Women want to make a positive impact on our communities. Many of us are solid income earners, and give generously to non-profits. And some are natural wealth builders.
But some are not (yet) in the wealth-building mindset.
Over the years, having worked with dozens of women, I have come to see that many women have a false money story going on in their heads – they believe that they are limited in the “wealth-building department” because they don’t “get” all the complex terminology. Let me tell you – all of these women are extremely bright. If building wealth was just about understanding complex terminology, then they would all be fabulously wealthy.
What I have discerned over the past eight years since starting my business is that for many women, building wealth is really a money mindset opportunity. And having access to the “right” resources.
It’s true. Engaging in the money conversation can feel overwhelming. It’s easy to get stuck and do nothing, just like it’s easier to sit on the sofa and watch an endless stream of your favorite Netflix series, rather than getting up and going out to exercise. You know what you should do, but it’s easier not to.
So, if we know it’s likely the “money mindset muscle” we need to build, how do we do it?
1. START WITH YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
To build this muscle, start by jotting down your recent money accomplishment – maybe you recently got a raise, or started a new job. Maybe you set up an IRA or increased your contribution to your company retirement plan. In other words, make an inventory of all the things you know and “do right” with your money.
I’ll bet you will find you are doing a lot right, even if your self-talk is telling you otherwise.
2. GET A PLAN
A plan is not as easy as outlining your accomplishments. Your accomplishments are backward-looking, where a plan is forward-looking. A plan helps you assess how much you can spend now, while also setting yourself up for the future and building wealth.
You can work with a financial advisor to develop a financial plan, which becomes increasingly important as you move through major life transitions (marriage, divorce, children, death of a loved one, retirement, etc.) If you aren’t ready for the “big plan,” you can work with a financial coach to help you define your goals and be an accountability partner. Or if you are a “do it yourselfer,” get out a spreadsheet and pull up a seat at your laptop to start researching.
3. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU VALUE
If you understand what you truly value, then delving into the money conversation can be a lot easier.
For example, if you really value supporting local businesses, make your purchases intentional and buy from one or two businesses that you want to support. This, in turn, makes it easier to think about your budget – you will start focusing on how much of your budget can go towards your favorite businesses.
If you are concerned about climate change, give to a non-profit that focuses on this issue. You can also choose to invest in Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) funds or work with an advisor that shares these values and applies ESG screening on their investments.
If you have significant means and are what’s called an accredited investor, connect with Liz Doerr’s Women In Venture to learn all about the how what, and why of investing directly in women-owned businesses.
If you aren’t quite clear about what you truly value, a mindfulness practice can really help. Check out all of the great offerings at The Innerwork Center. Elaine Kiziah has a Drop-In Journaling Group on April 7th – writing things down is a great strategy for clarifying what matters most to you.
4. UNDERSTAND YOUR RISK TOLERANCE
This topic is a little more “propeller-head-like,” but it’s a critical one particularly if you are close to retirement or have accumulated significant wealth.
Do you remember the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009? Do you remember that the stock market, specifically the S&P 500 Index, lost nearly 57% from October 2007 – March of 2009? Ouch!
You may not realize it, but if you lose -57% of your account value, you will need to make nearly 133% just to get back to your starting value. Double ouch!
I spent a good portion of my career working in institutional money management – on Wall Street, for a hedge fund in Connecticut, and in London. The key takeaway from my experiences was “manage risk” – manage your losses.
Women tend to be smart money managers – which makes my job as a portfolio manager easier. They already understand the importance of managing risk. If you want us to help you quantify the risk you are taking in your current investments, get started by clicking here and completing a quick risk tolerance questionnaire. (There is no obligation for this risk assessment.)
5. RINSE AND REPEAT
What worked in your 30s is not necessarily going to work in your 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, check-in with yourself periodically – and your financial coach or advisor—do you still want the same things you wanted five years ago? How about six months ago? More than likely your life priorities have shifted. So should your financial plan.
Thanks for your time. If you want to learn more about our services, click here to get in touch.
If you want to jump right in, we are launching our Women, Money, and Mindfulness program in April to engage women in building their money mindset muscle.