By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Jeff Balke
By Richard Connelly
By Jeff Balke
By Casey Michel
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jeff Balke
Georgette Mosbacher always seemed a very Houston type: shamelessly materialistic, an entrepreneur, a trophy wife who clawed her way out of obscurity and had a great manicure to show for it. With her third marriage, she made herself precisely what she wanted to be: the wife of Rob Mosbacher, the Houston multimillionaire George Bush tapped as his secretary of commerce; the owner of La Prairie, a cosmetics company; and the glittery embodiment of Texas outrageousness in glamour-starved Washington, D.C. She wasn't born a redhead, she liked to say, but she was born to be one. Her first book, The Feminine Force, promised that with determination and good grooming, any plucky poor girl could marry a prince and live happily ever after.
Then, last April, came the divorce and the crash of Georgette's fairy tale. She blamed Another Woman; Rob said the problem was Georgette's determination to live in fab Manhattan, rather than humble Houston. And, certainly, she doesn't seem to miss us much. In a way, she's graduated to the big leagues, to the land of short-fingered vulgarians, vanities worthy of bonfires and her own regular appearance on CNN's Biz Buzz. You could say that she's transcended us. She's become so Houston that she's New York.
You will be happy to hear that she is surviving the split in style, keeping her $10 million Fifth Avenue apartment, her humongous house in the Hamptons and, of course, the consulting company she hatched after selling La Prairie. You will also be happy to hear that, once again, she's chosen to share her life lessons. It Takes Money, Honey: A Get-Smart Guide to Total Financial Freedom, now hitting the bookstore shelves, manages to garner blurbs from both soap star Susan Lucci and blue-chip business types: Christopher Forbes, Michael Bloomberg, even CNN president Lou Dobbs. As you'd expect, the book offers the usual dreary, respectable recommendations common to the financial self-help genre: Keep tight reins on your budget, invest in index funds, diversify your portfolio, blah blah blah. But fear not: Our Georgette rises above the pack by offering practical, learned-it-the-hard-way tips particularly useful to women who want to marry well, and divorce even better.
A few highlights:
How to Meet a Millionaire: The Subtle Approach
"My personal favorite technique: Walk your dog in the neighborhood you want to live in rather than the neighborhood where you're currently living. If you're going to meet someone at the park where your dog's playing, why not meet someone who's already arrived at the place you want to go?"
How to Meet a Millionaire: The Less Subtle Approach
"[After graduating from college,] just a few weeks after I'd moved to Los Angeles from the midwest, I was sharing an apartment with my brother George to save money. One Sunday afternoon I convinced him to attend an auction of movie memorabilia that Southeby's was running for Twentieth-Century Fox. We couldn't afford to buy anything, but I was sure it would be an interesting experience attended by lots of interesting people.
"And how. Midway through the proceedings, my attention was captured by a confident but gentle-looking man who'd purchased several fifteen-by-twenty-foot replicas of World War II ships used in the filming of the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! I couldn't imagine how anybody could afford such an extravagance... On a whim, I asked George to drive back and wheedled the buyer's name out of the woman in charge by pretending to be a reporter from Time magazine doing a feature on Sotheby's. (Hey, it was the first story that popped into my head.) Then I used the same line to arrange a face-to-face interview with the buyer himself. By then I'd learned that he was a successful real estate developer named Robert Muir who just happened to be single.
"Now, don't worry. I confessed my tall tale almost as soon as our 'interview' began. Far from being angry, Robert, bless his heart, was amused and flattered. We began dating and were married a year later."
Don't Let Smoke Get in Your Eyes: Part I
" 'Don't worry, I'll take care of you, honey.'
"Along with 'The check is in the mail' and 'I'll still respect you in the morning,' this is the biggest falsehood you'll ever hear from a man."
Don't Let Smoke Get in Your Eyes: Part II
"Please, please, please, if you do find yourself in a situation where you'll be drawing up a prenuptial agreement, retain the services of a good independent lawyer and financial adviser who can help you look out for what's fair and best for you. Never, ever let his lawyer cut the whole deal."
How to Ask for an Allowance
"Now, I'm not saying the asking part was easy. Each time I used the straightforward approach: I sat down and explained that I wanted some spending money that I didn't have to account for, that I didn't want to explain or beg every time I needed money, that I felt it was demeaning. Then I'd suggest the amount. Of course, [Robert Mosbacher] bridled at the concept initially because to men, giving up money means giving up power, and men never easily give up power, particularly to women."
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