Let’s talk about the one relationship in your life that will last a lifetime. Not the one with your sister or your best friend or your spouse or your kids. No. I am asking about your relationship with money. Yes, money. You want more, you need more, you have plenty, you owe a lot. Whatever it is, I bet it’s complicated. And like your romantic relationship history, it is impacted by where you came from, where you are and where you are going.
But unlike your romantic history, it’s a taboo topic. And that is having a negative impact on your relationship with it. So, what can you do to improve that relationship?
The startling truth is that 80% of women don’t talk about money with family or friends. Men talk about money all the time. From a young age, they are socialized to talk about it just as intensely as women are socialized not to. When we can’t talk about it, we can’t fix it, grow it or change it. When we can’t talk about money, we can’t fully understand the importance of having control over it in our own lives. On your next girls’ night out or coffee with a friend, be bold and ask the questions: Do you think about money a lot? What role has money played in your life? What do you wish you did differently when it comes to money?
Ok, not really — but I have your attention. Let’s stop talking about skipping the $6 latte and start talking about how to earn more money so you don’t have to. Women are not only not talking about money, they are also conditioned to believe they don’t need to earn it or invest it. Shift your focus from saving money to investing. First, truly understand what investment strategies will grow the income you are making. And second, invest in yourself so that you can earn more. Invest in courses that will boost your resume, even if you feel you are on top of your game. Invest in networking groups that will open new opportunities. And invest your time in a side hustle where you can use your skillset to bring in additional streams of revenue.
The number one problem people ask me to solve is to help them get unstuck; They are stuck in debt, in a bad parenting pattern, in a relationship or a job they dislike (all with money somewhere at the root of the problem). Our immediate reaction is to feel a need to make some seismic change. But often, rather than something big, it is a tweak here or there that can really alter the force of your inertia — saying 'yes' to every invitation for a month or taking a new route to work or going for a walk in the evenings. Getting out of your normal patterns can change your mindset, help you solve problems and boost your creativity.
When I speak to rooms full of women, one of my favorite things to ask about is their relationship with money. Because when we open that well, we find that it touches upon all of our other relationships, too. “My parents were spendthrifts” or “They fought about money throughout my childhood” or “They paid for everything and never talked about money” or “My husband controls me with money” or “I am the breadwinner and it effects my sex life" are all things I've heard. When you dig into how your relationships dictate the control of money in your life, you will start to realize where your personal relationship with money needs to change so that you are in control of your finances how you need to be.
Opening up yourself to a new topic grows a friendship, helps you grow and it will impact the cultural downward spiral around women and money. So, use money to get closer to your friends and to get closer to figuring out the one relationship that is guaranteed to last a lifetime.