The field of Psychology and Money is a deep and fascinating one. We don’t need a PhD in Psychology to see some basic trends in our behaviors, our internal stories from our family of origin, and the attitudes we have towards money today. We all recognize ourselves at some point in the descriptions above. Now that we’ve begun to identify some of our self-destructive behavior in relationship to money, it is time to turn those dynamics around 180 degrees, and create a loving, healthy relationship with our money, as with a loving partner.
Women are becoming more educated about personal finance then ever before. We are climbing the ladder to the top of all professions, caring for elderly parents, sending our children to college and managing investments and real estate. However, there is still a gender divide in personal finance; many women feel nervous about managing their own money, defer to their husbands on all investment decisions or feel uncomfortable asking what they think will be “dumb” questions about investing. There is an enormous need for financial education that is accessible to women, as they are hungry for the knowledge they need to manage the issues that are arising in their lives. Our natural instinct to protect our families and ourselves needs to be applied to our own financial life. We are in charge of our own future, and the same concern we have for our loved ones we must have for ourselves.
Because money can buy us things we want and need, money is equated with power. It gives us the power to own real estate, boats, go on vacations, and buy new cars. If we are very wealthy, we are able to be philanthropic and give to charitable causes we believe in. With all of this comes a varying degree of power. Some people falsely believe that their money provides them with power they wouldn’t otherwise have, and become power-grabbers. Some uses money to manipulate others. Some thrive on building empires, enjoying the view at the top. These types of empire builders love to have those below them they support, their patriarchal/matriarchal role in the family firmly rooted.
Historically, the stock market has averaged 10% a year. While we have to ride through volatility to achieve this average, if we do not have some money in the stock market we simply won’t beat the rate of inflation, and in the long run the value of our savings will erode.
The truth is that the decade of the 1950’s, upon which we have rested the mantle of the American ideal, was an anomaly, not the norm. American women have not exited the workforce in such mass exodus at any time in American history prior or since that single decade. This idealized notion of the perfect life in the ‘burbs, with Mom at home baking cookies and Dad working 9-5 to provide for the family, was a product of an isolated economic post-war boom. If you have children, many of us argue within themselves, whether it is a better to stay at home with your children or be a working mother, but as we all know, for many of us it is not a choice we have the luxury to make.