11th April 2023
Do you talk about money?
For many women, it’s a topic we prefer to avoid, yet it’s something that touches every aspect of our lives. Fidelity Investments found that 80% of women not only avoided the topic of money with friends and family, but they also found it ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘too personal’.
Our relationship with money influences how we approach spending, saving, investing, and most importantly what we teach our children about money.
However, much of our relationship with money is formed by our upbringing, culture, and personal experiences. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of a relationship with money, and how understanding your money beliefs and habits can help you take control of your financial life.
Throughout history, money has been a topic that has been associated with men. Women were often excluded from financial decisions. It’s only within the last 100 years that women have been allowed to hold and dispose of property on the same terms as men. Even today, there are still remnants of this societal norm, with women being paid less than men. In the UK, for every £1 a man earns, a woman makes just 89p.
Women are also often expected to take on unpaid domestic work and caregiving responsibilities. This leaves them with less time and resources to focus on their financial goals.
We’re taught to believe that money is not as important as other aspects of our lives, such as family, relationships, and personal well-being.
There are societal biases placed on women to spend their money in specific ways, such as on beauty products and clothing, rather than investing or saving for the future. This can lead to financial insecurity and an inability to reach long-term financial goals.
Overall, these societal norms and expectations can create a negative relationship with money for women, causing us to feel less confident and capable of making secure financial decisions. It is important to recognise these biases and work towards overcoming them to create a healthy relationship with money.
For instance, growing up in a household where money was tight may result in a scarcity mindset, while growing up in a household where money was abundant may lead to a more relaxed attitude towards money and overspending. Reflecting on our earliest memories of money can help us identify negative patterns and work towards building a healthier and more positive relationship with money.
These messages may include beliefs about the value of hard work, the importance of saving (vs investing), the risks or even fear of debt and the role money plays in women’s lives. Negative money messages such as fear or scarcity can also be passed down, leading to a mindset of limitations and anxiety around money.
Some women view money as a source of stress, while others see it as a source of security or even joy. By exploring your own feelings towards money, you can gain insight into how these emotions influence your financial decisions and work towards creating a more positive relationship with money.
Managing your money involves making intentional decisions about spending, saving and investing. It may include creating and following a budget, tracking expenses, and setting financial goals. Do you budget your money or do you go with the flow? If the latter, ask yourself why?
Long-term financial goals are the financial objectives we set for ourselves over an extended period, such as five, ten, or even twenty years. Examples of long-term financial goals include paying off debt, investing and saving for retirement, buying a house, or building a solid emergency fund. By having clear long-term financial goals, we can make strategic financial decisions that align with our objectives and help us achieve financial security and success.
Our relationship with money is influenced by our money beliefs and habits, which can be positive or negative. These beliefs and habits are often shaped by our upbringing, culture, and past experiences.
|Money is the root of all evil.||Avoiding conversations about money, ignoring bills or sabotaging opportunities to build wealth (e.g. turning down a job promotion)|
|You must work brutally hard for money.||Overworking or not allowing yourself to spend money on enjoyable things.|
|Debt is normal and necessary.||Carrying high-interest debt or not prioritising debt repayment.|
|Debt is bad, avoid it at all costs.||Some debt is “good” or useful and can be seen as a financial tool. E.g. mortgages. Also having some lower-interest debt (that you can comfortably cover) allows you to build a credit profile.|
|Money will make you happy.||Overspending on material possessions or constantly seeking more money.|
|Money is limited and scarce.||Hoarding money or not investing for your future.|
Which beliefs can you relate to?
It is important for women to change their negative money beliefs and habits because women often face unique financial challenges such as the gender pay gap, career interruptions for caregiving, and longer lifespans requiring greater financial resources. By changing our money beliefs and habits, we can gain greater financial independence, security, and control over our lives. Not to mention the greater impact we’d have on society.
According to a study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, women are 40% more likely to donate money to important causes than men. When women have access to more financial resources, everybody wins!
Once you’ve identified your money beliefs and habits, you can work to change them. This involves recognising patterns of behaviour and making a conscious effort to replace negative money habits with positive ones. Here are some tips to help you change your relationship with money:
For women, it’s important that we set financial goals that align with our values and priorities. This can involve identifying what matters most to us, such as supporting our family, pursuing career goals, or giving back to our community.
Women are often bombarded with messages that encourage us to always want more, whether it’s a bigger house, a better car, or the latest trending designer bag. However, practising gratitude for what we already have can be a powerful way to shift our mindset towards abundance and contentment. By focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and acknowledging our blessings, we can cultivate a more mindful and fulfilling relationship with money.
Learn about personal finance and investing to gain confidence and knowledge.
Taking the time to educate yourself about personal finance and investing can help you make informed decisions and feel more confident about your financial future. By expanding your knowledge, you can gain a better understanding of how to manage your money and make it work for you.
Surround yourself with women who have the money mindsets you aspire to have.
Surrounding yourself with positive money-minded people, particularly other women, is crucial for personal financial growth and development. People with the right mindsets often have a contagious energy that can uplift, motivate and inspire you, helping you to maintain a positive outlook and reach your financial goals. They can also provide support, encouragement, and constructive feedback, helping you to become the best money-minded version of yourself.
Build an emergency fund to reduce financial stress and anxiety.
Building an emergency fund is an important step towards financial security and peace of mind. By setting aside money specifically for unexpected expenses or emergencies, you can reduce financial stress and anxiety – thus building a healthier relationship with money. A good rule of thumb is to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an easily accessible account such as a high-yield savings account.
Develop an investment strategy [and stick to it].
Depending on your needs, you may also need to seek guidance from financial professionals or online resources to ensure that your strategy is well-informed and well-suited to your individual circumstances.
Address negative money beliefs by challenging them and reframing them positively.
To address negative money beliefs, it’s essential to challenge our thoughts. Ask yourself where they come from and how they have affected your financial decisions. By reframing negative beliefs into positive ones, such as “I can’t afford it” into “I choose to spend my money on other priorities,” you can shift your mindset and make more empowering financial choices.
Practice mindfulness in your spending and saving habits to help you make conscious choices.
This involves being aware of your current financial situation and the impact of your spending habits. You’ll need to set financial goals that align with your values, and regularly review your budget. It also means not allowing your current circumstances to determine where you’re heading.
Let’s be honest: as a woman, our relationship with money is complex. It’s deeply ingrained in our beliefs, habits and society’s expectation of us. By identifying the origin of our money story, we can work to develop a fruitful relationship with money. By taking a mindful and intentional approach to our finances, we can achieve our long-term financial goals and create a more secure and fulfilling future.
And, why not do it in the company of women?
Join the Propelle community today to connect with like-minded women who are on the same journey towards financial empowerment. Our community offers a safe and candid space to discuss delicate money topics and gain valuable insights and support. Let’s work together to change our money stories and create a more positive and abundant relationship with money!
Propelle does not provide investment advice. If you are unsure about anything, please seek financial advice from an authorised advisor. Your capital is at risk.