Women in Business: The 2nd Biggest Money Mistake Women Make!

The 2nd biggest money mistake women make is over giving to others before taking care of themselves. 

Let’s talk:  How many times have you given money to your adult children, boyfriends, partners, parents, people in need rather than saving more for your own needs - vacation anyone? …or for your future?

We women are “nice” and caring and that’s a good thing, but not at the expense of our own financial well-being. Lois Frankel, author of Good Girls Don’t Get Rich, says she spent "the first half her adult life believing that doing good and doing well were mutually exclusive."

Most women aren’t this extreme, but I’ve worked with more than one woman who has given large amounts of money from their life savings to men they met online. One woman nearly bankrupted herself.

Can you relate to these financial situations?

  • A friend calls and says, “I’m out of money for the month. Could you loan me $100.00 to get me through?”
  • Sam, your 22 year-old son wants to move back in rent-free.
  • Jodie your 28 year old daughter, asks you for money frequently and is struggling to pay her bills, but buys designer shoes and purses. (And, you feel a little resentful, but override it.)

What do you do to break the over-giving cycle?

We women must learn to give to ourselves first. Now, I know what many of you will say: that’s selfish. To that, I will say this: Remember – when you travel by plane, the #1 thing you are told to do in the event of an emergency is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Why? So you can continue to help others. 

Taking care of ourselves first is not only an act of self care – it’s also good modeling to our children – no matter what their age.

And consider this: Sometimes giving to adult children is financially enabling and hurts them rather than helping them.

So, what do you do? You don’t stop caring, but you include yourself:

  1. Before you hand out that money, ask yourself first: Is this money going to help my son or daughter towards dependence or independence?
  2. Be sure to set your own financial goals for 1, 5 and 10 years. What do you want? How much do you need to save for a vacation, a new home, retirement?
  3. Meet with a trusted financial planner to determine how much you need to save to meet retirement goals. Ask your friends for referrals and if you’re in the Central Valley, CA send me an email – I know many very good advisors.
  4. Start saving today first towards an Emergency Account ($1,000), a Cushion Account (6 months living expenses) and then Retirement (Financial freedom).

Remember life is not black or white, and neither are the decisions you make about your money. Start where you are!!

I wish you “happiness, health & wealth.”


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Certified Money & Business Coach, Professional Speaker & author, Lynn Telford-Sahl, writes the PowerUP Your Money blog for women in small business and direct sales.

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