Why is it so hard for women to talk about money?
It's a struggle that I've felt personally and am trying to think of ways to NOT pass that on to my daughters (I'm attempting now to talk to my 5 year old about money, so we'll see how that goes!) But I wanted to bring some attention to the topic in an attempt to dive deeper into the mindset struggles I notice women around me deal with when it comes to money and asking what they deserve.
The Financial Mindset Struggles we Need to Change
3 Tips on Asking for What You Deserve
So you recognize this discomfort that you have: great, now let's do something to change it. Here are three things you can do right now to make improvements in your money mindset.
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I have been thinking a lot today about "The Great Resignation" and what that means especially for women. I feel like every day I see someone else on LinkedIn saying how they are excited to announce their new role. When experiencing "stuck" energy at the workplace, I can see the appeal of walking away. Especially in toxic environments, leaving what no longer serves you can be a huge step towards improving your mental health. You feel like this step puts you firmly in control of your reality.
Should You Stay or Should You Go?
This is a tough one, and no one can make that decision for you. I have heard many colleagues over my 11+ years across multiple startups and industries talking about this difficult choice. Stay where the challenges are familiar, or start someplace new where the challenges are unknown. Wherever you are employed, there will be challenges, something that I think is easy to lose sight of in a moment of frustration.
But I truly believe that in this job market, there is hope. Companies are more willing to make accommodations for working women and especially mothers. If you are considering making the leap, it is my hope that not only do you do some soul-searching on where it is you truly want to be, but make sure you are asking-really, demanding-what you are worth:
Your Personal Reckoning: How You Want to Be Seen vs. Seeing Yourself
I think what this really boils down to for many of us is self-realization and understanding. Being honest with yourself and transparent with what you want out of a role, out of your job, and how you want to manage that against your family life is important here. For me, the narrative of ambition did change when I became a mother: and with this phase in my life, I know it's temporary and I had to forgive myself for easing up. There's more to life than work, as you'll probably realize (perhaps too late) on your deathbed. Your family can't replace its time with you, but you can be replaced by your company.
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I don't know about you, but my lesson(s) in financial literacy came about when I was staring down about $100k in student loan debt after college graduation. Sure I understood the concept of money, saving it, and had a rough idea about budgeting: but no one really sat me down to take me through it.
I made a deliberate decision to teach my kids about money. With my oldest just turning 5, I started looking into ways we could start having age-appropriate conversations about it.
Here's what I have so far, and some things I'm going to be trying out this year. And if you have a daughter and are set on empowering the next generation of women (aka, your daughters) with financial literacy, save this list!
1. Reimagine the piggy bank. My daughter is already obsessed with coins, and she likes putting them into a little ceramic swan bank. This Christmas, one of my gifts was a cool coin-sorting gadget that helps you organize your coins and wrap them. Not only is this fun + cool to watch, but she will start to learn about the different coins and is old enough to help me wrap and sort them - which brings us to our next point.
2. Field trips. My husband already brings our daughter on errands to the grocery store or Home Depot, and while we can talk about money there, ("we need to pay for this with money,") we can also take a fun trip to the bank with the newly rolled coins that she can exchange for dollars, or put into her savings account. We can talk about what we are doing with the bank teller, she can hand over her money and see how her coins could be made into something bigger that she could buy something with on our next run to the store.
3. Start with an allowance. She has started wanting to help out around the house, especially with her little sister. While my ultimate goal is to get her to pick up after herself (!) we have already started with setting the table, emptying the dishwasher and putting dishes away, and even helping her sister in the bath. This year, I'm going to start giving an allowance for easy things she can do around the house - likely in coins too.
4. Using their own money. It's so tempting (and fun!) to just buy them everything they want, or didn't even know that they wanted for holidays and birthdays. But as they are growing their money and start asking for toys that they want, it's a great learning opportunity to bring them to the toy store (have them bring their money) and pick something out to buy, or that they want and can't afford yet. You can then explain how they can earn more money, or offer to buy the basic level while they earn the difference for the most complex.
5. Watch Mama work. One of the things I'm constantly doing and saying is that Mama needs to go to work today, Mama works to make money, Mama is going to work at the office on the train, etc. She also sees me working on my computer if she's home sick - and one day I hope to bring her to my office so she can see Mama in action. I want her to understand that I am working and contributing to making the money we need to live in our home, buy our food and clothes. I also manage our household budget and pay our bills, which I'll share with her when the time comes.
Do you have any tips for raising your daughters to be comfortable talking about money? Please let me know!
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