Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jane Avril, One Woman's Tale of Fame and Poverty

The fear of poverty and obscurity runs deep in the minds of many women. Decisions to marry, leave a career, provide sacrificial support of a spouse's career, raise children and caring for family are some of the reasons women find themselves in vulnerable situations. "[O]ver their working lifetimes, women spend a total of 11 ½ years off the job on average, versus only 16 months for men."*

One woman's tale of fame ended in extreme poverty. Jane Avril, a famous Parisian can-can dancer was one of the most famous dancers of her time. You've probably seen her depicted in Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's posters or as Nicole Kidman's character in the 2001 movie, Moulin Rouge. She was a woman everyone adored and she brought in large crowds as she performed on stage. Yet, when she died, she had no money and no support.

Jane stopped dancing when she married a German artist and became pregnant. She cut herself off from her previous career and did not have a suitable replacement way to earn money.

Have you ever cut yourself off from a financially profitable job or career to tend to family duties? That is exactly what Jane did and when her husband died, she had very little of her own savings to sustain her. Even though Jane Avril lived in Paris in the early 1900's, her story is told over and over again in the lives of women we know today.

So how can we avoid her fate? The answer is to protect yourself and plan for the future. Women need to have a strong understanding of how to manage money. I am not referring to paying the bills. I mean that we need to learn how to invest in stocks, real estate, or businesses. We need to know what bank accounts we have and we have to actively manage them. If you take time off from your career, then develop another source of cash flow. With the help of a broker or on your own, invest in the stock market or other similar products. By taking proactive steps to ensure your financial security, you can avoid the sad fate of Jane Avril.

If you take time off from your career or if you leave career, how else could you make money? A great resource to help plan for your financial security is the book "Smart Women Finish Rich" by David Bach.

About Jane…
Jane Avril was her stage name. Avril is French for the month, "April". Her real name was either Jeanne Beaudon or Jeanne Richepin. She was born in 1868 and died in 1943. In 1889, she was hired as the featured dancer at the famous Moulin Rouge (a nightclub) in Montmarte.

Montmarte was an artist district where absinthe alcohol strongly influenced the youthful, bohemian attitudes of the artists, writers, and the Parisian nightlife. Absinthe has a colorful, interesting history. It is dubbed as "The Green Fairy". It is a potent hallucinogen and I believe it was while under the influence of "The Green Fairy" that Vincent Van Gogh found the "courage" to cut off his own ear and package it with love to the woman he admired. To learn more about absinthe, I suggest this entertaining book "Absinthe: History in a Bottle".

*Bach, David. "Smart Women Finish Rich" Broadway Books, New York, NY 2002. p. 18

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. www.FaMissWomen.com offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting www.portraitofjosephine.com

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