Women, it's time to have an honest relationship with your money

It doesn’t seem to matter where we are, bumping into one another at the grocery store, meeting up over lunch to catch up, or standing in each other’s kitchen’s; when my girl friends and I get together we inevitably talk about relationships. From my single friends I want to hear the updates on their dating life. From my married friends I’m listening to how life impacts that relationship and how it can endure. Without a doubt, relationships are exciting. I’ll even go out on a limb to say that it’s relationships that make the world go round. And while it’s thrilling to feel the rush of a new love, the joy of a steady friendship, or the deep comfort of a long-time connection, why is it that the idea of relating in this same way to our money makes our stomachs turn?

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While we all may have a different reason for the way we react to money, turning a blind eye, claiming we don’t understand finances or sticking our heads in the sand; none of this helps us in the short run or the long run, for that matter.

Financial Finesse, a firm researching financial trends, compiled its 2015 Gender Gap in Financial Wellness report stating: “Women have a higher risk of outliving their money due to longer life expectancies, greater healthcare costs, lower lifetime earnings, and smaller retirement plan balances compared to men.” This could be viewed as really bad news, but what it also says is there is great opportunity for us to learn and grow, to make a choice to have a real relationship with our money. For those of you who are ahead of the curve I applaud you! You are getting real and the results of that are greater financial understanding leading to greater confidence in how you save, spend and even give.

For those of you still struggling to look at your spending habits or ask a question like “how do I balance a budget?” there is hope! First off, this is not a perfect science. Similar to our personal relationships, it’s about choice and commitment. As you learn you will grow. The funny thing about learning more about your money is that this new found knowledge will raise your confidence and leave you feeling better equipped to make financial decisions. As your confidence grows so does your outlook and behavior towards money. You may be on a very restrictive budget but there is nothing better than knowing where you’re ‘at’ and what you’ve got to work with (I promise this is true, even if it doesn’t feel good at first). I’ve always struggled with the ‘just give up your latte’ approach to budgeting just as much as I don’t like ‘if you want it, get it, you deserve it’ form of money management because it feels like a gimmick or dieting, both of which I dislike. Somewhere in the middle of this is a great relationship with your money! To find that great relationship it takes entering in and participating in an active way.

Just like we’ve all heard from the flight attendant:

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If you are taking care of yourself, you are better equipped to take care of the one’s around you. That’s what I call purposeful power! One day at a time, one choice at a time.

So today, make a point to begin thinking about how you view your money; what you like about it and what you’d like to change, because it’s time and because it matters, and because you matter.

RetirementJill Novak