Information is power. As hard as it is to sit down and focus on your finances (especially when you know the news will be depressing), there is no easy way towards financial power. Isolating your basic living expenses, and then factoring in debt pay-down, savings rate, and luxury spending will empower you to live below your means, thereby creating true financial security.
Last month, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Deepak Chopra described the usefulness of meditation for people on Wall Street. Speaking about a friend who manages a hedge fund, he said, “His entire staff meditates. I know many others now on Wall Street that we teach, actually. It makes them much more productive, because they’re centered, they’re not distracted.” Chopra was appearing on TV to promote a free twenty-one-day online meditation course that he offers with Oprah. Its theme is “Manifesting True Success.”
Our relationship with money is at its core psychological. We have deeply ingrained attitudes towards our financial future, such as “I’m just not the type of person to be rich”, or “every investment I buy fails”. We tell ourselves negative stories about our financial abilities, and hence, they become our reality. We are not our parents. Whether we were raised wealthy or poor, with a personal belief in our own ability for abundance or a deep fear of our failure, we ultimately are responsible for our own financial life.
Everybody wants to create financial success. This is a basic tenet of our society, a message taught to us from a very early age, and reinforced through the media, our families and our own pocketbook. Financial success can come from many sources, it can be the result of a well thought out plan, implemented over many years, it can come in the form of an inheritance, a new business or a divorce settlement. Regardless of how it is achieved, we are ingrained with the notion that having lots of money equates success, freedom and influence. Much of this is true, and creating wealth and security is an incredibly empowering experience.
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.