Do you want to get a better handle on your money issues? Deborah Owens, the author of A Purse of Your Own, says that “a man is not a financial plan!” It’s a sobering thought to realize that 90 percent of women will one day be in charge of their family’s finances. According to the National Center for Women and Retirement Research over 75 percent of women are widowed at an average age of 56, and 25 percent of these women are broke within two months of being widowed.
As I was researching, I came across the work of Drs. Brad and Ted Klontz, a father and son team who do “boot camps” to help people deal with their money issues. Some of the work they do focuses on “money scripts” which are our beliefs about money. Brad gave me permission to share his top 15 money scripts that mess folks up. Do you agree or disagree with the following scripts?
Top 15 Money Scripts that Mess People Up
- It is important to save for a rainy day.
- Giving money to others is something people should do.
- Money buys freedom.
- I have to work hard to be sure I have enough money.
- I deserve money.
- Your self-worth equals your net worth.
- It is okay to keep secrets from your partner about money.
- More money will make you happier.
- I do not deserve a lot of money when others have less than I do.
- I will never be able to afford the things I really want in life.
- Things would get better if I had more money.
- If you are good, your financial needs will be taken care of.
- It takes money to make money.
- If I had to borrow money to get what I want, I would do it.
- You can’t trust people around money.
I am curious if you would take this list of beliefs and compare them to what your spouse feels about money. My concern for women is that I see married women who are not paying attention to the finances, and there is a great likelihood that they will need to be in charge someday. I also see a lot of fear about “having enough” for the type of lifestyle that is desired after age 70, when there is still 15 or more years of living to enjoy.
Tips for Planning Your Financial Life
I feel strongly that married women should plan their financial life as if they will be on their own someday. Here’s how you can get started today:
- Get involved now.
- Keep track of what you need for family living.
- Keep organized records so you know where your money is.
- Have your own retirement investment account.
- Get professional financial planning and investment advice.
- Consider taking courses on how to be a smart investor.
- Build up your money smarts and confidence.
- Write down your financial goals, and know the security of “having enough.”
- Figure out your net worth by taking a complete inventory of your assets and liabilities.
10 Excuses about Money that Hold You Back
A Globe and Mail article by Ruth Petty once gave ten reasons why people fail financially. You can also help avoid money issues by working to bust these excuses:
- Procrastination. Today is a great day to start being smarter with your money.
- Lack of goals. Folks who write out their goals achieve more.
- Not knowing how to establish goals. Start reading “A Purse of Your Own” by Deborah Owens.
- Insufficient knowledge of the tax laws. Talk to your accountant and ask questions. Manitoban Rita Tully shows women how a tax-free savings account grows best when placed in a self-directed portfolio, not a GIC!
- Improper insurance plans. Find a trusted advisor referred by savvy friends.
- Debt accumulation. Get rid of your personal credit card debts.
- Lack of understanding of inflation. Your money returns need to beat the cost of living index.
- Fear. False evidence appearing real. What fears are keeping you stuck?
- Negligence in monitoring financial portfolios. Start asking questions of your investment broker and read “The Skeptical Investor.”
- Poor attitude. Your mind games around money may not be serving you well.
What Does Money Mean to You?
I asked some women what money meant to them. Here are some of the answers I got: power, freedom, adventure, love, status, abundance, scarcity, energy, giving. So what does money mean to you? When you start to talk about what money means to you, the conversation is enriched as you explore your mental money triggers.
I don’t keep financial secrets from my husband, and he is honest with me also. The impact of money secrets and other “undiscussable’s” may be harming you. Perhaps you are into “retail therapy” and are overspending like a shopaholic because you have unmet emotional needs. It might be that your role on the farm has changed, and you are looking for financial freedom and security beyond the income streams of the farm. Perhaps you are tired of enabling your adult children by continually bailing them out of their money woes. There is a myriad of money triggers that cause conflict and distress in families.
The important thing is to identify your money beliefs and scripts and start talking about how those beliefs are impacting your behavior with money.
10 Reasons You Might Not Be Taking Action
If you are avoiding your money issues and not taking control of your finances, here are some of my reasons why you might not be taking action:
- You can’t ask for help.
- You don’t want to rock the boat, so you avoid money conflicts.
- You feel you don’t deserve to succeed.
- You are afraid to change.
- You are too busy with life to focus on your money issues.
- You have no money of your own.
- You are a hockey mom…always running.
- You don’t think you can afford a financial planner.
- You think things will just happen, that you should let fate decide your future.
- You don’t feel smart enough to learn more about your money.
I challenge you to embrace the emotional factors affecting your money sense. Draw a map of your family members and identify the scripts and feelings portrayed about money in your family of origin. Figure out why you aren’t intentionally taking control of your financial well-being. Borrow “Wired for Wealth” from your library and get insights from Brad and Ted Klontz.
My wish for you is that you always have “enough.” Make it happen by assessing your scripts about money, and resolving your money issues before it’s too late.