Nice girls don’t get rich

October 4, 2005

Nice girls don’t get rich

Women and money. What a complex relationship. We bemoan the fact that we don?t have enough of it. We don?t save as much as we know we should. And we too often rely on others to manage it for us. Despite the fact that in childhood most of us get all the right messages about the importance of being financially independent, we do all the wrong things when it comes to accumulating the amount of wealth we need to be truly financially independent. Why? Because throughout our lives we?re given multiple, often conflicting, messages. On the one hand, we?re taught about the value of money and the need to spend and save it wisely. On the other, we?re implicitly or explicitly taught that it?s equally important to be kind, nurturing and collaborative; that our real roles revolve around money and more relationships.

This double bind causes little girls to limit their interest in acquiring wealth and ultimately their capacity to acquire it. They don?t aspire to get rich, they can?t see themselves as rich, or they reduce their opportunities to get rich. As a result, they frequently lack the skills needed to create wealth. Getting rich requires you to do two things: financial planning and financial thinking. If you?re like most women, you don?t ?think? rich ? and if you don?t think rich, you certainly don?t consciously engage in behaviours that will contribute to getting rich. The point at which you call yourself rich is determined by your values, your lifestyle and your risk tolerance. It?s not determined by someone else?s definition, needs, or expectations of you. Being rich is about having the ability to live your life abundantly ? however you define abundance.

Mistake #1 – Striving for Survival, Not Wealth
Many women are justifiably proud for having survived on their earnings, but they haven?t really focused on how to thrive. They may have what they need but not what they want. Messages such as ?Don?t be greedy? or ?Learn to be happy with what you have? are forms of interference that preclude you from looking beyond the present to a financially rewarding future. Accumulating wealth – no matter how much ? requires first having a crystal clear mind?s-eye picture of being surrounded with money.

Allison is an example of a woman who moved from living what she described as a minimalist life to one of fulfilment. Three years ago she was earning an annual salary of $60,000 at her job as a social worker, contributed about $5,400 a year to her superannuation plan, and was content but not satisfied. She had everything she needed, but not what she most wanted: to travel the world. When she and I first met more than five years ago, she talked about her dreams as if they were just that: dreams. Nothing she ever really hoped to attain, I suggested she start visioning what she would like her life to look like ? without limitations. At first it was hard for her to get beyond the inner voice that told her she couldn?t possibly do what she wanted and still survive, but she kept working at it. She pictured herself with a private practice of psychotherapy, enough money and time to travel to places she?d always wanted to see, and the opportunity to explore a more spiritual life. She spent time speaking to women who had successfully moved from surviving to thriving, and she learned from their stories.

Nice girls don’t get rich con’t

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