- A spendthrift and an enabler. Going to all those college dances, jetting around the country on vacation, and giving to the needy racked up quite a lot of bills. Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, a prominent lawyer, gave in to her every whim. She was able to beg and cajole her absentee dad into getting most anything, all in the name of “helping others”. Carson would hand over some cash and say: “now promise me you’ll be careful.” He never said: “bring back the receipts.” Neither of them were able to say no, ignoring a basic tenant of good budgeting. If Carson had budgeted for travel ahead of time, by June Nancy would be sitting on her front porch wondering about the mystery of the missing iced tea. Budgeting takes time, effort and discipline – none of which were evident in these stories.
- Hello, SR-22. Nancy is a car insurer’s worst nightmare. Villians often tried to run her off roads and into ditches. She wrecked her own car, and frequently wrecked cars of friends, acquaintances, and don’t even ask what she could do to a rental car! Her father continued to purchase new convertibles for her (see enabler above) so she never developed a healthy respect for the costs involved in driving and maintaining a vehicle. Surely, her poor driving record would have resulted in driver’s license revocation and expensive SR-22 insurance.
- Open door policy. Nancy’s home was a revolving door for criminals. Only her housekeeper, Hannah, had the sense to rig a makeshift burglar alarm with pots and pans. Couldn’t they have at least have installed some type of permanent alarm system? Intruders entered through windows upstairs and downstairs, and they hid in the garage. They ransacked the house and stole a variety of items from the mundane to the exquisite. The Drew’s homeowners policy must have been loaded with expensive riders to cover this type of theft and damage.
- To be or not to be. Nancy constantly put her life in danger by taking unnecessary risks. She would run into dangerous situations with no concern for her own life. She has been slapped, pushed, hit over the head, drugged, bound, gagged, and left to starve. While her efforts to help others were noble, I’m sure any reasonable term-life underwriter would have denied her life insurance due to perilous activities. She may have been able to purchase more permanent life insurance, useful for paying her debts upon her death (see spendthrift above).
- Uneducated, unemployed and unmarried. Nancy graduated high school and did not attend college. Based on her skill set and her father’s clout, she would have been a natural for higher education; however, she only took art lessons. Having no marketable skills, she was perpetually unemployed during a time when the economy was booming (1950’s). It seems that she was only interested in having fun with her friends and had no interest in a job. Nancy did not seem inclined to pursue her special friend, Ned, into matrimony either. Although “a man is not a plan”, her noncommittal attitude and lack of employment leaves one to wonder how she would get by on her own and how she could possibly save for retirement.
- Tax evasion. At the end of most stories, Nancy was given a gift as a memento of her adventure. Some of them were quite rare and expensive. Nancy always claimed to be an “amateur detective” therefore she did not report any income or claim the expenses associated with her “business.”
How many of you read Nancy Drew mysteries under the covers with a flashlight when you were growing up? She was the greatest. She was clever and pretty, without being pretentious, and she always solved the mystery at hand, helping a great number of widows and orphans. Our childhood role models, however, don’t always cut it when we reach adulthood. Let’s investigate how Nancy’s life defied good financial planning.
Thanks for reading!
Think of me as your Mom - I'm hear to listen, give sage advice, and help educate you with your finances. As with all Moms, sometimes I have to dish out tough love so you can reach your goals.
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