Here is what every EFBA needs to know. (EFBA=epic fucking badass)
#1 Everything Suze Orman says.
Lordy. This secret wisdom (hidden sneakily away in libraries everywhere) could have saved me immense amounts of money and heartache in my 20s. Her book Women and Money is an essential primer; it’s required reading for EFBAs, right up there with Cosmopolitan. JUST KIDDING about the Cosmo. Obviously we only read quality reads like People.
Understanding debt and interest and compound interest and your credit score are sort of like understanding how to read and write. They are key to every strategic financial decision you will ever make. I also think, and Suze agrees, that every woman should have some of her own money in her own name. It’s our job as empowered women to make ourselves financially literate and take ownership of our own financial trajectory. No spouse, partner, parent, HR department, or financial advisor should ever be handed responsibility for this fantastically important part of your life.
#2 Once you’ve got the basics down, then you need permission to sometimes ignore everything Suze Orman says.
Listen carefully, sweet cheeks– this is not so that you can spend yourself into debt; it’s not so that you can stop saving; it’s not so you can buy shoes instead of stocks. It’s so that you can take calculated, savvy, epic fucking badass risks in pursuit of your dreams. This is particularly true if you run your own business, because Suze’s advice (while wonderful) is all based on the assumption that your earning potential cannot be radically altered. If you’re on a steady salary, prudent saving should always trump risk– even strategic risk. But darlings, that just won’t fly if you’re an entrepreneur. There will be times when you NEED to take bold, calculated risks and leave it all out on the table with the real possibility that you’ll have to start from zero again. There will be times when that’s the smartest, wisest thing you can possibly do. And the most fun– whee!
But you have to KNOW the money rules before you break them.
#3 What true wealth looks and feel like to YOU.
Understanding your own true currency is so important that I wrote a whole post about it. My truest currency is beauty. Yours might be freedom. Security. Adventure. Fun. Comfort. It is your job to figure out what is most important to you. It’s likely not the same as anyone else’s, and that is perfectly perfect. When you declare dominion over your life by investing your time and money according to your truest values, you will find that you are gorgeously rrrrrich no matter how much money you have in your bank account. I mean this literally: even when I was broke, a $2 rose made me feel wealthy and grateful.
Here’s a down-and-dirty way to identify your own true currency: if you were given $50,000 right now, what would you do with it? What gives you a deep tickle down in your insides? Some people will want to blow it on one single adventure; others would put it directly toward their dream home downpayment; others can think of nothing more deliciously decadent than socking it away all nice and safe-like.
#4 It’s always uncomfortable to stretch bigger.
Read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks to understand the concept of upper limits– that there is an unconscious point beyond which we actually start to feel unsafe, which can lead to self-sabotage and the unconscious recreation of unhelpful patterns. When you accept that growing bigger (making more, saving more, spending more, investing more, laughing more) will sometimes feel uncomfortable, you can lean into it with deep breaths. (Much like a woman giving birth leans into contractions.) It can burn, baby. But it’s so worth it. This is an odd concept because most of us think we definitely want MORE in our lives. But we don’t expect it to feel so strange: to feel guilty or anxious; to get weird comments from friends or family; to have strange compulsions to do unwise things with our new bigness. It helps to simply understand that there are powerful tribal beliefs at play when it comes to money. It’s highly useful to dig into them and dismantle them and replace the toxic ones with new beliefs (which is exactly the sort of work I do with my EFBA clients), but it can help immensely just to know that those tribal beliefs and unconscious shadows are THERE, eddying around and through you, and that they will rock your little boat, and that it is absolutely your job declare dominion by steering your course straight and true ANYWAY.
Which is why it’s so important to have this final thing, #5, which is technically not a truth but more of a tool but WE ARE ABOVE SEMANTICS RIGHT???
#5 Then–THEN!!! Then you need the systems, habits, and tools to help you manage the actual flow of your funds in the physical world.
The truth is, it does not matter WHAT set of systems you use, as long as you have one that works for you. I love YNAB. Before that, I used a wildly simple yet highly effective system of virtual ‘envelopes’ to save for recurring bills like life insurance, vacations, and car repairs. Some of us love the automated beauty of online auto-pay banking; others of us like the old-school ritual of writing it all down on paper. It truly doesn’t matter WHAT you use, as long as you use SOMEthing that gives you clarity and control.
For many years, I tried to master my money using vision boards and affirmations. That didn’t work, so then I tried Excel spreadsheets. For me, that was like trying to grow a garden with a paintbrush and a cappucino maker and a Porsche. Then I added a helicopter. Those were not the proper tools. I needed humbler yet sturdier implements– the financial equivalent of a trowel, and seeds, and a watering can.
The whole purpose of your system is simply one thing: clarity so that you can make deliberate choices.
Because epic fucking badasses know that money is a powerful energy in our lives, and we don’t hide from it, apologize for it, squander it, or hurt ourselves with it.
Instead we kiss it on the mouth. We make out with it. And then we go forth and multiply.