If you’re a woman you’ve probably read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and have been talking about it with your friends. But I bet you haven’t talked about Fifty Shades of Green – a more important (but less lustful) topic to your bottom line than the characters of Christian Grey or Anastasia Steele could ever be.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
How does your money talk to you? Bob Dylan says: "Money doesn't talk - it screams." Like sex in the 50s or family abuse secrets in the 70s, the subject of money is taboo. Sshh... Don't talk about your money!!
We don't talk about how much money we make, whether we can pay our bills or not, about the financial stress or hardship we're experiencing. It's embarrassing and we think we're alone, but we're not. There's a saying from the field of psychology, that we're only as sick as the secrets we keep. Money is the last taboo and we need to share our money truths to feel better and move forward.
See if you relate to any of these thoughts or beliefs about money that Louse Hay discusses in her article, "Are You Friends With Your Money?"
* I can't save money
* I don't earn enough
* My credit rating is bad
* Why does everyone else have money?
* Bankruptcy is around the corner
Notice these are all fear based thoughts about money. Because of the economy there's been a considerable fear and negativity around our money. This is actually good if we take steps and not let the fear overwhelm our ability to take action, work diligently to be real about what's going on and take our power back.
The first step out of money fear is to break denial and tell the truth to yourself and your spouse. Make a list of all the money you owe and the money coming in. Create an action plan and look at your list every day while taking daily small incremental steps - pay $10.00 on PGE, talk to the bank, again, send out 10 resumes. Staying on track with an action plan will help you feel more in control.
Financial freedom takes work. You start where you are. It's ok. You're not alone. Tell the truth, make a list, create a plan, take daily small steps, stay conscious of your spending, and don't forget to dream and envision what you want. We need to focus more on where we're going than where we've been or what we've lost. The American Dream isn't dead, but it's been tarnished. It's up to us to shine it up again.
My coach and mentor Deborah Price of The Money Coaching Institute in Petaluma, CA says that most widows are out of money within 5 years. Whew!! Frightening. She also says: "A Man is not a retirement plan." As a Money Coach I talk to women every day who avoid the topic of retirement, or the subject of money in general. I understand, I used to be one of those women!!
But life can provide rude awakenings so please read on and I'll share a true story with you: I was at a party and got to talking to a woman about money because she asked me what I do. Glenda (name changed) told me that she’s now 75. When she was 59 her husband died unexpectedly at 66. She called Social Security to find out about her benefits as she assumed she would receive 70% of his monthly amount and was shocked to find out that for each month she was NOT 65 Social Security deducted ½% of his total. She ended up receiving 40%, a very different amount than she had planned on or needed to live the comfortable lifestyle they had together. (Note: I've since talked to a really sharp financial advisor and she's investigating whether it's possible for her to now change and take her own SS benefits over her husbands).
I have a friend who just lost her husband, again unexpectedly. He was 72 and she’s 47. They have no children so she will only receive a $250.00 death benefit and has no right to any of his social security. I know he thought she’d be fine when he went. But, she no longer has his income which amounted to most of their monthly income.
The moral of these stories? Know what Social Security will and will not provide, make sure you have life insurance, (my 47 year old friends husband did not) and have a financial advisor calculate out the amount of money you will need per month to maintain at least 75% of your income. Start an automatic savings program and find a good financial advisor in your area. Ask around and if you're a woman in business try to find a good female adviser. Losing a husband is a huge loss and financial problems complicate everything. Start thinking about and planning not only the IDEAL retirement, but for the worse-case scenarios and you'll be ok financially.
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.