Tracey Sofra Blog

We've Come A Long Way... Or Have We?

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“Power is not given to you, you have to take it.”  
- Beyonce Knowles


When it comes to money, women have come a long way in the last fifty years … but there’s a long way to go. Ask your mother, aunt or grandmother about money in their past, and they might relate to these statements:
 
“I can’t write a cheque… take out a loan… or keep the money my dad left me.”
“I am powerless to buy, hold, or sell property, enter into contracts, or retain my own earnings.”
“My husband controls all my assets and calls all the financial shots.”

 
We’ve come a long way, and stand subservient to no one. According to the latest statistics women now:
  • Write 80% of all cheques
  • Carry 76 million credit cards
  • Own 87% of all homes
  • Generate more than $2.5 trillion in annual revenues from more than 10 million female-owned businesses
  • Inherit 70% of all estates at the average age of 56
We have money, make money, and inherit money. But, we’re still receiving the short-end of the economic stick! 
  • 47% of women over the age of 50 are single.
  • We retire with less money than men because women spend an average 15 years out of the workforce (compared to 1.6 years for men).
  • 50% of marriages end in divorce. The woman typically ends up with the children, so she now has financial responsibility for herself and the children. In the first year after a divorce, a woman’s standard of living drops an average of 73%.
  • Women live 7–10 years longer than men, and must provide for those extra years.
  • The average Baby Boomer female (born between 1948 and 1964) remains in the workforce until age 74 due to inadequate financial savings and pension coverage.
  • Of the elderly living in poverty, 3 out of 4 are women; and 80% of those women were not poor when their husbands were alive.
  • 7 out of 10 women will at some time live in poverty.
Even though we have moved from dependence to independence and real economic power, there is still a long way to go.
 
There are certainly some external influences that hold women back, but there are also many internal factors. Let’s examine the internal factors – especially the values and beliefs you have held since childhood.


Emotional Stories 

The emotional stories you have been told about money create your beliefs and values, which in turn influence your behaviour and habits.
 
Your experiences from your past influence your money decisions today. Dreams and fantasies about wanting toys, clothes, and other possessions begin in childhood and stay with us over the years.
 
As children, we have literal and symbolic dreams of getting the “treasures” we want. For many of us, those dreams endure throughout our life.
 
When spending money, managing money, or making investment decisions, you can unwittingly re-enact your childhood values without being aware of it. In fact, you might be imitating a parent’s behaviour even when you consciously dislike that behaviour.
 
When you establish a relationship with a partner that will involve joint finances, you are now dealing with the family patterns and cultures from two distinct pasts.
 
Identifying your childhood relationships to money will give you insights into your unconscious beliefs, values, patterns, and habits. You will understand what you love or hate about your financial life today, and that will allow you to let go of childhood behaviours that no longer serve you.
 
You can make choices that fully reflect your adult values rather than the needs, wants and shoulds from your childhood.
 
Do the following exercise to examine your unique money history and stories:
 
1. Identify significant childhood events around money.
 
Recall and write down the money conversations in your family – for example, pocket money and allowances, arguments around money, who made financial decisions in the family, how you were taught the value of things, when you first had money of your own, and so on.
 
2. Recall positive childhood memories about money.
 
Recall and write down your most positive and exciting childhood memories about money – for example, spending on special treats, gifts of money you received, special occasions when your family spent money, and so on.
 
3. Recall negative childhood memories about money.
 
In the same way, recall and write down your most negative or painful childhood memories about money – for example, not being able to afford things you wanted, having less money than your friends, being teased about money, your parents asking friends and family for money, and so on.

4. Look for patterns that persist in your adult life.
 
Now compare your current money patterns with some of your childhood memories. Are there things you’re doing now that – even unintentionally – mirror your money patterns from childhood? Are there some positive habits worth acknowledging and reinforcing? Are there some negative behaviours you can stop right now because they aren’t serving you?
 
This simple exercise helps you identify the significant money moments from your childhood, and how they affected your beliefs and values. Even if you can’t change anything yet, doing this exercise will increase your self-awareness and help you understand the patterns of your money behaviour.
 

Email: tracey(at)traceysofra.com.au  Phone: 0409700079


Posted by Tracey Sofra at October 14, 2016

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