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A Message from Tiffany Bass Bukow, Founder of

Throughout my life, I have enjoyed significant financial success and endured surprising financial failure. Dealing with the success was easy. Dealing with the failure was not, especially when it was unexpected. I have had to challenge my values and work hard to continue to succeed while learning from failure. And I discovered that friends who had been in similar circumstances were my greatest source of motivation.

I hope that's Success Stories provide you with the same inspiration I received from my friends. Each week, we will profile a remarkable woman who has confronted financial obstacles and overcome challenges to lead a happy, financially secure, and meaningful life.

If you'd like to share your success story, please e-mail us at

On Being Rich (Continued)

By Dr. Judith Briles

In my introductory column, I left you in the middle of my chaos. I had passed the brink of financial ruin: we had lost a home that would sell for several million dollars in today's market; people whom I had always considered "good friends" suddenly vanished; my health was deteriorating; and I was seriously wondering how I would support my family. In truth, not living was becoming an increasingly attractive option with each new day.

Sounds pretty bleak, doesn't it? It was, but none of it was as bad as Labor Day, 1983. In the wee hours of the morning, a lone policeman stood in our living room and told us that our 19-year-old son was dead. It was "an accident, a drowning." The ache I experienced was unbearable. Frank's death was everywhere--TV, Radio, and the newspapers. Now, I truly felt as if I had lost everything. I doubted that I would survive, and I didn't really want to.

Getting Back on Track
Strange as it sounds, being broke and hurting so badly restored balance to my life. My son's death quickly revealed what was and wasn't important. Family mattered. So did health. Friends counted (those who had remained loyal). Faith was important. Having a lot of money and being a candidate for consumer of the year wasn't at the top of the list.

Getting back on track did not occur overnight. It took years, some of it in little steps and some of it in leaps. My experience resembled an elevator--at times, it moved one floor at a time (up and down) and at other times, it skipped ahead several floors.

The first "move" was to change my attitude. I did want to live--I had two great daughters, and soon a grandson would arrive. I started writing again--my book, When God Says NO, begins with Frank's death. I worked on improving my public speaking, tapping into the areas that I was writing about--finding your confidence and courage in the face of adversity. A personal goal was to own a home again--we moved from the Bay Area to Denver, Colorado, where I was able to negotiate a lease option on a home using my last piece of art that I couldn't sell before the move. Three years ago, we sold it to build our dream home. And finally, I got my health back--it's been 17 years since I won my battle against cancer.

And as for the money? Do I have a million dollars again? No, at least not yet, but here's what I do have: a home that I love; two healthy, grown children with whom I get along great; a 13-year-old grandson who is the best of the best; good health; a terrific marriage after 27 years; money invested in retirement accounts and mutual funds that I add to each month and confidence that I can choose to stop working at 65.

You Don't Have to Lose It All...
Too often, we measure who we are by what we have--our possessions, friends, social status, car, vacations, the market value of our homes, and the amount of money we make. Am I advocating losing it all to get in balance, like I did? Absolutely not. Take a lesson from me and you'll reduce the learning curve.

My Millennium gift to you is to encourage you to look in the mirror and ask what is really important. Is it money? Your job? Reputation? Family? Friends? Health? You don't have to lose it all to find what matters most. The real shortcut is being truthful with yourself and letting the important stuff rise to the top. That's where your energy should go, not to issues, events, or whatever dwells on the bottom of your list. Look in your mirror, listen, act, and remember. Then you will be rich beyond your dreams.

Click here to read part one of On Being Rich.

Judith Briles, Ph.D. is a speaker, columnist, and award-winning author of 20 books including 10 Smart Money Moves for Women and Smart Money Moves for Kids. She can be reached at 303-627-9179 and e-mailed at Her Web site is



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