Money makes me happy. And we don’t talk about it enough. It’s taken me a long time to talk openly about my feelings around money, and I often still feel like it’s an icky topic. But if we don’t talk about money or the stigmas we associate it with, we will never be able to live an abundant life. When I feel like I have an abundance of money, my world view shifts away from fear and searching into a sense of security and freedom.
I grew up in a family that didn’t really talk about money. It never felt like we struggled, but it also didn’t feel like we could openly talk about finances. In a family that is open about almost too many things, we were rarely candid about money.
I know it comes from a place of fear, that my parents tried their best to shield us from the dirtiness they associated with money, but instead it created a fear in me that talking about money, and wanting to be rich was a dirty dream.
It’s not that I dream about rolling around in piles of money, the germaphobe in me just cringed, but I do want to feel secure in my own abundance. And it has been really hard for me not to obsess about every bill, count every dollar I have and budget down to the penny.
And I hate it.
I want to talk about the shame a lot of us feel about money, because I think it’s really important, especially for women, to talk about it more. We shouldn’t feel shame for wanting to be wealthy, to have freedom and peace of mind that comes with financial stability.
And we should be educated! Everything I have learned about money, credit, bank accounts, student loans and debt, has been something I’ve actively had to teach myself. That sucks! Why aren’t we talking about finances ladies??
It is fundamentally a feminist issue, because the more educated woman are about their finances, the more power they have in our world.
I’ve recently started listening to a podcast called Creatives Making Money with Jamie Jensen. The podcasts is chock full of amazing and talented women, but it also covers a lot of ground on how we can make and cultivate money as creatives while learning to take ownership of our finances as women.
In a recent episode, Jamie candidly spoke about her own struggles with money, from her upbringing to her journey into her own career. I really resonated with her thoughts, because I also grew up with parents who didn’t really talk about money, even though money was a huge struggle for my family.
The fear we are taught as children stays with us and makes it incredibly difficult to own our work and our voices, as we feel stifled by the fear that tethers us to old thinking. Choosing to learn about finances, debt and taking ownership of my own life has made me feel a lot stronger as a woman and more secure.
I want to share three things that have helped me feel less worried about money and more excited to pursue higher salaries and bigger paydays:
- Credit cards are not the enemy: A lot of money gurus will constantly preach that credit cards are the devil. I’m sorry but that is just not true. If you use a credit card responsibly, can make your minimum payments every month and don’t spend more than you can pay off, credit cards are awesome! My amazon card gives me great cash back, it’s nice to use on bigger purchases, and I’ve never had a problem paying it off. The trouble comes when your credit card spending it far outpacing your income. If you can’t pay off that bill in the next couple of months, don’t make the purchase. And NEVER cancel a credit card! Just cut that baby up and stop using it. Canceling a credit card is a huge dent to your credit score and can have some really bad ramifications.
- Take ownership of your credit score: Your credit is like a public report card that tells lenders a lot about who you are. Building a strong credit history and showing responsibility with your finances can open some serious doors for you in life. When I needed to secure a car loan last year, my credit score helped me get a great loan without needed a cosigner. For a lot of 22 year olds, purchasing a car independently might be a large task. But by carefully learning about building my credit, paying my bills on time and being responsible with making purchases on credit, helped me cultivate a score that gave me the freedom to buy a car when it came time for a new whip. I recommend downloading Credit Karma and checking in with your score frequently to make sure you’re growing a number that will help you have financial freedom and more importantly, choices!
- Talk to your partner about money: My parent’s relationship made me really wary of money in my own relationship. I often protected my finances with an iron fist. I’ve gotten angry about how my partner spends his money, been jealous of his windfalls or tried to hide my fear and distrust, all because I wasn’t confident enough to openly talk about my fear around money. Trusting your partner with money is difficult. It’s raw and vulnerable and can be really scary, but learning to talk about finances with each other is so important. As I am preparing to get married, the fear about shared finances has become a weight on my shoulders, but tackling the beast of shared finances is a lot easier when you’ve established the open communication beforehand. My biggest recommendation? Just start the conversation, odds are your partner has fear and insecurity too, and cultivating that money communication early will lead to more abundance.
What are some of your thoughts on money and finances that what advice do you have about taking ownership of our money?