I’m not a fan of differentiating money lessons men and women learnt as there is no gender discrimination when it comes to being a recipient of flawed generational money stories. Those stories mostly passed along unconsciously from our parents and their parents before them and not always the most likely lessons to bring us financial peace and success.
Women, however, already on the backfoot financially due to societal constructs are further penalised by the unconscious limitations we may have learnt growing up at the financial school of mom and dad and its time we give ourselves a chance to even out the financial playing field starting with eliminating the bad money mindset lessons we learnt.
Lesson 1: Talking about money is taboo
This lesson was either passed along by the secrecy our parents had around their financial affairs or more explicitly where we may have innocently asked a question about money and been told, probably rather sternly, that its rude to ask people money questions.
This coupled with the judgements our parents may have unconsciously bequeathed us as regards their thoughts around it and the judgements we developed ourselves is a ripe ground for breeding shame around money.
And where there is shame, there is a fear around bringing money talk into the open. This has compounded decades of women being kept in the dark around all things money and contributed to the ongoing negative stories we tell ourselves about money that fan the flames of our shame.
Nothing changes though until we become brave, confront our vulnerabilities and start the money conversation.
Lesson 2: Not asking for help
This bad teaching follows closely behind not talking about money. For many of us this is both cultural and generational and turns on the vulnerability of exposing our weaknesses.
This irrational pride creates a distance between us and our ability to build our financial knowledge, understand supportive financial actions and develop sound financial habits.
While this may not have been the way of generations before us, it’s time to challenge this lesson and create a new legacy for your future generations. One where the search for financial knowledge and empowerment is encouraged.
Lesson 3: Accomplishments speak for themselves
Maybe they do, but that being said many of us wait around for the elusive financial acknowledgement for years wondering why we aren’t rewarded properly for work well done.
We may have grown up with the lesson that boastfulness is not an admirable social skill and it’s better to keep you head down and quietly do the work than bring attention to yourself and your accomplishments.
This may have made us complacent with acknowledging our own achievements and over time as they aren’t recognised by others we have accepted that they are clearly lower valued than we might have thought. This is a slow slide into the sinking sand of doubt and the belief that we are undeserving.
Unless we are willing to personally recognise all that we do, we cannot expect anyone else to do so! And it’s never too late to start. Make a list of all you have accomplished to date and let this be the start of you becoming conscious that you are capable, worthy and deserving. Keep this momentum going by maintaining a record of all your accomplishments in the workplace or if self-employed, have a practice of requesting testimonials from your clients. Seek feedback and take action on areas you can improve.
Become your own most supportive cheerleader and personal brand promoter and start to advocate for yourself by engaging with your manager, your potential clients and your existing clients and get the message out there that you ARE all that!
Lesson 4: Material possessions are measures of success
Our parents may have been taught to value having a successful career and being conventionally employed, owning their own house, filling it with beautiful things and creating the perfect picture of success.
You may have been raised to believe this was the path to follow to lead a happy life, but maybe somewhere in the back of your mind your soul is rebelling. Imagining yourself tied down to one career for your entire life, having the house and the white picket fence and drowning in possessions may not have settled well for you.
Guess what? That doesn’t make you ungrateful, lazy, unmotivated and likely to be hugely unsuccessful. How we choose to live our lives and use our money is personal to us and if for you the idea of living frugally, saving all your money and “retiring” from formal employment to travel the world and undertake less lucrative but equally rewarding initiatives makes you excited by life, do it, or alternatively if the thrill of starting a business and not following a formal education or career path is where you see yourself enjoying life, do it. Life is too short to live someone else’s vision, it’s ok to follow your own definition of a successful life and it’s never too late to do so!
While these lessons seem to have nothing to do with the actions to take around money, they in fact have everything to do with it. These limiting beliefs are keeping us mired in shame and restrictive dogma which is holding us back from the heights of potential personal and financial success that are abundantly available to us.