by Suzanne Lundeen Abrams | Featured Contributor
I suggest women reverse the golden rule and treat themselves as well as they treat others.” -Gloria Steinem
Entrepreneurs give everything to their business: Customers come first! This way of thinking comes easy to an entrepreneur. In everyday life, women often prioritize the needs of others and in so doing, postpone or neglect critical self-care. Taking care of ourselves as women, is important but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally.
As women business owners, we need to schedule it in or it doesn’t happen, right?
Scheduling “Me Time”
When we think of self-care we tend to think of stress relief: bubble baths, mani-pedi’s or gab-fests with our girlfriends. Personally, I love a little retail therapy, although paying the bills a couple weeks later can create a vicious cycle. Many of our go-to self-care approaches cost money.
Does thinking about finances stress you out? I think we all carry some anxiety about money which can backfire when what we need is a little self-care to undo all the other stress of giving and caring for others first.
Life is expensive and it gets more complicated when you’re running a business and the number of people counting on you increases – employees, customers, family members, etc.
Taking time out of life to decompress is important. Did you ever consider the fact that financial planning can be a great stress reliever, too? When you take time to plan for the future and get your ducks in a row, financially, you’re actually taking care of your future-self.
So schedule time to sit with yourself and think about your financial life. Reflect on where you are now and imagine how you’d like things to be in 5, 10, or even 20 years down the road. We need to carve out time in our busy lives to think about what we’re actually trying to accomplish.
Bring a pen and paper because someone has to keep notes for the meeting.
Honing Your Financial Physique
Establishing specific goals allows you to focus on what is most important and helps you avoid distractions that can sidetrack your good intentions. Every time we spend money we should ask ourselves, does this align with my financial goals or is it diminishing my capacity to fund my goal?
We live in a world where instant gratification is not only common, it is expected! Resisting impulsive consumerism takes self-discipline and focus. Budgeting is difficult. It means saying no to things we may want now so we can have more of what we really want later.
The discipline needed for physical health and wellness is similar to financial fitness and I believe women deserve a ton more support in the financial realm. Here in the U.S., it seems the size of our booty is far more important than the shape of our financial lives. Women are bombarded with messages that teach us from an early age that our physical beauty is our most valuable asset.
We may, indeed, be total knockouts – but even Helen of Troy’s beauty could not rival one of our most powerful tools as women: our wealth.
You may not feel wealthy but let me assure you, your wallet or purse – be it Coach or Mossimo – goes everywhere you go and how you use it matters.
In the U.S., women hold nearly 40% of the nation’s investable assets: $11.2 trillion.
Globally, women hold 27% of the world’s wealth: $20 trillion.
We have some weight to throw around, right?! Well, hold up…
Women face unique financial challenges which makes managing our money effectively that much more important.
Top 5 Factors that Hold Women Back Financially
- Wage Gap: Women make less than men. Depending on the study you choose, the stats show women make 77-81% of comparable men’s earnings. For black women, it’s even worse: they only earn 67% of white non-Hispanic men’s wages.
- Long Lives: We live longer than men so we need more money in retirement.
- Caregivers: We are the caregivers for the world and much of that work is uncompensated.
- Easily Victimized: The financial industry is confusing to navigate and it’s easy to be misled or unwittingly victimized.
- Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Women take fewer risks and hold back from investing which stalls out the growth of our assets.
Many of these factors seem largely out of our personal control because they’re deeply embedded in our culture so we can either make lemonade with the lemons we’ve been served or work on changing the culture. It’s not all sour lemons, though.
Living longer sounds like a very good thing to me!
Live Long and Prosper
The Gloria Steinem quote above that inspired me to write this post is from Jean Chatzky’s recent #HerMoney podcast. Jean asks Gloria about her plan to live to 100 (or 110) and Gloria’s quip back to Jean was priceless, “I have to, just to meet my current deadlines.” Spoken like a total GirlBoss. When we set our minds to achieving something, nothing can stop us.
Whether you live until 80, 90, or 110, the cost of living and care you’ll likely need will be inflating from now until then. Stashing away more money now and investing for the future of your dreams is simply good self-care.
Reverse the golden rule in your financial life and commit to treating your future-self the way you’d really like to be treated.
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC,
Suzanne Abrams, Registered Representative. Advisory services offered through United Advisors, LLC,
a SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm, Suzanne Abrams, Investment Advisor Representative.
United Advisors, LLC, Lundeen Abrams Advisors and Securities America are unaffiliated.
*The opinions and forecasts expressed in this piece are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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