Heeding the hard-wiring
Women want to save the world, or at the very least their friends and family. We can also be quite shy in asking for what we want. These are just a couple of the hard-wiring differences between the genders that are increasingly recognised as potential barr
While we can't change our hard-wiring (and why would we want to!), we can learn to recognise how it might be making it difficult to make the most of our money, and ultimately building the life we want. Here are a few of the things we often see, and how to get out of the cycle.
Learn to say no Ms Saviour
Whether it’s friends, a partner or kids, women are often generous to a fault: willing to support others even when they can’t afford it. In a nutshell, we often find it difficult to sympathise with people we care about without providing a solution. Take Simone for example:
“I have a friend who is often in a tough spot. She’s raised three kids by herself, is self-employed and is a great friend so naturally I have a lot of respect for her and want to help out when she needs. So every few months I pay a bill or something. Problem is that the last time I said yes, it meant I had to organise a short-term overdraft to cover my own expenses. I really want to help and feel awful that I have decided I need to stop for my own sake.”
It’s a tough one. Every instinct is saying that the right thing to do is to help. But it’s times like these that we have ignore the hard-wiring and do what’s best for No.1.
Give yourself some hard facts to resist the urge to help – if you have a clear budget, short and long term goals and can see the impact of putting others’ needs before yours, it's a lot easier to make a decision that won’t sabotage your own future. And when in doubt, think about the safety briefing given before a plane takes off – Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.
Busyness – it’s not the same as procrastination
Okay, we’re busy and pretty good at giving time freely – whether it’s caring for the family or friends, making inroads at work or other time guzzlers. But this constant busyness can also be a cover up for extreme procrastination.
Generally, women aren’t nearly as focussed on their money as men – whether it’s because we're less inclined to take the time to work out to sit down and plan what we want; or whether it’s because we are more comfortable helping others than focussing on No.1. Take Lisa for example:
“It’s November – and I just can’t believe it! I was supposed to have some money saved for a deposit on a house by now, but every time I planned to sit down and work out how I was going to get there, something else came up –and if I am really honest, I kind of looked for things to come up to distract me. So that’s about 36 weeks that I have missed out on…”
We only have time when we make it. For Lisa, a couple of hours planning back in March would have saved her 36 weeks of lost opportunity. If you’re struggling to make time for you and your money, just think about the number of weeks and the amount of savings you will miss out on without a bit planning now.
You can’t beat a blue sky
One of the key differences between men and women is how much we ask for. The obvious one is our reluctance to ask for a pay rise, a bonus, a promotion etc in the workforce. It’s one of the hard-wiring differences between the genders – women on the whole are much less likely to think that they deserve something more.
The same goes for your financial future. Don’t talk yourself out of what you are worth. Imagine a blue skies picture of what you want out of life and don’t question whether you deserve it. You do. Reaching goals is a lot easier if every time you picture yourself there, you get excited and a surge of motivation.
Women are smart but often a lack of confidence about money hinders someone who could otherwise be a very savvy financial manager.
It’s a natural tendency we see in many women – that nagging voice in the head second guessing and questioning whether we’ve got it right.
When it comes to money this often means we do nothing; put it in the too hard basket until that other very rare moment of time comes around when we take the time to plan our financial future.
One tool that will to rid you of that unhelpful nagging voice is knowledge. Knowledge brings confidence and action. Read up, talk to experts, ask friends and when you feel you’ve done enough research, tell that voice to take a hike and trust in yourself.
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