Unfortunately, the traditional world of financial planning has done plenty to make women feel incompetent and clueless about money.
From excluding women from important financial conversations to assuming women simply don’t care about money, the male-dominated financial industry has systematically put women off when it comes to money conversations.
Assuming that women don’t care about money (which is what the financial services industry has been guilty of) is to be ignorant of the core issue. Financial security really is an important topic to women (just ask any woman about her bag lady fears); but we approach finances differently than men.
Financial institutions are just now starting to recognize this difference between the sexes. For women, making money decisions is an emotional process. For men, money is simply a means to an end, a transaction. They seek profit, whereas women seek opportunity to take care of themselves and their loved ones in creating financial security.
Since money can be an uncomfortable topic for women, in order to be fully present, they need a safe space to explore their emotions and beliefs while making money decisions. They need to feel that they are not being judged for their money behavior, however irrational it might be.
If you’re a woman who wants to gain confidence with money, I believe the best place to start is to increase your awareness of your own money behavior, your habits, strengths and challenges as they pertain to money.
To help you with that, you may want to read my recent blog post on How to Finally Transform Your Money Story.
One area where I see women get stuck is in harsh judgment of themselves for not being better with money.
Women sometimes need permission to be kinder to themselves. Many times women don’t even realize how harsh they are with themselves, especially around money. I like to encourage women to be more compassionate toward themselves.
I have found that women have a tendency to needlessly create a lot of drama around money. They become self-critical and tell themselves stories about being a bad person because they have debt or because they over-spend or because they feel clueless about money. This is what keeps them feeling stuck.
Instead, women can get to a place of forgiveness for the past money mistakes they have made, or for simply not being better with money.
This forgiveness leads to feeling more empowered with money because now they can be curious rather than judgmental. When women get curious, they become aware of choices that they were not aware of before. They actually begin to create these choices for themselves out of the new, empowered space because they become more creative and resourceful.
From that point, they become more aware of their money behaviors so that the next time they feel compelled to spend money mindlessly, or avoid dealing with money, they can be at choice, which in turn breaks the negative cycle of their money story.
So ladies, stop beating yourself up if you’ve been avoiding dealing with money. Rather than avoid the topic of money, we women can embrace our unique (emotional) needs and approach to financial management.
Decide to take a stand for your financial security. Choose to take charge of your finances. Own your money power.
You’re just a decision away from creating financial security for yourself. And believe me, when you’re in retirement, you’ll be so glad you did.
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