Shh.... Did you tell your spouse or partner how much you really spent for Christmas or shopping trips or even vacations? What would they say if they knew? What other money secrets do you keep?Read More
If you're a woman in business and you've been in business 3 years or more January is a great time to assess how it's going. You're hitting the crucial 3 to 5 year mark where, I'm sorry to say this, most businesses fail. Or, your business may bump along, more in the way of a hobby than a real business.Read More
Business success isn't magic - it takes planning! We, women in business, work hard IN our businesses, but often don’t spend enough time working ON our business doing the planning, goal setting and strategiziing necessary to achieve our dreams.Read More
When did you first realize where you sit on the economic scale of life? For me it was in high school after my parents divorced. My newly single mother found a job as a photographer for Sears. There was no extra money; barely enough for rent, bills and food. There was certainly no extra money for clothes. But, instead of feeling defeated or giving up, I felt challenged. My early entrepreneurial spirit had me handwriting flyers to let people in the neighborhood know I could babysit. And, babysit I did. I also learned how to sew and made a few A-line mini-skirts - remember those? My favorite was a lime green and I wore it often.
Until my 30s I didn't think much about where my husband Dave and I were on the economic scale. I was getting my masters degree in psychology and Dave was running a technology business. We were at an event at my husband's partners' home and I noticed they had money. It's easier to accumulate more money when one comes from money. They'd been raised in an upper middle class environment. Her dad was Richard Lyng, who later became the Secretary of Agriculture under President Reagan. His dad was the CEO of a large hospital in town. My husbands partners were very nice, very low key people, but it made me uncomfortable to be around them. I started comparing what we had and what they had. I felt envious of the neighborhood where they lived. My feelings were not caused by what they were doing or not, it was all a reflection of my discomfort with my inner relationship with money. That discomfort I felt back then is part of the divide that happens between those that have more. I saw the indicators of success - money, prestige, a fabulous home, etc., and wasn't sure how to attain those or even whether it was important. After all I was heading into the helping profession of counseling, a profession generally not "into" making money. So, I stopped thinking about all that money stuff.
A few years ago I started getting a handle on finances. This year zoomed me into a new place when I went five month training program to become a Certified Money Coach. All the denial and avoidance around money came back to the surface. VERY uncomfortable looking at what's hidden from plain view. Looking at my stuck money places, forgiving myself and my parents their financial inadequecies and growing my money self up was painful and incredible. I can't encourage you enough to really shine the light on your RELATIONSHIP with money - not just the budget or the in and out flow, but how you feel about money, what it means to you, what your money history or story is. If we want to achieve greater economic equality in this world, we have to transform our emotinal stuff around money - our attitudes, beliefs and convictions around what money really means. A powerful journey.
Ever spend money to calm the stress of a hectic, demanding week? Or grabbed your second Starbucks of the day because you deserve something good? These are examples of what we do to make ourselves feel better when the brain is stressed. We humans like to "think" we are so rational, but don't believe it. Stress makes us much more vulnerable to making less than good decisions. Hello weight gain and expanding credit card debt!
But are we addicted to stress and fear? "The more we reach for the doughnut (the Starbucks, the new shoes) without being conscious of how we're feeling - anxious, stressed, unhappy- the more we cement in the fear that's driven us to reach for it in the first place. In fact, the more we deny our fears with distractions, the more compulsive we become." (Lynn T.S. Intentional JOY)
Ted and Brad Klontz state that the human brain under stress is like a tilted table. Anxiety and fear make us feel off-balance and the brain then looks for ways to rebalance. (Mind Over Money.) Of course, our advertiser based, consumer culture supplies us with plenty of suggestions (commercials anyone?) that sit under the surface waiting for the perfect moment - Friday night, kids fighting in the back seat, dinner to be prepared at home - blam - McDonalds here we come.
An important thing to remember is none of this is really bad or wrong. We are human, flawed and imperfect. That's the deal. We also have choice. It's ok to want to calm, soothe and comfort ourselves. But, how? The gift of being human is that we have the ability to wake up, to become conscious and to practice new behavior. Think about this: Imagine the consequences of more healthy stress relievers? Yoga, breathing, a walk, a talk with a friend are all proven stress busting, brain calming methods that don't leave a residue of guilt. Or, do you continue to seek the easy solution and end up feeling worse over the long run? Start with baby steps. Awareness there's a problem is that first step.
I work with women in business who want to make more money. Some have what it takes, some don’t. How do we know?
A friend shared a story from T. Harv Ecker of Millionaire Mindset fame. He’s made a lot of money; from what I can tell mostly from teaching people how to make more money.
He says making more money is sort of like ice cream. We have to be mature enough to earn the right to a double or triple scoop. You know how you take your 5 year old to the ice cream store and they’re all excited to eat ice cream. You're thinking one scoop is plenty. But then they see a 10 year old who has two scoops. Or grown ups with a banana split. Now they're not satisfied. They want two scoops. They throw a fit, but, you let them know that’s it. One scoop. On the way out of the store, plop goes their ice cream. "See, you tell them. You weren’t ready for more than one scoop." After a couple of experiences, they figure out what it takes to handle one scoop. Then they're ready for more.
It's the same with money. In the beginning of our life, we're not ready for more money. Most of us make lots of mistakes with money. We open credit cards, ring up balances, get into debt, overshop or overspend. We haven't yet earned the right to more money.
If we learn from our money mistakes, it matures us. We begin to understand our relationship with money and what it takes not only to make it but to keep it. As Robert Kiyosaki says, 'it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep." Play his game Cash Flow sometime. It’s like Monopoly on steroids and very quickly demonstrates where you're really at with your money consciousness.
Financial maturity takes practice and patience. Enjoy and learn from your one money scoop until you're ready for two, or more.
Could they do any worse? Most of us are rather clueless about what really happened to bring about the crash of 2008, but one thing is clear, while we are all in this mess together, we didn’t all put us in this jeopardy. Greed is the real problem. Yes, individual Americans have a part in creating this calamity. They borrowed more money than they should have. Credit was so easy to get and banks were so happy to push it. But, the real story is more disheartening than just the lack of individual responsibility.
This current economic roller coaster started with the deregulation of the banks in 1999 under President Clinton. This did two things. It unleashed the easy credit frenzy and banks could once again offer stocks for sale. In 1999 the Financial Services Modernization Act was passed which deregulated the old Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. That law was passed after the crash of 1929 to protect the public from banks. With deregulation, banks were freed to unleash their greediness once again (hmm…. what we don’t learn from our past we are doomed to repeat). Deregulating the banks was like putting the wolf in charge of the chicken coop and expecting them to behave themselves.
The other greed factor and a “hidden cause of the current global financial crisis is that the people who saw it coming had more to gain from it by taking short positions (or by buying credit default insurance- in other words betting against America) than they did by trying to publicize the problem.” (Michael Lewis: Boomerang, 2011)
Here’s my question: If more women were in decision-making roles in Congress, banking institutions and large corporations, would this folly have happened? One Icelandic woman, Halla Tomasdottir, noticed the financial crisis that was building in her country and quit her high-level position as the CEO for Kaupthing Bank in 2006. She didn’t like the way things were going. She started her own financial services business totally run by women. Her company is one of the few profitable financial businesses left in Iceland today. And, Bloomberg reported that while women make up only 3 % of hedge fund managers, their portfolios profited 55% more than men’s from 2000-2009. (Can Feminine Values Fix Finance? http://www.cnbc.com/id/44860469)