I often get asked why I left my 19-year career behind to do what I do now. The answer is complicated and multifaceted. I had a successful career in finance. I was paid very well and, from the outside, it looked like I had it all. But the truth is that I was constantly exhausted, and eventually realised that I didn’t feel content. I wasn’t happy and I wanted more from life. I wanted a life where I felt like me again, and I wanted to do something meaningful. So, I left the high paying corporate finance career that I’d worked so hard for – and entered the world of entrepreneurship.
I started by looking at what I enjoyed about my current job and what I didn’t. Then I worked on really digging into my value system and what drove me, what made me happy, and when I felt fulfilled. Combining both my values and my skill set, I arrived at the concept of finance coaching and finally found my passion.
What Is Finance Coaching?
Finance coaching is defined as providing expert advice and financial education to clients and enabling them to feel confident in their financial planning and money management.
What Is Money?
Money is energy. It’s a tool we use every day in our lives. Money often controls us when we should be the ones controlling it. Yes, it is transactional, but there is so much more to it than that. How much money we have or earn has the ability to boost or knock our confidence and belief in ourselves. How often is income directly linked to someone’s sense of self-worth? How often do you feel judged, or your value assessed, based on the assumption someone makes of how much money you earn or have?
Money and Women
When I speak to friends, family, and colleagues, I find that the vast majority of people who admit to feeling ashamed, overwhelmed, undereducated, and unskilled when it came to managing their money are women. Studies show that just 27% of women say they learned to manage money or invest in school. 47% of women feel fear, inadequacy, anxiety, and dread when the word ‘money’ is mentioned.
And sadly, 81% experienced negative stereotyping when dealing with financial advisors, banks, or other money institutions. While this equally angers and saddens me, it drove me to finally find a career that I would not only love, but also make me feel like I am contributing something positive to the world. I could help others while doing something I enjoyed and believed in!
Money and Stress
Have you ever felt lost, overwhelmed, or inadequate when it comes to money and wealth? Have you ever felt others were born with a financial playbook that you never got? I hear this regularly. People often feel shame, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy because they are not confident with money, can’t budget, have debt, or don’t know how to make an investment – but no one was born knowing how to earn and best utilise money. This is something that I, like everyone else, had to learn through experience. Very few of us are taught financial life skills in school. And if we are, it often tends to be conceptual, rarely practical, and never touches on the emotional aspects of money management.
Money and Happiness
Too much credence is given to the amount someone is perceived to earn and the level of respect that person then commands or is automatically given. Money does not make us better people. It doesn’t automatically make us happier either.
There is conflicting research that suggests more income can provide more happiness, and others that suggest the opposite. Surprisingly – or maybe not so unsurprisingly – more income also does not always equal more wealth either. I have many clients who earn what others may perceive as a small income, but are more financially secure, content, and happier than other clients who earn much more. What is the difference? There are many factors of course, but a key one is your money mindset.
Your Money Mindset Is Everything
A positive relationship with money will allow money to provide positive experiences, while a negative relationship may cause more money to actually create unhappiness and stress. How do you feel about money? When you think about it, does it provoke a feeling of anxiety or do you feel happy? Indifferent, perhaps? If you’ve never done this before, your response will tell you a lot about your unconscious money mindset.
Approaching Money Management
I believe in putting money behind our values. By doing this, we set ourselves up to live both more fulfilling and wealthier lives. Personal finance is exactly that – personal. How often do you invest, spend, save, or take on a new job based on what others tell you? I believe we live happier and wealthier lives when we let go of the ‘shoulds’ and focus on what is important to us, our values, and what we truly want to achieve in life.
It’s not always easy at the start, but it’s so freeing when we drop other’s expectations, live life, and use our money in ways that are meaningful to us. When we see money purely as an energy source that’s there only to support us to live, then the stress and anxiety often associated with money melts away. I have often witnessed clients’ wealth increasing unexpectedly when they let go of the stress and anxiety they attach to their money. Suddenly, it flows more naturally and abundantly into their lives – often in the most unexpected ways, such as repayment of old written off debts from friends, salary increases, a bonus that wasn’t expected, or unexpected reductions in living expenses.
Do You Put Your Money Behind Your Values?
How do you know if you’re putting your money behind your values? Look at your spending habits in detail. Are you proud of where your money is going each month? If someone reviewed your credit card bill and then made a judgement on the type of person you are and what is important to you based on how you spend your money, would it be accurate? Would you be proud of it? If not, why? Why are you not using your money to live the life you want, in line with your values, and what you believe in? Complete this exercise with your values in mind, and I promise there will be ‘aha’ moments that will change your money habits in a positive and easy way.
Why Is This Important?
My ambition is to help as many women as I can, not only to lead happier and more financially fulfilling lives, but also boost the positive rippling effect that it can have in our global communities. I want to empower women to use their income to boost their lives in a way that’s personal and right for them as individuals. But it’s not just about the individual.
Women live longer than men, and studies in the US show women control between 70% and 80% of consumer spending – this means that women are in control of trillions of dollars every year. Women are also proven to be more likely to use their money to support those around them. Wouldn’t it benefit everyone if the people in charge of that amount of wealth felt more confident and empowered with this money?