Women and Money – Breaking the Stereotype

Guest post by Claudia DoRego, Planswell

Women and money have a curious history. For some, the topic is merely uncomfortable. For others, it’s strictly off-limits. While the reasons for this may be debatable, what’s clear is that financial literacy is equally important for everyone.

We sat down with three amazing women to chat about the importance of money, and the daily role it plays in their lives.

Leisse Wilcox is a writer, influencer and success coach who works with women to help them get confident with who they really are. Belinda Aramide is a Digital Account Executive & Sales Video Training Expert who has a passion for her work, and surrounding herself with people who regularly push her out of her comfort zone. Ashley Fulton is the Director of Good Vibes at Make Lemonade, a coworking space for women entrepreneurs in downtown Toronto.

Here’s what they had to say:

What money lessons did you learn from your parents?

Leisse: “Unintentionally, I think I learned to associate money with shame; my parents were self-made and worked REALLY hard to get there, without any help. So although we had money growing up, we didn’t make a habit of showing it. I drew the parallel that “it’s not good to have money, because many don’t; so if you have it, hide it.”

Belinda: “None, if I’m being completely honest.  Throughout my late teens to early 20’s I really realized how important it is to have the foundation, to avoid those pitfalls. That’s the number one thing I’m determined to teach my children about. I’m teaching my daughter what I wish I knew, so when she starts saving she’ll be prepared.”

Ashley: “My parents always spoke about the importance of investing. I knew they invested quite a bit. I understood the importance of working hard in order to buy the things I wanted. I saw the correlation of working hard and the money that comes from it.”

 

How did you feel about money as a child, teenager, and young adult?

Leisse: “I’ve been working since I was 12, often with two jobs at a time. Because of that, I always had a ton of financial freedom and disposable income. These experiences absolutely shaped my own work ethic, and I learned to rely on me and only me to get what I wanted.”

Belinda: “As a child, I saw money as a means to an end. I want something, I need the money, let’s go get it. As I went into adolescence, I started to understand that you had to work for the money, and there are limitations to it. It set the tone on how I could acquire money, and I saw it as something that was attainable but only to a point. As I was a young adult stumbling through, I realized money is what you make of it. It’s important to be very aware of where it’s going, and making short term decisions that you won’t later regret.

Ashley: “As a child I was weirdly obsessive with saving all of my money. I babysat and did odd jobs, while making sure to keep every dollar. I was always very interested in investing, in what you can do more with your money.”

 

What is your attitude toward money today?

Leisse: “It’s so much healthier now. So much of my self-worth (or lack thereof) was directly tied to a financial value.  My attitude towards money is that there is always enough, and there is always more. I think there is a money mentality to adopt, and part of that is appreciating how connected everything is, and how everything holds value for someone. I think that requires a lot of trust, and a lot of confidence. I have seen over and over in my life that it’s all parts of a whole, and when we want to feel well as a whole, that has to give money and our financial health a seat at the table. It’s a work in progress, for all of us.”

Belinda: “I think that money is incredibly empowering. It means freedom of choice. Having lived my 20s very broke, and to now where I have financial stability, it represents that freedom and being able to choose what I do, and how I want to do it. I’m quicker to see those financial decisions.”

Ashley: “I see the correlation between money and a comfortable life. It isn’t intimidating, but it is something that you need. My attitude now is to look into your savings, and your investments. Staying educated. You can’t really wait till you’re older to get your finances in order. Being educated now is really going to help me in the future.

 

How do you feel when you hear the word money?

Leisse: “Grounded and grateful. Safe and protected.”

Belinda: “I want more, as an immediate reaction. It’s a necessary part of life. If it wasn’t money, it would be something else. It’s a means of trading something of value for a service or good.”

Ashley: “I don’t really have a ton of connotations around the word money. I think of it as a tool that can help you live a comfortable life.”

 

Why is it important for women to learn about money?

Leisse: “Having money is having freedom. It’s having the ability to think about saying yes or no, and acting in accordance to what feels right. You need to be educated financially because in doing so, you are creating that freedom for yourself; no one else is coming to save you – you have to be able to care for yourself and your life in a way that feels right to you, and not out of survival mode.”

Belinda: “In life there are things you can and cannot control. Educating yourself on money is important because it’s one of those things you want as much control over as you possibly can. It can affect your relationships, your quality of life, and so much more, so you have to ask the tough questions, and not live your life in the clouds. There are things that happen that are out of your control, and the best way to prepare for those things is to be aware of your money.

Ashley: “To be educated on money can allow for so much growth for women. There’s a bigger story for education on financial situations, as it leads to independence and having control of your own finances. It’s also incredibly important to not be scared or intimidated of money.”

 

What would tell your 20-year-old self about money?

Leisse: “What I would tell her is that she’s worth so much more than she knows, and that she is the first person who needs to realize that, before anyone else can.”

Belinda: “Surround yourself with people that know more about money than you do. Money can be empowering, but it can be a very negative experience. I wish that I surrounded myself with people and financial advisors that knew better than I did. I could have sought it out earlier than I did.”

Ashley: “Not to be intimidated. You have the ability to be just as financially savvy as anyone else.”

 

What are the biggest money challenges facing women?

Leisse: “I know from my clients (and friends) that it’s almost cultural for women: if you have the audacity to ask for more, you will be seen as less than, and if you ask for more as a man, you will be applauded for your gusto. No, this isn’t true for all women, or for all men; but it sure resonates as truth for a lot.”

Belinda: “Fight for a higher salary than you think you’re going to get. Men outearn women because we don’t ask the way men do.”

Ashley: “I’d say the stereotypes. Limited resources. Negativity, and the feelings around money that many women do have. Plus feeling the need to be dependent on others.

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