This article is written in partnership with Dow Janes—they empower women+ to take control of their money mindfully and compassionately, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
Which is easier to achieve: good sex, or good finances?
Cheap question. The answer is neither. But I ask it to illustrate that both take work, and both come down to the undoing of a few of the same things:
>> Limiting beliefs that we hold about ourselves,
>> Past trauma,
>> Practices that keep us stuck where we are, and
>> Assumptions that we make about ourselves, others, and society.
This year has, for me, been the year of coaching. In addition to the life coach I hired several months ago, I’ve been privileged to have access to a sampling platter of eye-opening coaching opportunities through work.
There are coaches for sex, relationships, and the development of our spirituality or interests. There are coaches for bringing more self-care and balance into our daily lives, for releasing trauma, and for fitness.
Those last three actually have a common thread: they can each pertain to or reflect our relationship with money.
Coaching helps us to dismantle the invisible glass wall that exists between where we are, and where we’d like to be through various actions like project plans, reframing, affirmations, and—yes—self-care practices.
And if you ask the folks at Dow Janes, a women’s+ financial group that transforms women+ from debt-bearers to bona fide investors, they’ll tell you that financial coaching is no different. They’ll even give you mantras. Try these on for size:
>> I am worthy of having money.
>> Money is an amplifier—of my voice, of my causes, of my life.
>> The world is better off when I have more money.
Pump the breaks; I don’t want to talk about money!
I see you there, running far and fast away. And I can only see you because I was running with you there, for a sec.
When I first started working with Dow Janes, I knew I wanted to tackle my finances. Sort of.
Finances can be scary. Particularly if you’re a woman (especially one of color), and were raised in an economic bracket where money was hard to come by, even more difficult to hold on to, impossible to save, and therefore unfathomable to invest.
I spent my late childhood and early teens receiving free, donated clothes and groceries through charitable foundations. So, when I say I’m with you, I mean that I’m with you in my avoidance of my financial present and future.
It can just be so…triggering.
But it’s only triggering because of the stories we have continued to tell ourselves about where we’ve been and the weight that we give to our traumatic financial backstory—the assumptions we make about how our past might impact our ability to earn, spend, save, and even invest our money.
Just like giving up chocolate or caffeine for Lent (again), we can empower ourselves to command our finances—at any age. So, let’s take a little look at…
The biggest financial myths we believe in our 30s, 40s, or 50s—& 3 almost indulgent routines to help us step into boss mode:
First things first: You. Can. Do. This.
None of the concerns are exclusive to a single age group. So, peek into each and get a leg up on what else you might want to be thinking about.
And if you find yourself breaking into full body sweats when faced with the good ol’ f word, the camaraderie and empowerment of all the boss ladies at Dow Janes who are taking control of their lives one investment at a time is contagious.
It can be such a comfort to know that the program, its community, and its weekly coach-led calls are there whenever we need some extra support to help guide our next steps.
You’re a financial badass; you just don’t know it yet. Join your peers here & uncover your empowered financial persona >>
Anyway, let’s myth bust, sisters. It’s gonna get real. Maybe a little scary real, but stick with us ‘til the comforting rituals in the end, and we promise it’ll be worth it (and way less frightening).
Money Myth of your 30s: “I don’t need to worry about my finances yet.”
It might seem like this is the time to enjoy the money you’re making to the max.
Maybe you’re making a good dent in or have fully paid down any student loans you have, and are at a place where you’re making enough to live the sort of life you want.
Perhaps saving sounds like it would put a drain on all that enjoyment. And besides, there’s that stealthy myth: “I don’t need to worry about it…”
But get this: your 30s is actually the best time to start paying attention to your finances. You’ve heard the adage that “time is money.” Well, when it comes to saving and investing that is literally true; time is ultra valuable when it comes to investing and compound interest (a.k.a. creating your desired future).
That’s what Dow Janes helps us with: actually looking at and taking advantage of our window of opportunity, digging deep into our beliefs around money, and taking a couple of baby steps then one giant (well-planned, more-fun-than-you-thought) leap toward financial wellness and meeting your goals.
That all starts, believe it or not, with a weekly look into our heart and its desires:
Money Myth of your 40s: “My Partner should Take Care of the Finances.”
This is society’s norms seeping into your brain a bit.
Letting our partners lead isn’t inherently wrong, but the reason that we likely think that our partner is better with money and should manage our finances probably has something to do with the fact that until the 1974 passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which granted women the right to obtain credit cards separate from their husbands (1), we were kept largely out of the financial loop. So, in ways, we’re relatively new in the finance department.
But we deserve to play the money game.
Just because men have been societally deemed the chosen ones to manage the finances doesn’t mean they’re good at it (2). Some researchers have even found women to be better investors than men (3).
So, jump in there and start playing a role in the family finances. Dip your toes by gathering information. Where are the family finances invested, for example? And how much do you have saved for an emergency?
Money Myth of your 50s: “It’s too Late to Start Saving for Retirement.”
Ever noticed how the older we get the faster time seems to fly? Well, when it comes to retirement savings and we have little or nothing there, it definitely starts to speed up.
There’s only need to panic, though, if we plan to do absolutely nothing to change our situation. But there’s one unavoidable catch: we kinda gotta treat our situation like the house is burning down.
That phrase sounds scary, I know. I’m only 36 and it scared me. But fear doesn’t mean this is the time to give up. It means it’s time to get real and act fast.
There are 6 steps you can take to commandeer a fast-approaching retirement:
1. Get real about your situation
Use a retirement calculator to see how much more you need to save each month to be able to retire.
2. Start saving—dramatically
This one’s gonna hurt: if you’re 50 and have no retirement savings, you’re going to have to save 50 percent of your income each month. Stay with me…
3. Pay off all high-interest debt and build an emergency fund
These are key steps in Dow Janes’ Million Dollar Year program. High-interest debt costs us more than we can make by investing our money or leaving it in a savings account, so it’s important to wipe that out first and foremost.
4. Max out your contributions
Simple as that.
5. Invest your savings
You only need to take enough money to live on each month out of your retirement account. Let the rest of the money stay invested and continue to grow.
6. Plan for your realistic retirement
You might need to work for longer than you expected. You might need to move out of the big city—or even out of the country. The sooner you discover this, the better advantage you have in planning (4).
Okay! Deep breath. So we just made it through the oh-my-god real talk. Now here’s something to comfort you and help you take your courageous steps:
3 Ways to Use Self-Care to Motivate you to Love on your Finances.
Each of these indulgent, self-care-esque routines can help you to befriend your money and create an alliance that gets you exactly where you want to be.
Indulgent Financial Routine #1: List 5 reasons you’re spending time on your finances.
Find someplace cozy and “safe,” and sit down with your journal or computer and start thinking about your why: the reasons you want to get a good handle on your money and why you want to increase what you have.
Yessss, girl, yesssss is what you want to hear from your soul.
Here’s a favorite of mine: money gives me the freedom to work less and balance myself with enjoyment and self-care so that I can show up as my best self for me and with the loved ones and organizations I care about.
Define your financial freedom and actively work towards it alongside the badass women+ of Dow Janes >>
Indulgent Financial Routine #2: Forget the Partner, & Take Yourself Out on Money Ritual “Dates.”
You’re gonna get sensual with your money, now. Yep, sensual. And you’re going to set aside an hour of your time for it.
What? I don’t even know how to spend 15 minutes with my finances. An hour seems impossible—and miserable. Nope. Absolutely not!
Summarizing the advice of Dow Janes co-founder Britt Baker: you really ought to take a minute to think about how much time you spend earning money versus how little time you spend managing it. Ideally, there’d be a better balance. And we’re guessing that’s why you find yourself all the way down in these parts of this article.
So! Think about all the tiny details you’re going to incorporate to make this experience truly pleasurable. A warm, perfect latte from your favorite local cafe while the soft daylight pours in through the window? In the dark, evening hours coupled with a pour of your favorite drink, with nice music and candlelight? Make sure this is a space that entices you to spend quality time, just you and your finances.
Here are some ways you might spend your weekly money ritual hours in the Million Dollar Year or on your own:
>> Write your new money persona—who you want to be when it comes to money in your life.
>> Dream a little and write down your financial goals for the next year, or
>> Log into your credit card and bank accounts and simply review recent transactions.
I bet some of those sound a little fun and not so intimidating, huh?
Go beyond the basics of the weekly money ritual. Dive all the way into financial wellness with Dow Janes >>
Indulgent Financial Routine #3: Treat yourself.
After you spend time with your finances, it’s important to give yourself a pat on the back and say, “Well done! You did something intimidating that kinda endangers the comfort of the life you’re living right now to offer more to the life you’ll eventually lead.”
It’s a big deal. Treat yourself to a cookie, a Xanax (just kidding), or, y’know, that massage—whatever’s going to motivate you to keep up the good work of getting to know your money like the back of your hand.
Do one small thing—for your finances, your future, yourself.
No matter where we are in life, when it comes to our finances and our weekly money ritual, the most important thing is to commit—to ourselves, the kind of future we want, the kind of household we want to create with our partners, and the kind of retirement we know we deserve.
You can start being the financial boss you want to be today by doing one small thing to take care of your finances—and an easy, powerful place to start is with Dow Janes’ free masterclass, or even their flagship program, The Million Dollar Year, if you’re really ready to dive in.
You’ve got this. You’re ready. And with one little leap, you’re in for a journey of exploration that’s way more fun than you ever imagined financial responsibility could be.