Written by Lighthouse’s Founder, Cathy Goddard: Financial Wellness for Your Future
How would you describe your comfort level with money? Are you a wizard with finances? Or do you avoid the issue like the plague?
Women & Money
Like many women, money is not a topic that I embrace and before you lash out at me for that statement… the statistics don’t lie. According to a Wells Fargo Financial Health Study from a few years back, “45% of women grade their financial literacy a ‘C’ or below, while comparatively 65% of men assess their level of financial literacy as a ‘B’ or higher”. Why does that matter? Well, men also expressed greater confidence in their ability to maintain their standard of living than did women, primarily because they were in good financial shape in that area.
Frankly, my inadequacy in the realm of financial savvy-ness has consumed a lot of brain space over the years. The crux of it lays in making sense of exactly why I am the way I am.
What determines financial wellness for your future?
Psychology and money are intertwined and intelligence actually has little to do with prosperity. Your financial success is more determined by how well you can break through limiting beliefs, emotional blocks and patterns of behaviour that distance you from your relationship with money.
Ironically, my mother was the money manager in our family. She tackled all financial responsibilities and since my parents owned several businesses, both their personal and professional wealth lay in her capable hands. Wouldn’t you think I’d have soaked up some of that financial ingenuity? Unfortunately, my mother never talked to me about money and in fact, the topic was a huge bone of contention between my parents.
My father possessed many talents of his own but he was uneducated and as such, his self-worth was diminished because he couldn’t comprehend how my mother made their earnings work for our family. As a result, all of us living in my childhood home had a ‘spidey sense’ that when the topic of money cropped up, it was time to vacate the premises. Did someone mention emotional block?
How to build financial acumen
Good fortune (pun intended) has united me with a husband that is knowledgeable about investments but in truth, that enabled me to defer on those decisions despite the fact he has patiently explained it all to me many times over the years. However, I concede that ignorance and disinterest are not good strategies so I’ve worked hard to take responsibility for better understanding it all. How? Well, I set out these steps a long time ago to develop that financial acumen.
- Find books, blogs and websites about finance that suit your style. My rule when first starting to explore was not to glaze over! Instead, I committed to find the resources that interested me and to read, absorb and grasp those learnings.
- Engage in dialogue about money. Don’t revert to the standard “I don’t know anything about finance/investments/money.” Yes I do! That’s just an excuse and excuses are simply self-built roadblocks that keep me from achieving what is possible.
- Don’t compare myself to others that I perceive more knowledgeable when it comes to finances. I know lots of people claiming expertise when it comes to money and investments, yet they consistently over-extend themselves and mismanage their finances. That’s not financial wisdom in my opinion – it’s just making bad choices.
- Explore the reasons I react the way I do to this topic and rather than rolling out the melodrama with a potential ‘bag lady’ scenario in my future, wrestle it down and bust through the fear.
My Fave Financial Resources
In my quest, I’ve been enlightened as to how many resources there are out there to trample my financial phobia. And in discovering them, I’ve been able to share with so many others that harbor the same aversion. It is a big topic of discussion in Lighthouse’s mentor program so that list of resources keeps growing.
Here are a few of my favourite resources. Golden Girl Finance educates women on personal finances and investments in the most unintimidating way. And, Smart Cookies is always a great go-to and their tagline is amazing: Smart Cookies provides education and support for ambitious women to bring their richest goals to life – on their own terms. Who wouldn’t want that?
I also follow Money Sense Magazine. Lastly, one of my fave books that I share (and have gifted over and over again) is Bruce Sellery’s ‘Moolala: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things With Their Money’. He’s all about inspiring people to get a better handle on their money.
Let’s Keep Learning
Bottom line is that people’s financial well-being depends on their ability to understand and use financial information in a way that helps them make good decisions. And, that is a choice that we can all make.
That’s why I’m hosting a free online session on June 9th with Jennifer Underwood, a Wealth Planner at Vancity and Ruby Saroya, Business Account Manager at Squamish Savings. You will be guided through a presentation jam-packed with information, resources and tools – then we will open it up to your questions. Ask them ‘live’ or send them to me beforehand and we will get answers for you anonymously.
My mission is always to provide a safe, comfortable learning environment so this is NOT a ‘sales’ event. Instead, this is an opportunity to learn budgeting strategies, key considerations about investing and resources to protect yourself with insurance options and an estate plan in place. Oh, and a bonus will come your way too! Register for your free ticket right here.
Oh, and if you’re still reeling from my ‘bag lady’ comment, know that according to an Allianz Life Insurance survey of over 2,200 women, almost HALF said they fear becoming a “bag lady” one day. And I thought I was the only one!
Do NOT shy away from this question. Is your comfort level with money high or low and tell me one thing you attribute that to?