't be 12,952 subscribers of the newsletter and a daily flow of visitors to the website. There are some months incoming emails are bounced due to the boxes being filled to their limits, all from individuals wanting to share their stories.

People wouldn't expose their lives to others they don't know if they thought they would be ridiculed, now would they? It's those emails that reassures me of the need for leather spinsters to have their own forum to express themselves. As long as the need exists so should this publication.


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The footsteps of those proud spinsters that have gone before and those that are soon to follow.

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Spinster Letters

I caught the radio show and I tried to call in but they left me on hold. I thought he was rude to the callers in the way he would refer to them as weird and needing help. You cold cocked the host and I cheered. His argument for sex was God made man and woman to procreate was knocked asunder when you asked him how many children he had and he said none. Thank you for handling him instead of you being handled by him.30, Nancy

I really enjoyed my copy of the newsletter keep up the good work! 38, Devan

When I first started receiving this newsletter I thought it was too harsh on women wanting to marry. Actually I thought it was a place where angry women shared their spitfire on marriage and relationships. I was wrong.

After witnessing fifty women compete for a man last week I have since changed my opinion of this newsletter. I can see clearly the reason for the newsletter, now. Women today need encouragement to turn their attention inward and make themselves complete. As soon as women learn to be happy by themselves they will be liberated. But until then they'll be slaves to the pressures of this world to find a husband at any cost.

Intelligent women are still degrading themselves to have a husband. My God, what morals they may have had they put a price tag on it. It was the saddest sight I had ever seen, women prancing around on a stage like livestock for the enjoyment of a man who claimed to be a millionaire. What was even sadder was how these women helped in trivializing marriage, the very thing they wanted. When will the madness end? 46, Denise

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Inspiration Corner

I want you to know the readers of this publication inspire me with their letters. There was a time I couldn't imagine life without a man. I'm 49 and looking forward to a long happy life as a single woman. No I'm not looking for a companion nor will I associate with women whose main goal is to get a man. My time would better be spent surrounding myself with those who are living for the present and not the future.

This newsletter gives me an outlet. I don't mind living alone but I like knowing other women finds life exciting being single. Readers have you thought about finding a meeting place for leather spinsters to gather on the weekends? Maybe we should think long and hard on starting a weekend group so we can fellowship in person not just in writing.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your life histories. Without your sharing this newsletter would be like the other women mags quiet on single women issues.49,Nancie

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