Feeling confident with money and having a good relationship with money is not something that has come naturally to me. I love all the beautiful things that women love to have – clothes, handbags, a beautiful home, jewellery. I am no different! I am no penny pincher here telling you to budget, stay home and never eat out (while never partaking in online shopping ever again!)
But what I have learnt in the last 12 months, as I’ve traversed the separated and now divorced path with children in tow, is how to be smarter with my money, to have greater confidence around money, to not be nervous to use money wisely.
Growing into my own financial feet has left me more confident in my own skin and in what I have to give to another.
This isn’t me giving you financial advice by any means. This is me sharing with you what has helped to educate and support me, while helping to change the way I think about and use money. Things I hadn’t been shown as a child or taught as an adult previously.
Whether you have a lot of money, some money or no money two things matter right now. One, what you think about money (the emotional aspect of your money relationship). And two what you do with your money (the practical aspect of money). Don’t dismiss the emotional aspect of your relationship as not as important- we’ve all heard of those people who win lotto and blow it in a year. Who receive some kind of windfall and spent it before you know it with nothing to show for it. They went over the top with their spending and ploughed through their $$$’ s for an emotional reason not a practical one.
Your attitude to the money you do have means everything.
Before I start can we get grateful first please? For the money you do earn every week. The earning potential that you do have right now. The house you live in. The food your money currently puts on your table overnight. The freedoms you do enjoy in your life with the money you do have. The times you enjoyed with the debt you currently owe even. Grab a piece of paper and fill it with everything you’re grateful with in this moment in regards to your money, your wealth, your living conditions and so on.
And when you’re done can you please do me the favour and read back over the list. How lucky and fortunate are you really? I bet you can think of someone struggling financially more than you right now without even trying? You’re fortunate, more than I hope you realised.
When I moved out into my own home earlier in the year I quietly freaked out. All of a sudden I was in charge of all my financial decisions- something I’d never had to do before as an adult. Every money fear and self-limiting money belief I carried without realising it rose to the surface. It came from watching my parents work hard to make ends meet as a child, watching my Mother struggle financially after her own divorce while I was a teenager, watching my Mother and her new partner have financial stability together as a couple, having very little money as a financially struggling University student and later handing over the financial reins to my then husband as I occupied myself with raising two children under two.
In my world, maybe in your own too, men had always been the major breadwinners, mostly controlled the pennies and knew more about money and what to do with it. I believed that men were better at making and handling money, that I couldn’t be financially strong and independent on my own, that I would struggle financially as a single parent and that I knew nothing about money. The only actual true statement from all of those above was that I knew very little about money.
I knew how to earn a wage and how to spend it.
That was it.
I’d had a couple of investment properties- granted. But I’d certainly never had a financial plan of my own that wasn’t attached to the bank automatically taking the money out for me when it was due to be paid.
But right now, this generation of women are the first to have full financial freedom and autonomy over their own life. We can make our own money, have our own careers, leave a relationship or stay in a relationship, we may be more financially sound while in a relationship but we can be just as financially secure on our own. It makes sense that money is not something we’re necessarily wired for as a gender- for most of us our experiences up to this point haven’t contributed to that.
In the last 12 months I have actively chosen to learn and do something about that. I chose a big why for my life (you can read more about that here) and I needed to feel financially independent and strong to meet that. I’ve chosen to get excited about my $$$, what I do with it and the life I want to create.
Emotional Aspect Of Money
If there is one thing I’ve learnt it’s that wealth is a state of mind. Getting grateful like we did above is the secret to being rich in all areas of life- including financially. You can be very happy with very little. Miserable with a lot. Ultimately, money isn’t everything but financial freedom- to have the choice to live a lifestyle based on our own values- is. None of us want money to just have money.
The essence of money is the faith that it’s acceptable to others in exchange for the things we want or need.
The truth is that if you have fear or limiting self-beliefs about your potential to handle and make money because of your past associations with $$$’s than it doesn’t matter how much money you have it will worry you to some degree. You’ll worry about losing it or never having enough of it. When we can change our perception of money for the positive then it loosens our control over our psyche.
Uncovering what we subconsciously believe about money, the stories we place around money, is powerful. It gives us the choice to be able to rewrite them. I’ve learnt to really enjoy reading a money book. I hope I can inspire you to pick up a money book and see it as a chance to learn and uncover something new that you can apply to your own financial situation.
Money A Love Story by Kate Northrup
My favourite book for highlighting and shifting your beliefs about money and spending in line with your values. You can purchase it here.
Get Rich Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
I love this book! It’s very easy to read, fun and amazing for understanding beliefs that are standing in your way. You can purchase it here.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This is a seminal book about money, the mind and your relationship to it. Everyone should read it at least once. You can purchase it here.
Practical Aspect Of Money
This is where I need to talk about budget, planning and all the things we love to avoid when it comes to $$$. It’s where many of us come to a stop because it feels uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m a huge believer in using a why like I mentioned earlier in this post to guide your decisions, including your financial ones.
Theres’s nothing more unmotivating than saving money for no special reason or working to just pay off the bills that keep rolling on in. Having a goal and a why is incredibly motivating, whether you’re saving for a home deposit, a holiday or whatever may be important to you. Ultimately I want for myself and for you the same things I want for my daughters. I want my daughters to be independent and emotionally wise individuals who are more than capable in their lives on their own. Who want a wonderful man who rocks their world because they want him in it not because they need him to fill a lack of something, financial or otherwise. Think about your own daughters (if you have any) and imagine the two different kinds of lives and partners she would create in her world in both of those scenarios. Which do you want for her? For yourself?
This is why you need a budget and from now on we’re going to call it something else- something I learnt while in Fiji. From on we’re going to call your budget your spending plan. Words are powerful and emotive and most of us love to and are more comfortable with spending over budgeting, so a spending plan sounds a lot better to me. Let’s use it!
The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape
I rave about this book and have recommended it more times to others than I have fingers (probably toes). There’s the old edition, but the new revised edition is laid out better and is much simpler to apply so buy the new edition if you can. It’s simple, back to basics, fun and easy to read for anybody. Regardless of your financial position. It made creating my own spending plan simple and helped me to give myself my own financial advice. I rate his opinions. I enjoy his newsletters (sign up here to them). He is an ordinary, everyday Aussie bloke who knows more about finance then I do and I continue to learn a lot from him.
Sugar mamma by Cass Campbell
Right around the time that my ex-husband moved into his own place I found this woman online and started listening to her weekly youtube videos. I recognised where I was at, that I’d made the decision to find myself here in this situation and that I needed to educate myself- and fast! I like her style and her ethos and again I subscribe to her weekly newsletter and youtube videos here. She talks about time in the market over timing in the market, how to start saving today (you can find that one on youtube here) or how to find an extra $1000 in a month as a personal challenge- lots of things. Cass’s advice is created with women in mind, regardless of your financial position. I enjoy her work.
Unshakeable by Tony Robbin’s
I’m a fan of Tony and his work. I love everything he does, including this book. It touches on both the emotional and practical aspects of money and attaining financial freedom. Wealth from the inside out. Because again, it’s no good having money if your personal life is confused and in disarry. If all your choices aren’t leading you to where you want to be in the long-term. That’s not true wealth. Right? You can purchase Tony’s book here.
The Barefoot Blueprint by Scott Pape
For when you’re ready. It might not be now. But in time you might like to look to start investing in some shares and looking to diversify your wealth. To compound some of your money. When you’re ready to do that then my choice is this guy again, The Barefoot Investor, and this membership program he has created here. Straightforward advice and a helpful community of like-minded down to Earth individuals, just like me (and you) who want their money to work for them more than it already does.
Who you surround yourself with and who you learn from shapes what you choose to do. If you don’t find yourself surrounded by others in your world who are good with making or investing money. Who don’t have the financial ethos that you’re aiming to have then find people who do. Go to courses, talk to people in the crowd, ask the silly questions of people around you- you never know what you’ll learn or take away from it. Be curious and be a conversationalist. I arrived in Fiji for a Tony Robbin’s course with one intention and left instead with a few names up my sleeve; everyday women like me who were ahead of me financially and have since been able to point me onto the next something else for myself. Sign up to peoples newsletters like the ones I suggested above and make it a habit to consume some financial articles every week. You might just start to love it!
A Personal Note From Me
Phew! That was a biggie and I’m kind of surprised at myself for writing it. Sometimes you don’t realise how far you’ve come in twelve months yourself until you put it down into words! A disclaimer- again this is not me giving you financial advice, I’m recommending only what has helped and supported me during a fast period of finding my own financial feet. Please also know that I am not tied to, nor do I get any financial kick backs for recommending any of the above to you. Everything I’ve listed above I’ve read or read, I’ve used or I am currently using.
My process has happened quicker than yours might but then maybe my reason to find my own financial feet was bigger than yours. I am a normal woman who, like many women, happened to find herself at the pointy financial end of a separation and marriage realising that while I might have known what money we did have, that I didn’t know the intricacies of all of our accounts, investments and other such loans. And during a time where I didn’t really rate my ex for some of the situations that were being put in front me, I had to also turn to him at the same time and ask him to please explain what all of these accounts meant and how they fitted together. In that moment I never, ever, wanted to find myself in that same kind of situation with anyone- man or woman, ever again. It was my own doing to not know my own financial situation and yet it was equally my own finances. Please know I can say all of this now because we’re mostly amicable and so I know he won’t mind! There are so many women who find themselves in a similar situation to the one I did. I write this personally for the greater good of those women so that they can enjoy their own financial freedom and independence.
I sought my own legal and financial advice several times. I chose my battles so that I could enjoy the end result I wanted, the life I wanted for myself and our girls. I’ve chosen to do my best to make very good of all the situations and choices placed in front of me- I hope you do too.