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be more confident with money
Money & Finance

6 Ways to be More Confident With Your Money

Most women have a complicated relationship with money. This is not a surprise when you consider that “forces” have worked to drive a wedge between women and money since, well… forever.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a little walk down memory lane. In ancient Egypt, women had the same financial rights as men. But there was a multi-centuries old tug-of-war to take away those rights, give control of a woman’s property to her husband upon marriage and limit a woman’s right to inherit family assets. In the United States, it took over 300 years for women to have the same property rights as men.

We Were not Given the Same Rights and Opportunities

As late as 1960, in some states, a married woman needed her husband’s consent to accept a job or to open a bank account. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 finally made unlawful the practice of counting only 50% of a woman’s pay on her application for credit. A 2018 study revealed that businesses led by women are 63 percent less likely to obtain venture capital funding than those led by men. Fast forward to today. Current figures show that women will not reach the same pay for the same work as men until 2059. If you’re an African-American woman, you will have to wait until 2119. If you’re Latina, 2224 will not come soon enough.

History reveals the consistent efforts to keep distance between women and money. This set the stage for our complicated relationship. How can you have an authentic relationship with something that has been kept from you?

We Were Raised to be Seen and Not Heard

How we were socialized as girls also factors into our relationship with money, but in sneaky ways. The harm is self-inflicted and we don’t see it coming. We do not see how our own behavior diminishes our confidence around money.

I can remember a college friend’s father being concerned that I would be unable to find a good husband because I seemed too comfortable expressing my opinion. I remember feeling frustrated and diminished. Both by the effort to keep me quiet and by the notion that I needed to appear malleable, a safe bet, to be desirable to a good husband.

be more confident with money

The “gold” standard for female baby boomers (and before) was to be perfect and to be correct. At all times. And to make it look easy. There was no room for boldness or spunk in this scenario. Being too assertive was considered unbecoming. However, studies tell us that it is hard to gain the confidence acquired through tackling challenges and overcoming failure when you play it safe and never take risks. Women of this generation were socialized to play it safe and to color within the lines to be accepted.

We Were Told It Was Uncouth to Talk Money

Most of our parents did not talk to us about managing money under the assumption that the husbands we would one day marry would handle the finances. Even when conversations were held, they centered solely around saving. I can remember being instructed by my mother and aunts to take care to tuck money away in a little bank account, kept secret from my soon-to-be husband, to make sure that I had money of my own “just in case.”

Just in case did not mean just in case a wonderful investment opportunity came my way. Or just in case I wanted to start a business. The little bank account was to ensure that I had resources in case life took a dark turn in some way. It was for safety and protection, not wealth or empowerment. I was not alone in receiving this advice, I learned. Sadly, this often was the extent of financial management guidance given to young women back then.

 

When you combine the net impact of being socialized to play it safe for acceptance and a basic lack of financial knowledge, you can see why many of us have mindset traps that are self-limiting when it comes to money matters.

Now, How do You React to Financial Matters?

Do you find yourself responding along these lines when presented with a wonderful, exciting, potentially rewarding business or financial opportunity?

  • “Let me see what my husband says. He makes all of our financial decisions.”
  • “It will be a disaster if I fail so I won’t risk too much.”
  • “I can’t start a business and have a personal life. I do all of the things that my family expects from me.”
  • “There is someone much smarter than I am who can do a much better job.”
  • “Math was never my thing so I will never be good at investing.”

Most of us have said these things at some point in our lives. Our responses seem practical and well-reasoned but, honestly, they are often based in fear, in the desire to play it safe or plain lack of knowledge.

It’s Time to Seek our Full Financial Potential

Those self-limiting mindset traps that were imposed upon us in youth? Guess what? We stunt and stifle our confidence by now imposing them upon ourselves by:

  • Believing that we don’t have the right to control decisions about money.
  • Not throwing our hat in the ring for a promotion, a board seat or role of prominence.
  • Passing on opportunities to turn our hobby into a business.
  • Not trusting that we are smart enough to “figure it out.”

This is the sneaky way that we are complicit in driving a wedge between ourselves and potential wealth. Women have been led to believe that spending is the ultimate power play for women — handbags, shoes, jewelry. But, these items, as beautiful as they may be, are all depreciating assets that may keep us from our bigger dreams. The ultimate act of financial empowerment money is to be excited about, not afraid of, taking charge of your money, growing it and using it to better your life in meaningful ways. Let’s start changing our relationship with money from complicated to confident.

Steps to Be More Confident with Money

  1. Acknowledge your self-limiting beliefs and write them down. Get them out of your head!
  2. Ask yourself, what is my financial dream or goal? One that is not related to raising or educating my children or taking care of dependents? Get comfortable with thinking about your own needs and wants and making them a priority.
  3. Assemble your network. Include like-minded friends, subject matter experts, smart people and anyone whose wisdom you can tap to help achieve your dreams and goals.
  4. Level up by learning. Be thirsty for information. To create a confident, power relationship with money, read Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles by Barbara Stanny.  If you are a budding entrepreneur or interested in investing in startups, read Million Dollar Women by Julia Pimsleur and Financial Statements by Thomas R. Ittelson. If you’re interested in planning an investment strategy, read How To Make Your Money Last by Jane Quinn. Subscribe to blogs and podcasts on topics of interest. Remember, you need not be an expert if you leverage your network.
  5. Don’t let others’ opinions shake your budding confidence. If your spouse is fine with you spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month on nonessentials, that same spouse should not balk at you diverting the same amount each month to investing or growing a business.
  6. Start! Studies have shown that the best way to build confidence is to act. Little victories help grow our confidence as does learning from mistakes made.

Give it a go! You will turn your relationship status with money from “It’s complicated” to one that is brimming with confidence.

>READ: WEALTH MANAGEMENT AND THE BEST FINANCIAL ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED

>READ: SUDDENLY SINGLE? MANAGING FINANCES ON YOUR OWN

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