Taxes & Fear Go Hand in Hand for Women in Business

Why do women in business make themselves so crazy with the fear, avoidance and resistance to paying taxes? We know they’re due a year ahead of time. Yet, we procrastinate up until the last day. A hundred years ago if you didn’t pay your taxes you could be hauled off to the poor house. While that’s not the case any longer, as April 17th approaches I notice a strong whiff of anxiety as I’m out networking and talking with women business owners. It’s hard to not get caught up in fear when it’s so prevalent. But, of course we don’t talk about that feeling of fear in the air. We put on a game smile, pretend as if everything is just FINE and struggle in silence because we think others know so much more or are doing so much better than we are.  Not the case.

As a life and business coach talking to women in business every day a couple of things are clear. One – when you’re self-employed the goal has to be to SAVE enough over the year to be able to pay your tax bill at the end of the year. But many don’t. They’re caught up in daily survival, often are just making ends meet and don’t know how to develop a longer-term perspective.  Others get caught in the vicious loop of paying BACK taxes, which makes it doubly hard to pay this years taxes. Ow! And then you have folks that earn plenty, but don’t save a thing because they just don’t manage their money well. As Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame says, “It’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep.”  That comes home to roost as we get older.

Second, the economy has wounded the heart and soul of many women (and men) in business. Losing a house, having to file for bankruptcy, downsizing your life and expectations takes its toll. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine things getting better. But imagine and work towards this, we must.

So then the question is – how do you deal with money fears that create avoidance and exaggerate money troubles? I know you’re not going to like this but the answer is to courageously look at the facts as they relate to your money situation and create a plan to deal with it. Get help if necessary. Women in business: we get past fear by confronting what makes us afraid and by taking the daily right action necessary to stay conscious of what’s happening with our money. As Suze Orman says: “Every money challenge can be solved by the person you see in the mirror.”

Resuscitate the American Dream with Hope, Change & Personal Responsibility

Resuscitate the American Dream with hope, change and personal responsibility says Suze Orman in her newest book, The Money Class. The American Dream our parents embraced was one of living BELOW their means. This is a lesson we lost track of in the obsession for MORE that advertisers promoted and we indebted ourselves to (in oh so many Visa and MasterCard ways).

We need to not only rescue the American Dream as Suze says, but resuscitate it with the old virtues of hard work and sacrifice. Boring, and so not exciting as the lifestyles of the Kardashian's or Jersey Shores, but realistic.

Suze says, and I agree, that we must move beyond materialism – an empty value if there ever was one – to authentic happiness. But we Americans are programmed to believe that more money equals happiness. This is an illusion that lottery winners, for example, often realize too late. (Most are bankrupt or broke within 5 years)

I have a two-part question I ask at Money Workshops and trainings that comes from David Krueger’s book The Secret Language of Money.

1)    My current annual income is $__________________.

2)    In order to insure happiness and contentment financially, with no more money problems and worries, my annual income would need to be ______________________.

Most people answer #2 as being about twice the amount of #1. For example if #1 = $50,000, then to insure happiness I’d need to make $100,000. But once a financial goal is reached, what do we do? Set another goal and it’s often about twice the size of the first. When do we get to be happy and have financial peace?  

Let's create a new American Dream by educating ourselves about money and prioritizing what is most important and what we value. And, by the way,  a 2010 survey Suze cites by Charles Schwab & Co. says 75% of respondents understand that to create a new American dream, it takes hope, change and personal responsibility!!  That's true financial peace.

Women: 5 Steps to Get Money House in Order

If you're self-employed, an entrepreneur or career oriented you've got to get your money house in order.  I know, I know, it's nearly Christmas and you're crazy busy. But, I want to plant an important business seed for 2012 because it'll be here in ten seconds.  

In order to make the most money, have less stress, and achieve your full potential (financial is part of that) and have fun along the way, here are 5 Money things you need to do in 2012.*

1) Get Your Money House in Order:  Assess what's working well financially and what the challenges are. For example, let's start with the basics.  Are you making enough money? No? What do you think/feel are the 3 main reasons for this? Be careful about blaming the economy. I know it's a factor, but I also know many businesses that are booming - mine included.

2)  Know your Money Story: Especially if you're struggling to get to the next level financially and you keep bumping up against the same obstacle or stuck place. I can guarantee you that there's a hidden emotional piece in your history. Yesterday, while going through The Money History with a client, she realized that her "make do and settle" pattern came from resistance to becoming like her mother. A huge ah-ha.

3) Write down your goals for 2012. If you're self-employed and you have a goal of earning $25,000 or $50,000 net income a year, how many clients will it take each week and month to bring in that amount of money. The more specific you are (a spreadsheet is handy) the easier it will be to achieve. Look at your goals each day, visualize the end result as if it's already happened. Then take action each and every day.

4) Realize that you have a RELATIONSHIP with money. As Suze Orman says and I'm paraphrasing: "Women don't show the same care to their relationship with money, as with other relationships, because they have a dysfunctional relationship with money. What are your money dysfunctions: Overspending, debt, avoiding, underearning, not respecting your money so you don't take good care of it?  Identify THE major dysfunction and conquor it this year.

 5) Grow your Wealth: One of the biggest money mistakes I see women make (and I used to also) is to not grow their wealth. Women give too much time, energy and MONEY away to others - primarily children. If they don't they feel guilty. More money comes to us as we learn to respect it, take care of it, grow it. If you haven't started a retirement account or savings account (for emergencies - $1,000 minimum) make it a goal to start this year.

 *If you're in Modesto or close by check out my 2012 4 hour Business Strategy Session for Women). I do this workshop every year and at the end we do a Vision Board with your Goals and Action Steps for 2012)

Financial Sabotage: How Women Drain Money, Energy &Time by Giving Too Much

What’s one of the biggest mistakes women make with their money? As I ask women and men to respond to this question, one answer comes up repeatedly: women give their money, time and energy away too freely. Then they don't have enough for themselves.

Who do they give their money to? Usually their children and I’m not talking about those under 18. “An online poll commissioned in May by the National Endowment for Financial Education and found that nearly 60% of parents are giving, or have in the past granted, financial support to adult children who are no longer in college.”*

Yes, I know the tough economy is a factor with women wanting to step in and help their adult children. It's a lovely part of women's (& many men's) natures that we are the nurturers and caretakers of the family. But sometimes we over-equate love and money.  To not give money can seem selfish to mothers. And, mothers are encouraged by culture and church to sacrifice for the well-being of their children, right?

That’s not a bad thing, unless it leaves the mother in dificult financial straits. I’ve talked to women who have been robbed by their children, given in to sob story after sob story, been taken advantage of and even those left nearly destitute because of over-giving.

There is a balance point between over giving and creating dependency or entitlement. It’s not selfish, but self-loving to consider your own financial need and to set limits with children about what and how much you’re willing to help. As we’ve heard often – women, put your own oxygen mask on first.

*(Modesto Bee, Michelle Singletary, The Color of Money column 11-27-11)