We are a veritable army of change waiting to be tapped into. If we equip and empower ourselves around money and start making decisions which are in line with our values, then we could transform what the world looks like.
So it’s exciting times with regards women and wealth.
But these are also hugely stressful times for a lot of us, right?
Money can be stressful
To take the UK again, only 7% of the population in this country are on track for the retirement that we want. I’m a little bit concerned about our pensions, if I’m honest. And I’m not alone.
Research tells us that 4.5 million women in the UK are losing sleep over their money situation, and it’s not just that they don’t have enough in the bank right now.
57% are losing sleep because they don’t have enough savings – they’re worried about their future. And 28% are doing okay month by month but they’ve got a huge debt that they don’t know how to manage.
All together, that’s a hell of a lot of sleep we’re losing.
It’s impacting our quality of life. It’s impacting our well-being. And arguments about money are the number one top predictor of divorce.
So unless we do something about this money stuff, our very vitality, our health, our happiness and our relationships, will continue to suffer.
Our money confidence is often our lowest area of power
Here’s a quick challenge: think about your work confidence. Whatever you do, how confident do you feel that you’re the master of your own destiny there? That you can show up, that you can do something to make a difference?
Maybe it’s 100%, it might be 50%, or it might be 10%. Go with the first number that comes to mind.
Now, compare it to how confident you feel about your ability to manage and grow your money: your money confidence.
What I think we’re seeing at the moment is that over the last 100 years or so, as women have started to become empowered in the public sphere, we’re finally feeling confident in work.
We’ve fought our way through that glass ceiling and showed up, and we’re performing. Yes, there’s still a long way to go, but we’re doing great.
However, our money confidence is often lagging behind.
(Perhaps it’s still being informed by the last few millennia where we have not been involved in commerce at all.)
We still have a tendency to give our power away – to our partners, financial advisers, or even our parents. And where we are giving our power away, then we are not fully stepping up to the responsibility, or the opportunity that’s there for us.
Because let’s face it – the world needs changing.
And we can change it with our economic power. We can change it with our empowerment. But if you’re giving your power away around money, then you’re giving your power away full stop.
Personal finances: where to start
At Be Wealth, our brilliant retreat all about women and their relationship to money, we use a simple model called the 4 Stages of Wealth to identify our financial priorities and challenges, regardless of how much money we do or don’t have. At the retreat I take a spot survey in the room, asking the women there to put up their hands to say which stage of wealth they’re at.
It’s always a fascinating exercise to me, and not for the reason you might think.
What I see first of all is that an overwhelming majority of women in the room who are at the first stage of wealth – stability, where whatever they have coming in the amount they have left over at the end of each month is zero – feel shame.
They’re like, “Oh, god, I don’t want to admit to this! I’m so embarrassed”
And then, those who are at the next stage: security – where their expenses are a little less than their income, so their savings are increasing gradually to make a rainy day fund – are also thinking ”Oh my god, I don’t want to admit to this. I’m so embarrassed…”
But then those at the next stage, who you might think have got it sorted – because their passive income is making them more than their expenses – also say “Oh, I don’t want to admit to this in public! I’m so embarrassed”.
It doesn’t matter how much money we make, we have money shame
And I believe this is the root of so much of the problem.
We’re embarrassed because we’re making more than the person we’re sitting next to.
We’re embarrassed because we’re making less than the person we’re sitting next to.
We’re embarrassed because we’re not further along than we “should” be based on what our parents, or our society, tells us.
I would go so far as to say 99% of the women I have spoken to around money have some kind of money shame.
And when you have embarrassment around talking about money, you cannot transform it. Because if you can’t talk about it, you can’t learn about it, and education is the thing that can turn a situation around.
If your financial situation at the moment is not what you want it to be, it’s probably because at some level, you’re embarrassed to have conversations around money.
But if you were never taught how to manage money, if you were never taught to understand how it accumulates and how it grows and how it works, how could you possibly ever do anything about that?
We need to talk about money
I believe if we really wanted to change the way that power is arranged around the world we could do so, purely by changing whether or not money is talked about.
If everybody started talking about money: how much we have, how much we don’t have, what we know about it, what we don’t know about it – if we took it out of the closet, so to speak, I think things would shake up hugely.
But we will not be able educate ourselves until we overcome this first step of speaking about it.
And it’s absolutely time to do something about this, because we have an opportunity right now to transform the world. Not just our own personal financial world, so we can have the retirement that we want, and make the kind of impact for our kids that we want, or have the lifestyle that we want. Of course we know we can change that world if we sort our money stuff out.
But I believe we can change the world for even more people if we actually transform our relationship to money. If we let go of our money shame, and actually get educated on how the damn thing works.
What do you think? Can you relate to a feeling of embarrassment or even shame when it comes to talking about your finances? Let me know what your relationship to money is in the comments.
If you’d like to explore a new way of thinking about money that takes away the shame and gives you practical, powerful actions to take at whatever stage you’re at, come along to Wealth Insights. It’s our focused money workshop that gives you the chance to talk about your finances in a safe and friendly environment – and leave with a map of how to change your financial situation for good. Read the full details and book your place here.
Our intention is simple. To support professional women to handle the day-to-day so they can unleash the bigger impact they feel called to make in the world.
We believe real leadership is less about skill, and more about having a well of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual strength to draw on. Every week we support thousands of grassroots leaders globally with our free articles, videos and online trainings with powerful tools and methodologies created BY women FOR women.
Become One of many™ women creating strong, meaningful connections in our community.