Women and Money. It’s a complicated relationship. With a complex history.
As women, we are sold a lie – about money and about ourselves. Disney sells it to us, our parents sell it to us, society sells it to us.
The lie is that we are nothing without a man. The lie is that we need a man to “save” us, to protect us and to provide for us. And we need to stop believing it, right now.
The truth is that no one is coming to save you. Stop expecting Prince Charming to ride up on his white steed to rescue you from your life or your financial situation. It might seem like a harsh thing to say, but it’s because I believe in you and your abilities so much that I know that you don’t need Prince Charming to save you.
It’s no wonder that so many women put off taking care of their finances in the hope that a handsome rich man will come and take care of them. From the moment we are young girls we hear stories like Cinderella, Snow White or Rapunzel. All three of these examples depict single women in sad, unfortunate circumstances, being rescued by a handsome prince. Even in our modern-day rom-coms it seems that the Knight in Shining Armour archetype still exists. While he might not literally be on a white horse, he still rescues a Damsel in Distress from the horror(!) of living life alone. Bridget Jones is just one of the most obvious examples.
Now consider that historically speaking, it wasn’t that long ago that women were not legally allowed to hold property, to take out a loan or to even have a bank account without having a man as a co-signatory. It was even more recently that Australian women were not allowed to work once they became married, lest they ‘stole’ a job from a well-deserving man*. No wonder women and money aren’t exactly BFF’s!
These beliefs are so deeply ingrained that most of us aren’t even aware that we have them. Subconsciously we place our value and self-worth in our ability to catch the eye of an eligible bachelor, who we can then trust to look after us and be our financial benefactor. Society considers a woman successful once she is married and has fulfilled her biological purpose of having children.
Consider how common it is that women feel embarrassed about separating or getting divorced. Seriously! Of all the harrowing emotions that divorce could bring up, how is that even one of them? Even when the reason the relationship falls apart is due to the husband cheating or having personal issues, the woman still feels embarrassed. It makes no sense. That is unless you consider the subconscious value we place in marriage and the fear we have of being the lonely old spinster living a sad life with a herd of cats.
Writing our own Fairytale
Whether we are single, married or divorced “Happily Ever After” can exist, but it’s up to us to create it. Being able to look after yourself, both financially and emotionally is the most important thing you can ever do. Being independently wealthy and independently happy are the two best ways I know to create freedom in your life. It means that you’re not reliant to someone else to be happy and to have the kind of life you want. It’s your life and to direct it you need to be the one in control of your choices.
This doesn’t mean being the stereotypical ice queen (more on that sexist trope here) who shuts herself off from the world by creating an emotional wall around her. Rather, it means valuing yourself, respecting yourself and prioritising yourself. It also involves learning about budgeting, saving and investing for the future version of you. You have to be intentional about the life you want to live and actively take steps to create it. It also means improving your relationship with yourself, with money and developing trust within yourself and your abilities.
A Solid Foundation
Being independent is important even if being in a relationship is important to you. The best thing about being self-secure is that you’ll be truly ready when you do meet the right person. It’s heathiest to approach a relationship with an energy of wanting rather than needing someone. It also means that you won’t feel compelled to accept a relationship that is anything less than amazing.
Equally, being happy and alone shouldn’t be considered the consolation prize. More and more women are choosing the path of singledom and it’s no less worthy than being in a committed relationship. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. Your relationship status in no way needs to dictate how amazing and meaningful your life is.
Being self-sufficient doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t accept help along the way. It doesn’t mean that you can’t accept financial assistance or emotional support. You should never have to struggle through a difficult situation on your own. We humans are social creatures and some level of connection and co-regulation with others is vital to our wellbeing.
But remember – you are stronger and more capable than you think. If you’re ready to uncover the subconscious patterns that hold you back and learn the practical tools to take control of your money, book in for a free financial coaching mini session with me today.
*The Marriage Bar legislation was lifted by Prime Minister Harold Holt in 1966.