- WealthEsteem by Grinnell Capital, LLC
- Wealth Works 4 Women
Wealth Works 4 Women
changing the way the wealth industry works for women
Alleviating the Money-Stress-Fest
Money is one of the biggest sources of stress for most people, women especially. In fact, Ellevest has created its own women’s financial health index (EWFHI) to monitor and try to improve this stress level. Hallelujah! The Ellevest team found in a recent study that the EWFHI score is at a 5-year low. Buzz kill! In fact, their research showed that money is women’s #1 source of stress and 59% of women worry about money at least once a week. A higher salary does not necessarily mean less financial stress (in this study high meant >$250K) and 75% of those earners don’t feel in control of their finances. Why?
Why is money such a source of stress for us, even the boss-babe high-income earners? And more importantly, what can we do to alleviate that stress? As research would have it, we tend to focus more on the day-to-day whereas men focus on the longer term. Focusing on the day-to-day puts finances under a microscope EVERY.SINGLE.DAY (we need relief, sista). Money is always front of our minds. Whereas the men in our life, with a long-term perspective, allow more room for error since the down years can be diluted by the up years, it feels a bit less do or die EVERY.DAMN.DAY. Time allows for more wiggle room and more peace of mind, hence the golf trips, football-watching marathons, and “can you just chill out” commentary.
Not backing this with any research, but I think we have more social pressures tied to money. This is my own opinion and it is backed by observing friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and looking in the mirror, women put much more pressure on themselves to look, live, and be a certain way much of which revolves around, involves, or costs money. Kardashian fan anyone? I’m more of a Hailey Belieber myself.
Our role as the (diaper changing, carpool driving, what’s for dinner, this poor pup needs a walk today) nurturer and care-provider puts the costs and the (dare I say) burden of the living creatures under our roof, in our realm of responsibility. I speak for my own family here, but when it comes to sports sign-ups, summer camp, daycare, lost library book fees, diapers, even the 13-year-old wanting to hit TopGolf with his friends after school, the financial considerations & the $20 dollar bills fall on me.
There's more but I think we’ve successfully diagnosed the fact that the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and we all know stress is no bueno for our general health & well-being, so how do we alleviate the ever-present-not-so-fun-money-stress-fest?
Focus on what is going well
Even if this means the tiniest inkling of what is going well. You paid your credit card on time. Your car is paid off. Your kid returned the library book on time. You negotiated your Tmobile bill. You spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express ;) Feeling joy, pride, and accomplishment all are endorphin promoters. Let's promote some endorphins when it comes to our money!
Take a big picture look at the day-to-day
Spend time evaluating new or bigger expenses that don’t typically occur rather than agonizing over every penny spent. If your son played lacrosse last year & the $500 sign-up fee rolls around, don’t sweat it, you paid it last year and it all turned out OK, you can pay it again this year. Spend your energy figuring out expenses that are out of the ordinary & where those funds need to come from. Similarly, spend your time (first) celebrating and (then) allocating income that is out of the ordinary. Your bonus was bigger than expected, you got a raise, your baby is out of diapers! Rather than it going back into the regular pot which will get spent (TopGolf? New Lacrosse pads? you get my gist), take time to find a special place for it.
Find Ways to Make Money Fun
Make positive connections between money & fun rather than negative connections between money & stress. If you spent a bunch of money on that trip to Hawaii, focus on the experiences, the time with loved ones, the fun you had, the killer suntan, rather than the impact to the bottom line.
Where Thoughts Go Energy Flows
If you are always worried about money, money will always be a worry. If you can focus on the bigger picture even within the day-to-day and make positive associations, those positive associations will become your reality.
Get Professionals You Trust Working For You
Women tend to want to know everything about something before they are comfortable pulling the trigger. Well, let me tell you after 2 years working in the finance business I’m not sure it’s possible to know everything about finance, investing, and money. So maybe we should drop that expectation & not even try. There are incredible experts that do know a lot about various facets of finance, investing, and money and they each have their own specific expertise, none of them know it all. Spend your time working with experts rather than trying to learn it all yourself. This is a much better plan than just avoiding it all together.
My last suggestion and it pertains to hiring professionals to help you, don’t wait until you have to solicit expert help to solicit expert help. If I had a dollar for every story I heard about the divorced woman, the widowed woman, the inheritance, the woman who didn’t have 2 pennies until her company went public all needing help STAT. And guess what, while plenty of help wants you at that stage, you may not want that type of help (picture vultures, hyenas, flesh-eating insects). So do it now. Join your partner in the financial planning discussions even if it means beer & golf. Or grab your own financial planner if beer & golf ain't your thing. You can have more than 1 financial planner per family, in fact, I recommend it. If you are the financial planner in your family DIYing your finances, consider finding an expert to take a look and make suggestions. It doesn’t mean you have to pull the trigger on their suggestions, it simply means two or more brains are better than one when it comes to doing the best thing with your money.
Before I hug you & bid you adieu I wanted you to know that I left a 17-year career in healthcare and started an asset management company with my husband who has been a long-time portfolio manager & asset allocation strategist on Wall Street. A lot of my musings come from my observations on the ways in which the wealth industry grossly underserves women's needs, it was built by men for men after all. And so I am committed to changing the way the wealth industry works for women. I believe the industry needs to change, not us, we are perfect just the way we are.
As a firm, we spend a lot of time working with financial planners who utilize our investment models, attend a lot of conferences, and engage as much as we can with industry professionals. My unfiltered, honest, and politically correct impression is no wonder women are repelled by the financial services industry. There are those diamonds in the rough, however, and diamonds are a girl's best friend. Now, I wish I were one of those diamonds who could help you, but I don't have the training or skills, nor is that my firm's core competency (we are investors not planners, and they are different). So, if you need a little extra help finding someone you can trust, who knows exactly how to address the concerns, the considerations, and the weight of the world that we carry as women, express your interest HERE! I’ll help you find those experts, lickity split, at no cost to you because I want nothing more than to help alleviate the money-stress-fest so you can live the joyride you deserve.