Are You The Master or Slave to Your Finances?

Managing Finances
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Written by Faith Saunders

Finances is one topic that many of people, especially women, shy away from speaking about. For some reason, it makes us very uncomfortable.

“…  while women have established and expanded their roles and relationships, when it comes to navigating the financial ramifications of this new world, they are using old maps that don’t get them where they really want or need to go.”  Suze Oman  (Book:  Women and Money)

Finances is one topic that many of people, especially women, shy away from speaking about.  For some reason, it makes us very uncomfortable, so many of us:

  • Ignore it
  • Defer anything and everything  to do with finances to our significant other
  • Only pay attention to it  occasionally when we are forced to (like when the collection agency calls).

Am I missing anything? Well, of course,  there are some women who are very good with their finances so kudos to you. Of course, we would love to hear from you –  any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Managing FinancesAs  Suze Orman mentioned above, we have come a long way as it relates to our earning power despite the fact that we  are still  lagging behind our male counterparts  earning 77 cents for every dollar earned by men  (2012 Institute for Women’s Policy Research study).  The sad truth is that many women have not caught up as it relates to how they  relate  to their finances. I recently had the opportunity to  interview Helen Hogan, a Financial Planner from Sunset Financial Services on the **Discover A  New Future TV Show.  The focus of the  interview was Are you The Master of Your Finances or  A Slave To  It?  It was very enlightening because I learned a thing or two. For instance, women are behind  the eight ball because we  predominantly are caretakers and are out of the workforce more than men are. We are the ones who take off for child birth, child care, and elder care. In addition,  women live longer than men and are the majority of residents in nursing homes.   Hence, we have to think carefully about  what we will do when we get older or get ill and need help dressing or bathing. During the interview Helen answered the following questions.

  1. Why do many women shy away from taking responsibility of their finances?
  2. What are some of the  unique  financial challenges that women face that men don’t have to face?  
  3. What are some of the benefits of owning your financial power?
  4. What are some of the things that women can do to start the process of   mastering their finances?

Interview with Helen Hogan: Be The Master of Your Finances NOT A Slave To It **[Airs Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 7:00 p.m.  on Comcast 30, FIOs channel 45 or]  

What Are You Doing with Your Hard Earned DOLLARS? Many years ago, I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Show and the topic was finances.    One of  the tips that they shared as regards to  getting a handle  on your spending  was to write down everything you spend daily  for a month. I took up the challenge and it was an eye opener. I am not a big spender but even then I was astounded by the amount of money I spent and on what. It did this for 3 months.

I have used this activity in my coaching practice with many clients and the response has always been an eye opener for all. In fact, a few people were resistant at first to do it. After speaking with them, I found that they were scared to get confirmation for  what they already knew –  THEY WERE LIVING BEYOND THEIR MEANS. LESSONS LEARNED

  • Little things do add up!  $10 per day, 5 times per week  for lunch does add up.  That is $2600 per year!  
  • I was less anxious after I faced my  financial fears.    I felted more empowered because I was able  to make more informed choices.  
  • It’s not about how much you earn but how much you save!  This I learned from a dear friend over 30 years ago when I first came to the US from Jamaica. She did not earn a lot of money based upon many of our standards but she paid herself first by saving each pay check. Her other motto was, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This one I know works for sure.

So, are you the MASTER of your finances or a SLAVE to it?  Only you can answer this question!

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I have accepted that becoming financially ‘healthy’ is both a mental  AND physical endeavor. I have never been a materialistic person and for most of my adult life have been a saver but I did this to a fault. For instance, I would wear my shoes until they were about to fall apart before I purchased another.  Years ago, I realized that I was not happy. I saved but  I was not living my life.  I felt deprived.

First, I had to identify what was at the root of this. It did not take me long to figure out. Next, I had to give myself permission to start taking care of myself because I AM WORTH IT! It’s important to ‘pay oneself first but equally important to enjoy ones life.’

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate that I am not a person who try to keep up with the Jones. I am happy for others for what they have but I am not a person who feels that I have to have it too.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

One of the most rewarding achievements in my life is my kids. They are both young adults and very financially responsible.  

Now that my children are almost on their own, I would like to start doing some of the things that I was not able to do before like travel to Europe.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

I over think things!

How often do you take the time out during the day to verbalize what you love about yourself? Do you experience more negative self talk than positive self-talk?

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my LIFE!

Until next time…    THINK POSITIVELY!

About the author

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Faith Saunders

Faith has a Master’s Degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from UMDNJ and have over 18 years experience working in various capacities – training, coaching, project development, etc. – with many groups, including women in recovery, teenage mothers, youths and adults with emotional challenges.

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