I came across The Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix limited miniseries as I was browsing on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I got fascinated with the trailer and decided to binge-watch the entire show in one sitting! It was intense, incredible and unique! What a great way to debut during this pandemic stricken state, and to make people fall in love with the game of chess all over again!
The Queen’s Gambit is a fictional story of an orphan chess prodigy named Beth Harmon, who took the world by storm by being the greatest chess player ever! As a Registered Financial Planner, I saw a strong female lead character tied to an ability to preserve and overcome adversity, that I knew could inspire millions of women worldwide! Here is my take on 3 key lessons that we can all learn and adapt from The Queen’s Gambit in terms of women’s financial planning.
LESSON #1: The Road Less Travelled to Build Financial Independence
At the beginning of the series, Beth’s mother was seen telling young Beth, “that in life, men are going to come along and teach you things, it doesn’t make them any smarter, you just let them blow-by and you go ahead and do just whatever you feel like”.
Back in the 1950s, it was a period where both men and women observed strict gender roles. Women were expected to identify primarily as wives and mothers and avoid working outside of the home. Beth broke gender norms and made a bold decision to pave a career in chess. She had taken the road less travelled to build her financial independence by participating in tournaments to sustain her living cost.
In terms of women’s financial planning, it is important for women to be financially independent so she has the ability to live life on her own terms. No matter where you go in life or who you get married to, you have to be financially independent-whether you exercise your rights or not.
LESSON #2: If You Have the Ability to Love, Love Yourself First⠀
Beth Harmon’s stepmom is left with insufficient funds when her husband walked out of the marriage, but thanks to Beth’s brilliance, she was able to win countless tournaments in which she was able to generate a stable income and live comfortably.
Both Beth and her stepmom travelled all across America, Mexico and Paris for chess tournaments, staying in luxurious hotels and enjoying finer things in life. Beth also upgrades herself from being a geeky high school student and takes interest in fashion and dresses fetchingly!
In terms of women’s financial planning, we are not advocating on living an all glamorous lifestyle, but to be at least in charge of our own finances so that whether it’s for travelling, shopping or monthly living expenses; it can be done on our own terms.
Also, in many cases women rely heavily on their spouses to take care of their finances, only to be left with nothing after a heart-wrenching divorce. Almost 40% of women have their lifestyle vanquished the moment their marriage hits rock bottom. It is important for all women to have savings and not return to square one.⠀
LESSON #3: Balance is the Key to Everything
As her winning and achievements grew, we can’t help but notice her spending grew too. In fact, she had spent all her money on clothing (inspired by international labels such as Edie Sedgwick, Jean Seberg, Pierre Cardin and Balenciaga) and couldn’t afford her $3,000 trip to the biggest game of all time!
Her good friend from the orphanage, Jolene helps Beth by sacrificing her education savings to enable Beth to compete in the Grand Masters Finals at Russia, in which Beth won gloriously! In terms of financial planning, when you are winning in life, when you are accumulating more assets, do not forget to have a balanced investment portfolio and not put all your eggs in one basket.
It is always good to keep some money aside for difficult times in liquid investments. When some of your investment is liquid, you will be able to get access to the money quickly and easily when you need it the most!⠀
The author, Puruvahinni Supramaniam, is an Advisor at SK iWealth and writes for her personal financial blog, aiskacangforsoul.