Money. How does that word make you feel? Usually what comes up in the work that I do as a financial trainer is fear, shame, anxiety, and guilt. Money is taboo to talk about, but thankfully, our culture is shifting. More and more women are talking about money, educating themselves, and taking control of their finances. But what if you don’t know where to start?
We live in a world where we are raised to believe we have to hustle for our money, but really we can make our money hustle for us. Everyone has money fears, but it’s time to strip money of that shame, anxiety, and guilt that is attached to it. Here are a few tips to get started to feel empowered by your money:
Change Your Mindset
First things first. It’s time to overcome those money fears because really, it doesn’t matter how much money you make or how much you have. What I like to do for myself and my clients is to focus on gratitude. Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for that you spend money on.
This will help shift your idea of money as a thing that I “need,” to a tool that enables you towards the things that bring you joy.
I meet with clients that come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Some people make well over six figures but are paralyzed by money anxiety and a scarcity mindset, even with $50,000 in their savings account. Then, I meet a client who has $1,000 in their savings, a little debt, and makes $40,000/year but feels like they have an abundance of money. Money anxiety goes away when we change our mindset, not when we make that dream salary.
Marie Kondo Your Money
Now that we’ve established an abundance mindset free of stigmas and shame, we can focus on what you are spending money on and how that spending makes you feel. This is why Marie Kondo is such a sensation. While she focuses more on cleaning up your home, her method can totally apply to cleaning up your finances.
Instant gratification and joy are two very different things but often get mixed up.
Spend some time looking over your statements and marking a star on the purchases that genuinely sparked joy, and crossing out the ones that strike up feelings of guilt/shame. Joy is an app that is dedicated to this process and actually super fun to use!
Pay Yourself First
63% of people do not have $500 in their savings account. Overall, you should be saving at minimum 15% of your income to an emergency fund, or what I like to call a “Freedom Fund.” This should be equivalent to 3 to 6 months of your fixed expenses. Ever have a job that you absolutely loathed and wanted to leave, but felt trapped in staying for the money? A freedom fund gives you that out to never feel stuck again. Or, do you want to travel the world for a couple months to do some soul searching? Freedom fund. For example, if your fixed expenses are $3,000/month you should have at least $9,000 saved. You deserve to pay yourself first and liberate yourself from any financial situation that comes your way.
Once you reach your 3 to 6 months worth of savings, you can take that 15% of savings toward your other goals like traveling, investing, education, or buying a property. You deserve to have whatever goals you want to achieve.
Ask for a Raise
Want more money? ASK for it! According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women only make 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. When you are offered a job, always negotiate your salary. Do some research and see what other people are making in the job position you would be doing. I like Glassdoor and Salary.com for this.
Then, advocate for yourself. Make a list of all the reasons you deserve to have more money. Bring in some numbers/results that will convince them you’re worth the money. What were some obstacles at your previous position, and how did you handle it? Be specific about times you went above and beyond. Talk about the accomplishments you are proud of and what you are going to achieve if given this job opportunity and salary. The worst they can say is no, to which you could say, “Thank you, next,” and go on to the next amazing job opportunity you’ll create for yourself.
Empower Yourself, Empower the World
It is no secret that fewer women participate in the stock market than men. In fact, according to a 2017 study by Acorns, 57% of women didn’t invest. If you are wanting to break into the investing game but don’t know where to begin, start by investing in things that you care about. Coin is an amazing company that lets you invest for impact. Are you passionate about fighting climate change? Want to support women owned companies or end world hunger? You can! Swell is also another platform that wants you to invest in social change. Investing can be so empowering, not only for yourself but for the world.
Money is the number one cause of stress among Americans. When we achieve financial wellness, we eliminate that stress and can finally feel empowered by our money. If there is anything I want you to take away from this, it is that you deserve to have money and take control over your financial journey.