“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” – Author unknown
This month, as we celebrate the spirit of womanhood, I have decided to dedicate my blog to all the strong, brave women who are taking ownership of their financial futures! Many of us are still struggling to believe that we have the ability to make money and invest it, while still staying true to our values; and most of us are still grappling to voice our money concerns and opinions. Whoever you are, this is for you!
Just this week I met with a client in Knysna whose husband passed away recently. In this time of overwhelming grief and sadness, it’s hard to talk about money – but so necessary. It’s especially hard if money was never really your responsibility, but that of your partner’s. My client shared with me that one of her biggest regrets is not courageously showing up in her relationship with money. Her role in the family was that of emotional nurturer and looking after the children, while her husband took sole responsibility for providing and managing the finances.
This is a hard place to be. Not only do you have to bravely face your future alone, but you have to take stock of your life, your money, and re-invent a joyful life going forward. Of course, it’s a bit easier if you have friends, family and loved ones to support you, but at the end of the day, you are the one that has to be accountable to yourself and give yourself the power to direct your life ahead.
Reflecting on her money journey, my client’s biggest regret is not sharing the financial responsibility with her husband. Not only for her own sake, but also for his. It really is not fair or just to expect your partner, or even Financial Planner, to take sole responsibility. This client is truly a remarkable (and brave) woman: today, instead of relinquishing responsibility and allowing her children to manage the finances, she is feeling excited to be empowered and take on this role herself.
Women do feel vulnerable when talking about money
As women, we do have a historical disadvantage when it comes to money. It has largely been a male-dominated domain, and many of us were taught, by our parent’s example, that men should take responsibility for the family finances. Leaving women isolated from money conversations have been the norm, a longstanding tradition.
We have certainly come a long way, and as women, we have made great strides! Many of us are now heading up households, are breadwinners and fulfil leadership positions in business and communities. Still, our lack of experience in this area makes us feel unsure and insecure.
How to engage in courageous currency conversations
Start off by talking to yourself about money, give yourself credit and motivate your inner-self to believe that the power to have a healthy money mindset is within you.
Take some time to understand how your money habits were formed and how it impacts your behaviour with money. Do you give money the attention it deserves? What does money mean to you? Take heart, it is possible to change your money story if it no longer serves you.
Still, the self-critic that lies quietly, waiting to question your ability and deny your self-worth – leave no space for the inner-critic. I have no doubt that you do have the power to master your own money matters.
If you do have a partner, then have money conversations with them, team up with them and share the responsibility. You may feel that you don’t have anything to contribute but start by expressing your financial needs, wishes and concerns.
A Financial Planner can assist by facilitating these conversations and ensure that the needs of you and your partner are catered for. Take your rightful place in the meeting with your Financial Planner. Become actively involved, read and educate yourself about money and choose to be courageous by expressing your financial needs and values. You simply have to give money attention and take accountability for your own financial future.
I hope you all enjoy an empowering Women’s month!
Remember, when it comes to your money: be inspired, be brave and be on purpose,