Do you have a head in the sand approach when it comes to finances? I will admit that I often have. Despite striving and making great progress in many areas of my life – my business, my relationships, my self-care – my approach, to money has always been at best, haphazard – and at worst a little reckless.
This year I decided enough was enough. I needed to re-evaluate my relationship with money and get on top of my financial affairs for once and for all. As a result, I read lots of books on the subject and spent a good deal of time reflecting on my attitudes to, and thoughts about, money.
I came to the conclusion that my reluctance to take control of my finances was rooted in my money mindset – an avoidant discomfort with having it or talking about it, combined with an underlying insecurity stemming from childhood that it might run out at any moment. Talking to financial expert Lisa Conway-Hughes, author of Money Lessons and host of She’s On The Money podcast for this week’s Babyproof podcast, I’ve now realised how important it is to overcome my financial reticence. Lisa explains how taking control of your money, protecting it and investing it, is so very vital, especially for women who are financially penalised by the gender pay gap and the monetary impact of taking time out to have a family.
So, how is your money mindset? If you’re currently planning a family, have you thought about the financial impact it might have on your career and are you taking steps to prepare for or mitigate that? Are you thinking about the long term goals for your future children eg. private education, university – as well as your own long term financial goals, and adjusting your spending, saving and investment behaviours accordingly? What are your financial habits now? Will you be reaping the benefits of those in years to come, or will you be regretting that you weren’t better prepared?
If, after reflecting on these questions, you realise that you too might have an avoidant or disorganised attitude to money, then read on. I’d like to show you that taking control of your finances is key to babyproofing your future; that you need to be more intentional about how you make, spend, save and invest your money. Remember – this isn’t financial advice (do go and talk to an expert ) – this is just to spur you into taking action and to get you thinking about being smarter with your money. For you, for your career and for your family.
Here are some of the benefits of babyproofing and getting a grip on your finances:
How can you be in control of what happens in your life if you don’t really know how much money you have now, or how much money you will have in the future? Monitoring, saving and investing your money means you will be able to make better decisions about what you can do with it. You will have more power over your career and family balance, and over your family’s future.
Learning to manage your money is a brilliant skill to develop. It requires patience, organisation, diligence and an ability to tackle issues you might prefer to ignore. Conquering these and overcoming the distaste for dealing with financial matters is both empowering and liberating.
This is so important – especially when it comes to taking time out to have a family. Many women, having been financially secure and independent, are suddenly financially disempowered if they take extended time off. Building up your own savings and investments before having a family means you don’t need to become entirely financially reliant on your partner during periods away from the workplace.
Following on from that, developing financial nous and controlling your own savings and investments gives you the confidence and influence to contribute equally to financial decisions that affect the whole family.
I like the idea that I’m finally facing up to the reality that one day I will be older and may not want to or be able to work. I know, the idea is horrifying! But I’m slowly waking up to it, and in good babyproofing style, being more proactive about preparing financially for it. Saving and investing your money is also good practice to mitigate against unforeseen events such as serious illness or bereavement. Again – much as we don’t like to dwell on these subjects, it is a sensible and forward-thinking approach which we may be hugely grateful for at some point in the future.
This is my favourite benefit of managing and babyproofing my finances! I love having a pot of money set aside that I can dip into to spend on handbags and clothes and more frivolous items. I don’t feel guilty because I’ve already allocated the money for the important things like bills, savings, investments and donations. It’s a win win!
Hopefully I’ve managed to convince you that it’s worth overcoming your discomfort to start getting a firm grip on your finances. Listen to this week’s podcast to find out how I’ve set about sorting out mine – and to hear more top tips on financial management from expert Lisa Conway-Hughes.