If you’re a woman, chances are good that in the years ahead, it will be you and you alone who’s responsible for managing your money. That could be a problem: Even among the very affluent, many women admit they know little to nothing about bigger-picture money concerns such as financial planning and investment management, according to a recent survey.
A lot of women cede those responsibilities to their husbands or partners because they say they don’t have the time, interest or opportunity to learn. But things are changing—more women are choosing not to marry or have been devastated by divorce or death of a loved one. They recognize they can’t ignore money any more, but don’t know where to turn or who to trust.
But even women with a net worth of at least $1 million concede they aren’t especially knowledgeable about money management. In the Women & Wealth Study sponsored by GenSpring Family Offices, only a third said they know a lot about financial planning, and 30 percent said the same for investment management.
Read Related: Adelante! Grassroots Financial Empowerment for Women
Part of the problem is that financial education is male-oriented, catering to how men’s brains are wired and what appeals to them. But when women approach it creatively and from a more emotion-based perspective, they are not only drawn to learning about it, they have no trouble getting it.
Here are three things that every woman should know about her relationship to money:
You have baggage. Your investment decisions are influenced by your emotional baggage. We all bring baggage into our relationships, and it’s no different with money. When you’re not aware of the baggage operating quietly in the background, you may think you’re making smart decisions when you’re actually simply reacting to past experiences. And those might not have been even your own experiences! Whether you or a loved one suffered the consequences of a bad financial investment, it can color your thinking in many ways, from destroying your confidence in your judgment to writing off all similar investments as ‘bad.’ Take time to reflect on the experiences you’ve had with investing, the decisions you made, and the conclusions you made as a result. What stories do you tell yourself because of these experiences?