One thing for sure is that we love to spend money! I’m fascinated by women who create wealth in their lives. There are tons of us out there. Yet the statistics indicate that men continue to significantly outearn women. I wrote about this In What Really Keeps Women from Pay Parity. (This article is probably my most controversial to date.) Today I’m writing about the relationship women have with money, insights I learned directly from top entrepreneurs Kendall Summerhawk and Ali Brown, my own experience and work with others.
Before you continue reading, realize that I am convinced that men and women are wired differently — and our differences are not solely the result of socialization. I’m not going to delve into this issue here, but it is an assumption for the rest of the post. If you don’t agree, you probably don’t want to read the rest of this.
The difference between male and female is easy to see in nature: think about the strutting peacock and the peafowl. Or consider the bright red male cardinal and the homely female cardinal. (She’s valued for her inner beauty.) And think about people who buy Hummers. Enough said!
So, without further ado, here are 5 Key Things to Know about Women and Money. As you can see, they’re all interrelated.
1. Accumulating wealth is usually not a top priority for women.
The truth is, we value other things more: relationships, community, nurturing, helping others and giving back. What we sometimes lose sight of is the utility of wealth. Money is a tool that can be leveraged to do wonderful things, or not. Either way, money determines largely where you live, where you go on vacation, and the kind of schooling your children experience. Ignoring money, or avoiding the issue of finances does not contribute to wealth creation.
2. Women sometimes fear having more money will change them.
The reality is, money magnifies your qualities because you simply have more options. You’ve heard that money doesn’t buy happiness; that’s because you are still you, with or without wealth. Whatever qualities describe you now, they will describe you, maybe in more vivid color, when you have access to more resources.
3. Women often have conflicting feelings about wealth.
Women, more than men, are sensitive to fairness, and being nice. A lot of times we think wealth creation comes at the expense of being kind. I have come to think that what helps me, helps those around me as well. That means creating wealth for me, helps my family and my community.
4. Women often experience guilt about money.
Ways guilt about money manifests itself include undercharging for your services (whether as an employee or business owner,) downplaying your talents, or simply not showing up. There is this fear of creating conflict, or disharmony, that makes many women accept lower salaries or fees, or even negotiate against themselves.
I know because I used to do this. It was a way of de-valuing myself and I did it under the oh-so-false impression that it would buy a lasting peace. De-valuing your service, your talent, and/or your contribution only encourages others to follow your example. If you habitually stay late at the office, your colleagues assume you’re fine with that. If you don’t value yourself enough to charge a great price, why should others?
5. Conflicting feelings about money often causes drama.
Money drama shows up in the form of bloated credit card debt, forgetting to pay bills or any other way you find to avoid facing your finances. Any money drama is the result of an inner conflict about wealth. Dealing with the problem by designing a schedule to pay down debt or setting up automatic bill payments, gives you more authority over your finances.
These are some introductory thoughts to the issue of women and wealth. There is much more beneath the surface. What do you think about women and money. What has helped you create more wealth in your life?