Do you find having the money talk with your family, friends, or colleagues to be complicated, or do you endlessly postpone it? As women, our financial health is something we need to meet head-on no matter what our age. Although it’s best to plan for retirement as early in life as possible, women in their 40s and beyond can still change their financial outcomes.
I was invited to attend the BlogHer19 Business conference for women entrepreneurs and Capital Group hosted a panel discussion called How to Have the Money Talk. The panelists were Dee Mc Laughlin, SVP, Global Brand & Creative for Capital Group; Sherita Rankins, actress, and influencer; and Justine Goodman, editor of Stylecaster and SHE Media. It was moderated by Nicole Lapin who is an American news anchor, author, and businesswoman.
For the last 87 years, Capital Group has focused its mission on improving people’s lives through successful investing. Its recent Wisdom of Experience Survey found that most Americans would rather talk about almost anything besides money.
Dee McLaughlin opened the panel with her observations
We’re happy to talk about our sex lives, and we’re glad to talk about our family’s past, but we’re not excited to talk about how much we earn.
If we don’t talk about how much money we’re making and share it, it will be a problem because, as women, we rise together. When you start a conversation with other women in your field and compare notes, it’s easier to negotiate a better deal for everyone.
She says that women typically aren’t great at negotiating and have often ended up settling for them.
Comments from the panelists
Sherita Rankins said when she asks for a certain amount of money from a brand to do an influencer campaign, and they say yes, she gets upset because she feels like she’s left money on the table. She typically will ask for 25% more than she thinks she should be getting. That leaves room for negotiation. She factors in how much she’s worth, the time it will take to complete the project, how much energy she needs to put into it, and her costs. All those factors empower and allow her to put a value on her time.
It’s not uncommon for women to want to save money for someone else and discount the amount of time they spend doing a job. The truth is that money isn’t the most valuable asset. It’s time. You can always get more money, but you can’t get your time back.
How to bring up the money talk
When you’re with a friend or colleague, try bringing up the topic of credit cards. You may want to ask what kind of interest rate they’re getting on theirs. If it’s more or less than you get, ask them for more details.
When someone mentions to you that they’re struggling with debt and don’t know how to deal with it, have them take a moment to figure out why it’s happening and if they’re working with a budget. Together you can brainstorm a plan.
If you’re the one who’s struggling, seek out an advisor or talk to your most money-savvy friend. Tell them you’re stuck and ask if they’ll help you.
Those who are married or in a relationship should have the money talk with their significant other to determine what their goals are and understand that there’s no one way to achieve them. All goals, no matter how big or small, have a price tag and to accomplish them there must be a cohesive plan.
Whether you share a bank account with your spouse, or you manage your money separately, strive for transparency, and be realistic. If you think you’re saving $500 per month, but you’re also losing $200 a month, that’s where conflicts will arise.
When you find yourself in a shaky financial situation and don’t confront it as a couple or with family members, that’s when relationships begin to slide. You may have the urge to bury your money problem under the rug but the worse it gets, the less you’re willing to talk about it. That’s when it needs the most attention.
Get together with them and open every bank statement, in every single account you have and look at them one by one.
You may find that one of you is doing well in a financial area but not in another. It’s important to support each other and help find solutions to improve those weaknesses.
Nicole Lapin says she hates the phrase: Don’t buy a latte, buy a house instead. She hears that phrase often from some of the TV business correspondents she works with. But she assured us that if you buy a latte, the financial Gods will not come and beat you up. She compares that type of money advice to going on a diet. If you allow yourself a few indulgences once in a while, you won’t end up binging later.
There’s no need to deprive yourself of the things you love. Although buying a Gucci purse may be a different story.
There’s not enough money to go around. – Some people feel that if they’re making too much, they’re taking it out of the pocket of someone else, which is scarcity thinking. The truth is, there’s plenty of money to go around for all of us. Instead, come from a place of aspiration rather than deprivation.
Rather than spend time-saving more, cutting coupons, and cutting out your beloved latte, focus on making more money. Then, you can have as many lattes as you want.
How can Capital Group impact the conversation for women?
Dee answered this question. Capital Group is a huge brand, and what they’ve seen is that women are starting to drive the global economy. Also, four out of five financial advisors are men. The challenge is that there’s a gap in communication between male advisors and female investors. Capital Group is trying to close that gap.
A couple of ways they’re doing this is to bring more women into the industry and are also talking to them about financial empowerment.
They’re encouraging their financial advisors who are meeting with couples to talk to both the man and the woman. 80% of women who get divorced, don’t stay with their advisor. That’s because the advisor often spends most of the time speaking to the husband. When an advisor speaks directly to the husband, the wife doesn’t become as engaged. Because of this, they’ve seen women drop a bit in financial literacy.
Most financial institutions talk to women early on to give them advice about how to get out of student debt or how to buy her first house. They don’t spend much time talking to women who are aged 40 and beyond at all.
They are designing a brand-new platform that will address and empower older women. It will be launched next year.
Financial advice for entrepreneurs
Pay yourself a salary. Some people think that if they don’t have actual equity, they’ll pay themselves in sweat equity. You can’t go to the supermarket and pay for your groceries with equity or your mortgage. You need real cash.
Women, especially, tend to put themselves last. They don’t say put your oxygen mask on first for nothing. You can’t be of service to anyone else until you take care of yourself first.
Look into IRA plans for entrepreneurs like a SEP or a Simple. Get a sense of your cash flow because cash flow problems are real. As an entrepreneur, you may have high and low months, but you need enough cash to get you through EVERY month.
What if you’re starting in a career and aren’t earning enough money?
There’s always money available even if you don’t feel like you’ve saved a substantial amount. You can always find a little that you can put away. Look at your entire financial snapshot – Where are you spending? – What can you cut? – Even if you cut small expenses, it will help you put away some cash for the future, and it’s a smart way to start. If saving $500 a month is impossible, try putting away $50 a month or even less.
Latte haters can save money by not buying them, but, as mentioned before, don’t put yourself in a space of deprivation by not allowing yourself the things you love. Have fun, do your hair, travel, or whatever it is you like.
Compound investing builds up and grows, no matter how small an amount you contribute or how late you start.
Knowledge gives you confidence, and that gives you empowerment
And, this is my favorite piece of advice, “A man is not a financial plan.”
Set yourself on a path toward your financial future by confronting your money taboos at home – speak to your significant other and children about your finances. Seek advice from financial advisors who can help you invest wisely for the long term.
Capital Group research found that when people envision their retirement years, they recommend saving up to 31% more each paycheck. That may be unrealistic if you’re already on Social Security, but the capacity to achieve great things is inside all of us, we need to be empowered to unlock it.
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This post was sponsored and I received compensation for writing it. However, my opinions are my own.