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HBO ‘Girls’ and Money Quiz: Are You a Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, or a Jessa?

Picture 2The HBO show “Girls” has been called the “Sex and the City” of our generation.

Years ago, fans of “Sex and the City” began asking themselves to which of the four female archetypal characters they most related. If you were a Carrie, for example, you always seemed to be picking the wrong guy. An eternal optimist searching for your knight in shining armor? That made you a Charlotte.

Today, we’re asking the same question about “Girls.” Free-spirited jetsetters might consider themselves a Jessa. Uptight worrywarts can relate with Shoshanna.

“Girls,” of course, portrays each character’s money woes as well as their work and love lives.

So I thought it would be fun to do a little quiz: When it comes to your finances, are you a Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna or a Jessa?

1.    Hannah

Of all the “Girls” characters, we know the most about Hannah’s finances. In the first season, Hannah’s parents cut off financial support, sending her into a bit of a tailspin.

Hannah went to Oberlin College and wants to become a writer but takes an office job and later works at a coffee shop while she tries to make the writing thing work. Hannah is kind of a symbol of the Gen-Y stereotypical struggle for employment post-grad.

So if you’re a Hannah:

Your downfall: An expensive but marginally helpful liberal arts degree. Maybe you’re having a hard time paying student loans. Maybe you’re passionate about a career that’s not going to pay the bills, at least at first.

What to do about it: Money Under 30 has frequently suggested taking a second job to get ahead — which could especially come into play if your passion is a creative venture that involves some risk.

2.    Marnie

In the second season of “Girls”, Marnie is “downsized” (laid off) from her job at an art gallery. But to her credit, she quickly pounds the pavement to get a new job (even though at first it’s working as a restaurant hostess).

If you’re a Marnie:

Your downfall: It’s not discussed openly on the show, but it probably takes money to maintain Marnie’s wardrobe and lifestyle. That’s fine as long as you can afford it…until you become unemployed (even temporarily).

What to do about it: If you have champagne taste but because of unemployment are living on a beer budget, that could lead to misery and/or serious credit card debt.

Make like Marnie and aggressively pursue a new position so you don’t fall into debt. Money Under 30 has you covered with great resume, cover letter and interview tips.

3.    Shoshanna

Shoshanna is an NYU student who’s making some good financial decisions. For one thing, she takes on a roommate (Jessa) to cut down on expensive NYC rent.

But one of Shoshanna’s most noticeable qualities (besides her rapid-fire style of speaking) is her anxiety — about everything.

So if you’re anxious about money, you might be a Shoshanna.

Your downfall: Stress, stress and more stress. Unfortunately, worrying doesn’t make your money problems go away. (If it did, mine would be gone long ago).

What to do about it: Make a plan and follow it so you can relax a little.

Money Under 30 has lots of suggestions about financial planning: like how to pay off your student loans, get out of debt and even plan your wedding on a budget.

To start, check out this budgeting spreadsheet to help yourself stay on track or follow our steps to automate your money. And stop the Shoshanna-style worrying! Don’t let it become your “biggest baggage.”

4.    Jessa

If you are the polar opposite of a financial Shoshanna, you might just be a Jessa: impulsive and free-spirited. She even has a surprise wedding to a man she barely knows. And when it comes to money, you won’t see her pinching pennies, or maybe even thinking about pennies.

If you’re a Jessa:

Your downfall: No expense is too big. Put it on a credit card? Sure! What could go wrong?

What to do about it:  First of all, try NOT to be a financial Jessa! Of all the financial styles shown on “Girls,” hers is probably the most risky.

If you’re impulsive by nature, avoid credit cards in the first place.  But if you do find yourself in credit card debt, Money Under 30 provides lots of helpful tips about how to get out of it, including how David paid off over $80,000 of it in just a few years.

When it comes to money are you a Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna or Jessa? What’s your biggest financial struggle?

Published or updated on March 18, 2013

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About Maria LaMagna

Maria LaMagna is a recent graduate of Northwestern University where she served as editor-in-chief of the university’s award-winning daily newspaper and studied for five months in Argentina. Before joining Money Under 30, Maria worked as a reporter for CNN and the Indianapolis Business Journal. Follow Maria on Twitter @MCLaMagna.


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