Let’s Talk About My Experience with the Financial Gym
We partnered with Claire Fountain of @cbquality of Trill Yoga.
Money talk used to be a scary conversation I mostly avoided. I very much had an out of sight, out of mind attitude coupled with a shame that I should know about this and didn’t feel equipped. This state of being wasn’t helping me feel any more in control of my money or empowered about money management. Staying silent about money also could not help me with wealth or long term life planning, both larger concepts but certainly worth mentioning as we begin this chat.
Many women, myself included, want to tell a story about money and their own finances that doesn’t ask us to dig much deeper. It’s easy to drop a catch phrase like “oh I’m just bad with money” or “my only problem is these student loans” instead of really discussing how money makes us feel about ourselves. When you begin this journey of money and finances, you’re not only looking at the nitty gritty of where money is going and how it’s coming in, but also, what feelings are coming up for you in this process. Perhaps it’s beliefs from your childhood surrounding money or societal norms you think you should be fitting into by this phase in your life. Perhaps you use money as a form of identity or power.
All these are part of the stories we tell about ourselves, to ourselves, and to those around us. The thing is, you can rewrite these stories. You can revise them. You can create a new story of you and money. This is a process I had to start time and time again because I was not being full honest and transparent nor was I looking at my situation with the help of a more financially literate trained eye.
After realizing The Financial Gym was not an actual gym trying to get me to come by for a workout, we connected over a year ago and I was finally able to start the process of taking off the layers of confusion I had about money. Here are my Top Tips I learned or discovered as I started to work with the financial gym and are some key points to remember if and when you decide to work with a trainer:
Be Radically Open & Honest
Hiding spending habits or what you do or don’t do with money won’t help, nor will accidentally forgetting about debt or a credit card you had a little too much fun with in college. My first word of advice here is to put everything out on the table, including all the questions you have about investments, different types of accounts, what you do or don’t need for future goals (home ownership, building a family, investment properties, starting a business, etc.) Even if the time line for items is not today, having the vocabulary and know-how to even put those items into your money story will benefit you in the long run and increase the confidence you have about your own financial situation.
Awareness is Only Half the Battle
Perhaps I have a hedonist leaning or feel we are here for a good time, not a long time, so I enjoy spending money on things that bring me joy and/or put me around the people I love. In my head, it’s why I work. Knowing where everything goes was a huge step for me. It also forced me to look at how I prioritize money and where things could be moved around to not only afford me the life I wanted now but create something bigger for the future. However, awareness doesn’t get you very far without action. You must do the things you know (or learn with FG) will keep you on the path you want, or profess to want.
The Un-Sexy Stuff Matters
Sure, a travel account is great to think about but in theory things like an emergency fund (all your living expenses for 3 - 6 months) and renter’s insurance matter more. For me and running the business I run for myself, another unsexy part is putting aside money for taxes when I pay myself. Same goes for retirement savings and other seemingly dull (ie: not IG worthy) items but these are the things that will afford you comfort in your life now and in the future.
Tackle Debt, Collect Empowering Moments, and Remain Mindful
Debt scared me until I realized I could actually pay things off quicker than I thought. Tackling it head on was an empowering move that changed my mindset and my belief pattern that I couldn’t do such a thing. These moments coupled with increasing my financial vocabulary and experiences started to build more confidence in my monetary situations. It changed how my goals were set up and how I allocated my time and resources. The last part of this equation is to be mindful. The word “mindfulness” is tossed around to the point of it losing its meaning in my wellness spaces, but to practice mindfulness means to be aware coupled with being open and accepting. Staying mindful means watching the little things that add up to big things, from how you spend to how you pay off debt or look at future financial situations.
Money doesn’t have to be so scary if you’re willing to look at your situation, your experiences, and your overall beliefs about money (and yourself.) I’m glad I was able to find a safe place to land at The Financial Gym. I still have a ways to go but beginning the process and sticking to most of it has given me a new found peace and power when it comes to money.