All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Gen X women have been raised by their progressive Boomer mothers and fathers that can be or do anything they want, and rightly so. We have pursued record numbers of advanced degrees in Medicine, Law, Science, Finance and Academia. In fact, many of us are burdened for decades with incredibly high student loans we needed to finance those educations! And now, as we are starting families and juggling our newfound motherhood with these fabulous careers we had planned for so long, we aren’t willing to sacrifice. Yet, with all this education we have received, many of us never received the most important part of the curriculum; life planning. From elementary school on, nobody teaches us how to balance a checkbook, what an IRA is, how investing works or the nature of compounding interest. We are full of knowledge about a great many things, but sorely lacking common sense when it comes to our financial future.
While women climb the corporate ladder, create thriving businesses and build successful careers, many still lack the skills to create a strong financial foothold.
Fiona is a fabulous, successful woman in her early forties. She helps run her families real estate empire. She has attended the best schools, traveled to all corners of the globe, and been invited to the most glamorous parties. She is a tall, beautiful blond, striking in her style and her posture. When she sat down to work with me, I was so impressed with her self-assuredness and independence. She had decided not to marry (if it happens, it happens, she says), doesn’t want children, and loves time alone in her beautiful condo, able to go out a moments notice with friends to plays, music, art exhibits, weekends away and more.
So what is the issue, I asked her? Her eyes looked down, and color rose in her cheeks. “I can’t stop shopping”, she finally said. “What do you mean by can’t”, I asked? She went on to explain that she compulsively shops; she loves to have new boots, new jackets, new scarves, and new cocktail dresses. She doesn’t need any of these things- her closet is overflowing. While she makes over $200,000.00 a year, she can barely afford to fund her IRA with me. Wow, I said and sat back and thought for a moment. Fiona’s shopping was filling a deep need for her, a psychological need. She has everything anyone could want, but somewhere inside of her she is empty, and these purchases provide a momentary sense of fulfillment. “I can help you”, I told her- but you need to promise to be honest with me. We will work out a budget, don’t panic- you will have a shopping allowance! But we need to understand what you are buying, and why you are buying it. I know it is painful, but we have to start tracking your purchases and really take ownership of how you are spending your money.
The truth is that money is much more than paper currency. Money represents choices, power, giving, receiving, love, and respect. Money can be the tool for us to experience a wide range of emotions. A healthy respect for money does not mean we don’t get to buy what we want. By all means, you deserve to get a pedicure and a weekend away with friends. Your personal financial plan does not need to be a sacrifice, and in fact if it is too much of a sacrifice, you won’t stick to it, just like a diet. However, we need to be willing to make choices. If Fiona is unable to contribute to her retirement plan because of her spending addiction, she is subconsciously choosing to sabotage her own future. We need to get to the root of the spending habits in order to change them, and we need to feel good about the changes we make in order to stick to them.
I am asking you to evaluate your lifestyle, your spending choices, and your expectations for your future. In addition, we will talk about the role your past has played on your current financial situation. I am going to ask you to be unrelentingly honest about how proactive you are being in creating your financial security, because I am here to tell you that no-one else is going to provide it for you.
Once you get your budget in order, your financial planning can begin! Learn more about Money Psychology, Creating Financial Freedom, Raising Money Wise Kids, Financial Markets, Bond Market, Stock Market, Mutual funds and much, much more!