My interview with Georgette Mosbacher, Businesswoman and Author [classic article]

As first seen on

Is there anything Georgette Mosbacher can’t do? The 40-something author of financial guides for women (Feminine Force and It Takes Money, Honey) and former CEO of La Prairie Cosmetics, is founder and CEO of Georgette Mosbacher Enterprises and has co-chaired John McCain’s run for the White House. She also throws legendary parties. While this self-made redhead and New Yorker has posed for the likes of Vogue and the social pages of the Washington Post, she’s no arm candy. In fact, she worries plenty for her friends who are.

Q: You’ve been very public about your marriages and divorces. Did you ever go through hard financial times while getting divorced?

Georgette Mosbacher: No, since I’ve always been respectful of money and continued to work. I never allowed myself to be in a position of complete dependence. I worry about some of my friends, though, all the time. Their whole financial well-being depends on their husbands — they don’t even know what they own! Like I say in my book, if your name isn’t on it, you don’t own it. [Author’s note: as a lawyer practicing family law, that ain’t necessarily so.] They could become destitute!

Don’t blame anyone else for your financial situation. Know the difference between a promise and reality, Know the difference between wishing and making sure.

Are you involved in any charities?

I’m involved with the Children’s Advocacy Center in New York. It’s a facility for children at risk. It’s unique, because we have a pediatrician on the premises, an examining room, and a therapist on-site. We track a child until age 16. We work with all the state agencies.

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You’re from Highland, Indiana. Do Midwesterners have a unique sensibility when it comes to money?

Midwesterners have an incredible work ethic. Of course, I come from a working-class background, so I had no choice. But I have a respect for money that requires work. I don’t need to work now, financially, but I need to work for my self-esteem.

Do you manage your own money?

I have professionals who work with my money, but I don’t let them work with it blindly. My portfolio’s on my laptop and I follow it in real time every day. I have specific investing criteria that the professionals have to go by. I get the best advice I can find. I believe in that for everything: I get the best advice for hairdressers, doctors, financial advisers, everything.

Do you have any favorite investments?

Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) and Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCH).

You used to shop at all the discount chains. Do you still?

Of course! I don’t throw my money away, I like a bargain just as much as the next person.

What’s a splurge for you now?

Not money no; time. Time is my most valuable asset. I’d love to be able to take a day off, to go to a movie.

Julie Finney (socialite fund-raiser for the Bush campaign) says that most women “don’t get it” when it comes to campaign contributions. Do you agree?

Absolutely. It’s the 21st century and we haven’t made a lot of progress. Women are in the majority, yet we don’t have a majority in Congress, in the White House. We are paralyzed on one issue and don’t even support women candidates. We have to support them with our pocketbooks. It’s ridiculous that Elizabeth Dole had to pull out of the race for a lack of funding. If she had to drop out because of the issues, that’s one thing. But not because of money! We have not been actively recruiting. We still go to our husbands and ask whom we should vote for. We’ve done nothing with the vote.

Would you have accepted an ambassadorship if McCain had been elected?

That’s not what that was all about. I was just trying to get the best person elected.

What do you think the biggest mistake women make with money is?

Not understanding what role it plays. You cannot abdicate control.

Are you involved with the Internet?

Yes. I’m on the Mayor’s Commission to Bring the Internet to New York. I also have, to give advice and lessons to women.

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