Women and Money

Practicing A “Strong Ask”

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dreamstime_s_42532895“Denise, put forth a STRONG ASK,” says one of my ever so wise business mentors, Tanya Geisler, while guiding me in birthing a program near and dear to my heart. Her words of wisdom reverberate over and over, sending ripples of awareness throughout, leading me to explore more deeply what a STRONG ASK is for me.

When I ask God for a healing for myself or another, I do that with a STRONG ASK. Often on my knees, I imagine connecting directly with God energy,  plus a council consisting of the Blessed Mother, Padre Pio, Archangel Michael, Jesus, and a few others I grew up with. And when I ask them to intervene, to bless a situation, I ask with my whole heart. And this ASK is one I can feel with my whole body. It is an “ask” rooted in deep feeling from a heart request. A distinct feeling washes over me letting me know I have been heard. Yes, this is a STRONG ASK.

This gets me to wondering if a STRONG ASK, is an ask filtered through the heart, connected to Source energy? That is sounding right for me. An ask of deep desire, pure intention, sent as a request on the wings of angels.

Yes, a STRONG ASK, is void of all my mind chatter. Mind chatter left over from childhood declaring “it is a sign of weakness to ask for help,” or “if you want it done right do it yourself,” or “projecting rejection on the ask before it ever gets asked,” clog up my flow in asking. Or, a moldy belief that “women shouldn’t ask, but wait to be asked.”

Since my mentor lit up my awareness around a strong ask, I’ve been practicing. I have a true story to share with you about a strong ask related to money.

A little background to help out here. About two years ago, our beloved investment advisor retired. A new person took over the management of his firm and we had hoped it would be a good fit for us. It wasn’t a good fit. Lots of fear set in for me that my husband and I would not meet our investment goals over this important next phase of our lives.

My anxiety was growing. My inner knowing was speaking loudly to me, “this is not the right fit. you have enough evidence this isn’t the right fit. move forward.” I appreciated my decreasing capacity to stay in a situation that wasn’t right for me, for us.

I had many talks with the Universe that went “please help us find a person who can help us, a firm of smarts, creativity, similar values and please let this happen soon.”

Then this past year, I gave a talk to a group of financial advisors at their annual get together and ended up staying for the weekend with them. I really connected with one advisor and philosophy of the firm, heart to heart. Tanya imaginatively appeared on my shoulder, loudly whispering in my ear, put forth a STRONG ASK here Denise. So I did, with my full heart. I asked to become one of their clients with my whole heart.

The response back was, “I am so sorry, we take clients with portfolios of three million or higher.” While disappointed and honoring of this boundary at the same time, I asked again. This time for three best recommendations for advisors who take clients with the amount we had in our portfolio.

When I got home from this annual get together, I received an email from this advisor, that said, “I will be glad to work with you and your husband if this is still something you desire. We have like minded values and that is something I value and something that connects us in a wonderful way.”

So, here we are now, working with a firm of heart centered, value based folks with a great reputation. We feel deeply cared for. This all came about from a STRONG ASK. An “ask” that came from my heart. And, a “yes” came from this firm’s  heart.

I am learning. Practicing “asking” on the canvas of my life, with my whole heart for what I want and need. It feels cleaner, more spiritually aligned with who I really am, and I believe the curiosity in this exploration of a STRONG ASK, will open me in a new way, a more expansive way. This teaching is a blessing beyond measure. Thank you wise woman Tanya, for helping me to deepen into a STRONG ASK from my heart in all the arenas of my life.

What is a STRONG ASK for you? What arena of your life do you easily engage in a strong ask? What arena of your life is your ask a bit weaker? I would love to hear from you.

xxxx

Categories: Women and Money | 1 COMMENT

Women and Money | One of our longest most important relationships

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red nails + walletI think you would agree… even though it’s not a human relationship, the relationship between women and money is lifelong (first it buys us toys and then it buys us long term care). While we can divorce our partners, become widowed or end relationships that no longer serve us…money hangs with us through thick and thin and is a medium we engage with daily.

Like any relationship, the one between women and money, has it’s complexities. As we work through our fears, struggles and pain with money, we have the opportunity to step into a space of personal power, freedom, and security. In my own life, I’ve found working through my projections, fears and scarcity mentality about money has brought me to a space of emotional and financial freedom (regardless of the amount of money I have in my bank account).

I’m going to “think out loud” with you about WHY it is important for us women to have a healthy relationship with money. I invite you to post your “think out loud” thoughts with me here in the comments below.

We make better decisions

We make better decisions for ourselves and our family when we have our money handled. We don’t have to sacrifice our values and emotional health while staying in relationships or career situations just for the money. I think all women can relate to this…earning our worth and learning smart money management skills keeps us in a place of personal power and keeps our emotional health front and center. The bottom line is we have MORE freedom, more choice and make better decisions for ourselves and our family.

I learned first hand from my mom how important it was to be able to stand on my own two feet financially. She always told me, “you never know what life will bring your way, go to school, build a career and always bring in your own money so that if anything happens you can always stand on your own two feet.” My mom was “asked” to leave her corporate job when she was pregnant with me. She was told, “women can’t be dependable at work if they have children (it was a different time).” Over time, she became dependent on my dad’s earnings and in some way, this crimped my mom’s experience of freedom for herself and her family.

We create smoother transitions for ourselves

We open ourselves to creating smoother life transitions when we are financially smart.  Whether it’s getting married, having children, going to school, getting divorced, unexpected illness, moving through loss of a spouse or parent…all transitions require emotional energy. Personally, I find it comforting to know that I can fully direct my emotional energy to a transition rather than split my energy with financial worries. Transitions can be stressful enough without the added worry about “do I have enough money to make it through this the way I want to?”

Money in the bank gives me breathing space, time to process, play with possibilities about how I’m going to move forward in the transition presenting itself to me. I think that is one reason why I am a good saver. I save to take care of my future self because I know she has high freedom needs.

We can give more

We can give more and give longer when we first create a stable financial base for ourselves. Women are givers. We want to help our children out with school. We want to help our parents out. We like to give to causes and charities to make the world a better place. If we establish a solid financial base for ourselves, we can continue to give throughout our lives without jeapardizing our well-being over the long term. It goes back to that old airline saying, we need to put our own oxygen mask on first.

By not taking care of our own financial situation first, we make ourselves vulnerable, limit choices for our well-being in the longer term. I don’t think any of us want to create a situation where we depend on our children in our later years or county services, but this is exactly what we create when we don’t put ourselves first. I can’t emphasize strongly enough,  that caring for ourselves FIRST financially is a NEED and that comes before taking care of another’s WANTS.

Honestly, this isn’t a lesson that’s come easy to me. Just now in my 50’s, I’m learning how to “receive” and feel good about it.  I’m learning how to wisely “spend” my time, energy and money while evaluating the rate of return with each of these energies. Marie Nemeth’s book, Mastering Life’s Energies has been a Godsend for me to help me in this area.

We can be more creative

We can spend more of our brain space on higher level activities…like creativity,  our passion and soul filled next steps and manifesting dreams. When our brain space is occupied with how we are going to pay our mortgage or meet our monthly bills…our energy and brain space get taken up with these lower level survivor needs…and we have less energy and brain space to create with. It all goes back to Maslow’s heirarchy of needs…certain needs have to be met first (survival needs) before we can move up the pyramid to higher level ways of being in the world.

I remember with clarity how it felt when my husband and I were in 60K of debt, when our bills became debts, and when the tension was so thick between us “over money.” I am glad those days are gone, yet my nervous system can recall them with great clarity. This was not a time, where I had energy to dream because I was in survival mode. It took lots of work to dig ourselves out of this space and it is not one I ever want to go back to.

Think out loud with me about Women and Money, a relationship worth investing in for now and our future selves!

 

Categories: Women and Money | 11 COMMENTS

BREAKING THE SPELL OF FINANCIAL INNOCENCE

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legsFor centuries women have lived with the mythology of “being rescued.” This mythology has been part of our genetic coding and imbedded in our psyches. As little girls we read stories about Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.  We played out these fantasies with our Barbie and Ken dolls (I did. I even added in GI Joe to take care of my Barbie doll).

Generations of women fell under a spell. We believed that a prince on a white horse would take us away to a dreamy castle in the woods where we would live happily forever and ever (I love the movie “Pretty Woman!”). And, while we spent countless hours planning family vacations, baby showers, school activities and science projects for our children our prince would financially take care of us.

A recent TV commercial validates this point. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York was reading a bedtime story to a little girl. “Someday,” she says dreamily, “your knight will come on a great white stallion…and he will whisk you away to a beautiful castle and he will marry you and give you everything your heart desires, forever and ever.”

“Of course, if it doesn’t work out,” she adds briskly, “you’ll need to understand the difference between a P/E ratio and a dividend yield.”

Such was the case with Joan who is now 58 years of age.  Her husband died unexpectedly 5 years ago. He told her for the past 15 years of his life, “don’t worry, we are doing well financially and everything is taken care of.” When he died, she found out they had over $100,000 in credit card debt and he let his life insurance lapse. Her tears were laced with anger at both him and herself for trusting that “everything would be taken care of.” Joan wasn’t normally a woman who lived with her head in the sand, except when it came to money.

In Carly Fiorina’s book, Tough Choices A Memoir, she speaks about her relationship with finances in her first marriage to her husband Todd. She tells us she paid no attention to finances, she left it all up to him. When their marriage broke up, she was shocked at the state of their finances. The blinders came off, the spell broken and Carly committed she would never again allow herself to be hands off when it came to finances.

We need to “break the spell,” of financial innocence before it is broken for us with a crisis (like death of a spouse, divorce, illness, etc). One way to “break the spell,” is to  shift from financial vagueness to financial clarity in every area of your financial life (earning, savings, spending and giving).

The first time my husband and I looked at our finances straight on, I used an entire box of kleenex and left our financial counselor’s office with swollen eyes. I was angry at myself and my husband for the hole of debt we dug ourselves into. At that time I was living with blinders on in hopes that “magically,” things would just work out on their own. You know, “intuitive finance!”

Looking at our numbers grounded me in a deep way. That clarity coupled with our tenacity to overcome adversity turned our financial situation around. Did it take time? Yes, it did. Behavior changes and ways of thinking don’t change over-night. We began to learn that true financial intimacy is about transparency and the courage to look at what is. Over time, not only did the blinders come off, we showed up as equal partners in taking care of our finances! You can too!

Here are four ways you can begin “breaking the spell.”

  • Bite into the apple of innocence. Obtain your credit report. Look at and understand your score. Make sure your credit report is accurate and make corrections as needed. Share your report with your partner and have him/her share their report with you.
  • Take stock of your kingdom. Obtain reports of all your investment | savings accounts and know what the balances are in each account.
  • Slay your debt dragons. Obtain current reports of any debts you owe. Understand the interest you are paying on these debts and the balance of each debt.
  • Consult with your council of experts. Call your insurance broker | agent and have them review all of your policies with you on an annual basis. Ask questions. Make sure you understand your policies, your coverage and the cost of your premiums.
  • Get as comfortable with your financial numbers as you are with your clothing sizes (numbers are numbers!) Know your checking account balance on a daily basis. Track your expenses and income and know where your money is going.

Categories: Women and Money | 0 COMMENTS

WOMEN and MONEY: FOUR SECRETS to GREAT SEX and a BIGGER BANK ACCOUNT!

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dreamstime_s_19339597Women and Money and Sex!  What possibly can money and sex have in common? For starters, they are both “hot” topics, quite personal, can be mind-altering, more is usually better on both accounts, and either can bring couples closer together or tear them apart.

Do you realize, the same criteria we women bring to our sex life can be applied to our money life as well? You’ve probably heard of that saying, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”

Sex and Money share common rules of engagement, and when followed, can take you to new heights with your partner! Here are a few juicy, sexy, savvy, modern ways, women and money can prosper!

Don’t Share A Bed With Someone You Wouldn’t Share A Checking Account With

When it comes to sex or money, don’t you want to know about your partner’s sexual or financial health before you decide to get naked with one another and go all the way?

Going all the way can be hazardous to your health IF your partner hasn’t been totally transparent with you.

What if your partner has Hep C, HIV, HPV, or a sexually transmitted disease. Wouldn’t you want to know this ahead of time in order to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself? Of course you would.

What if your partner has gone through serial bankruptcies, has a credit score below 500, doesn’t pay bills on time, has a gambling problem, or doesn’t have good financial hygiene? Wouldn’t you want to know this before you say, “I do?”

Transparency creates intimacy and trust. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, especially when it comes to sex and money. Don’t you deserve to be with a partner who has your best interest at hand, some one who looks out for you, and shows you through words and actions their level of caring?

Choose A Partner Who Cares About Satisfying Your Needs

Good sex doesn’t happen if one partner only thinks about themselves. It can leave their partner feeling frustrated and emotionally taken advantage of.

The same is true for a partner who is not concerned with co-building assets. Honestly, why get married if you aren’t interested in creating a shared vision, mutual goals and building a foundation of wealth for your family?

There are many scenarios where couples don’t operate on a united financial front, for various reasons. This can cause lots of problems. I’ve heard many stories from women about how shocked and devastated they were when their husbands died. They thought everything was “taken care of financially,” only to find a mound of debt, lapsed life insurance policies and no money in the bank.

I have to say here that since most women outlive their male partners, it is their responsibility to know the status of all aspects of personal finances.

Sometimes, if a partner is sexually with-holding, they may also be financially with holding. It is important to be with a partner that cares about and is able to help you meet your needs and visa versa.

Doing Both Once A Week (Sex And Minding Your Money) Has Significant Benefit To Your Health, Longevity, And Happiness

Having regular sex releases a hormone called oxytocin. This is a super hormone. Release of oxytocin improves sleep, gives one that warm feeling of generosity, connection, and sex improves cardiovascular health as well. It keeps blood pumping to all areas.

Having regular and meaningful financial conversations decreases the amount of cortisol (stress hormones) running in the body and promotes relaxation and peace.

Money talks matter. They strengthen your ability to work as a team and to find solutions to your money conflicts.

Changing Positions With Your Partner Creates A New View

With sex, it’s important to be willing to change positions with your partner and try new things. Not only does variety spice up your sex life, it keeps your brain open and elastic in ways to have more fun.

As we age, our bodies go through lots of muscle and joint changes that require us to do things in a different way.

Often, savers and spenders marry. Many people marry a partner with opposite traits. It can be a fun exercise to switch roles or positions with one’s partner. For example, have the “saver” in the relationship take on the “spending role” for a weekend. Have the “spender take on the saving role” for a weekend. See what new learning comes from this. It can be eye-opening.

Now it’s your turn. What rules of engagement can you think of that can be applied to women and money and sex?

Categories: Women and Money | 4 COMMENTS