Women have come a long way over the last hundred or so years. We can now vote (in many countries anyway), we own property, we run businesses, have careers and earn our own income. But many of us still do not take responsibility for managing our money. This has nothing to do with lack of intelligence or skill and everything to do with mindset.
As a financial planner and money coach I too often hear things like: I’m just not good with money. I don’t understand investments. My husband handles all that for us. It’s so boring. Talking about money isn’t very classy. I’m only good at spending money. Can’t you just do it for me?
You only think you aren’t good with money due to mindset.
Maybe you overheard your Mum say that money burns a hole in your pocket so you took this belief with you into adulthood… “I’m only good at spending money and no good at saving it.”
Maybe your Dad took care of the finances when you were a child, so you learnt that men manage money. Now you leave it to your husband.
And the “classy” women you know that don’t talk about money…. they probably have the same fears about money that you do. They’re just too classy to ask for help.
Here are 5 key (mindset) mistakes women often make when it comes to money:
1. We often bury our heads in the sand pretending the money problem doesn’t exist and waiting for it to just magically get better. But the problem doesn’t go away, does it? The stress and worry just compound.
Solution: acknowledge the problem and then figure out what you need to learn or who to go to for help to fix it.
For example, if you have stress about not being able to save money, acknowledge it. Then look at your budget for ways to reign in your spending on unimportant stuff so you can allocate it to savings. Rule one of money is to pay yourself first, so make sure you have a savings allocation in your budget.
2.We blame our financial woes on things outside of our control and wait for “someone else” to fix it. Are you the kind of person that bumps from disaster to disaster? The person who always has some drama in their life (that’s never your fault)? Always waiting for someone else to rescue you?
Solution: Stop. Just stop with the drama. It’s time to understand and acknowledge your past hurts and start to heal from them. Use your past experience as a catalyst for change. It’s time to relieve your inner child from the burden of trying to run your financial life and let the adult you take over.
Be your own knight in shining armour and work on a plan to rescue yourself from your financial predicament. Take time to figure out what your ideal life would look like (sans the drama) and start making a financial plan for it to happen. Budget, save, invest, pay off debt. It’s unsexy but it works.
3. We get so busy taking care of others that we neglect our own needs. This is often the case if you’re in a relationship and/or a Mum, where you pour yourself into doing things for the family at the expense of your own care, be it exercise, healthy eating, time alone or managing your financial affairs.
Solution: You aren’t much good to anyone, yourself included if you are completely burnt out and overwhelmed. It’s time to step back and take some time for yourself. Go for the walk, take some time to read and importantly, to keep on top of your finances.
Get your regular bills set up on direct debit, make sure your superannuation fund is appropriate and has a binding death benefit nomination, review your life insurance and keep a tab on your investments. Letting these things fall behind is a big source of stress and overwhelm.
4. We are overly generous and give too much away: whether it’s time, effort or money. How many of you have found yourself a bit strapped for cash because you have helped out your kids with another $50 or you’re paying your kids car loan or their phone bill?
You aren’t teaching your kids anything about money management (or even resilience) by constantly bailing them out to the detriment of your own financial health. I’m not for a minute suggesting you leave them starving in the streets but I am advocating for you to set some healthy boundaries around money.
I have a client who hadn’t had a holiday for years but gave her student daughter $1000 dollars to help out with the rent and bills. Next thing the daughter is posting photos from Bali of her new tattoos…
Solution: If you want to help out your family and friends that’s fine. Just do it in a sustainable way and perhaps consider if there are ways you can help that don’t involve handing over cold hard cash. Perhaps you can help them out with their budget so they can stand on their own financial feet.
5. We have a love/hate relationship with money. We love what money provides but struggle with the idea that money isn’t “spiritual” or that it’s somehow dirty or symbolic of greed. We often feel bad about charging for our work.
Solution: try reframing how you think of it. We all need money for the basics of food, clothes and shelter. If you don’t make money from what you love doing (be it art, writing, creating, massage, healing) then you need to make it some other way. Wouldn’t you prefer to make your money from what you love to do so you can devote all your energy to it, rather than making it a side gig to work that pays the bills but that you don’t love?
Another way to think about money is that it is much easier to make a difference in the world when you have cash than when you don’t. If you’re exhausted from just trying to make ends meet that doesn’t leave much energy for anything else really.