Look, I get that financial planning might seem overwhelming and isn’t every woman’s idea of a good time, but hopefully you’ll take the time to make friends with your money. Financial knowledge is empowering and will allow you to have better quality opportunities for your future.
The formula for staying poor is simple:
Step 1: ruminate over financial mistakes from the past;
Step 2: compare yourself to others;
Step 3: blame your circumstance on other people (including your partner) and situations that you couldn’t control.
If you don’t learn to get real with your financial situation, things like maxed-out credit cards and a mortgage you can’t afford will forever haunt and prevent you from moving your life forward.
The biggest financial obstacles for women aren’t their actual finances; they are their mindsets. A fascination with the past prevents even the smartest women from achieving their full potential— financial, personal, and professional. You might blame that stingy boss who would never give anyone a raise, or that ex-spouse who wouldn’t pay their fair share of child support. Sure there will have been challenges along the way, but you need to own up to your financial reality.
Compounding this focus on the past, is a tortuous pattern of trying to keep up with the Joneses because “we deserve it.” You know these people. You may be one. I was one once. In late 2015, a 45-year-old woman came into my office seething with anger because her ex-husband was a deadbeat and left her with a mountain of credit card debt—eight years prior! Rather than owning up to her financial reality, she’d kept up “appearances” and buried herself further in debt. The past trapped her. She needed to stop obsessing about her ex, examine her own behaviour, and deal with the reality she was living in now.
As women we spend a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror hoping that it will teach us something about the financial road ahead. But sadly, we miss simply being present in today— taking in what’s happening right here and right now. Extraordinary things come out of many “todays” layered together when they are pointed in the direction you want your life and finances to head. If you want to be rich—and when I say that I mean you would like to be truly satisfied with your financial, personal, and professional life—then take stock of where you and your money are today. This can be as simple as calculating your net worth, setting a realistic goal to grow it, and working to change one bad financial habit at a time. Make a resolution to focus on smart solutions for your financial future, including building enough savings for retirement.
Some of the most amazing financial progress I’ve seen is with women starting from ground zero—they don’t even have two nickels to rub together. But their commitment to a better financial future is centred on making the best financial choices possible with what they have every day, and they’re quick to halt bad financial habits.
If you’re ready to transform your finances, choose the formula for getting rich:
Step 1: put past financial mistakes in their place—behind you;
Step 2: get real with your financial reality;
Step 3: point every decision you make towards achieving your financial, personal, and professional potential.
This is an excerpt from Lesley-Anne’s latest book, The Modern Couple’s Money Guide.