When Money Scares the Bejesus out of You

Many women spend much of their lives engaged in a deeply frustrating dance with money. I think of it as a kind of waltz, with three basic steps.

Step 1. Muster all kinds of ambition and commitment to Deal with Finances, Once and for All.
Step 2. Experience the rush of fear and self-doubt.
Step 3. Get the heck off the dance floor.

Repeat until exhausted. Or poor. Or both.

Here are three women who are currently doing the dance:

There’s Neeta, so scared to make the wrong decision about how to deal with an inheritance that she has not made any decision.

There’s Joyce, who feels physically ill every time she goes to check her bank balance or open her credit card statements.

Then there’s Maelle, unable to have money conversations with her husband (who is also her business partner) without them both feeling frustrated and tense.

The individual circumstances and net worth may vary widely, but the emotional experiences are eerily similar: “I swear my head leaves my body every time I go into the meetings with the lawyer and the accountant.” “Where are the magic pixies when I need them? I HATE having to deal with the money stuff!” “I know we should be doing a better job of talking about our financial future, but I can’t stand the fallout.”

And thus it is that financial avoidance becomes the default option for a lot of women. As options go, avoidance happens to be really, really effective:

  • It’s low effort.
  • It’s highly effective in preventing or stopping discomfort.
  • It doesn’t challenge the status quo.
  • It’s easier on the liver than gin.

But it also keeps us thwarted, and scared, and unfulfilled. So what are the alternatives? Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Prepare. Remake that decision to Deal with Finances Once and for All – but this time, EXPECT and PLAN for the Discomfort. (This is kind of like knowing you have to put up with pregnancy and childbirth to get a baby – only this time, the stretch marks will be psychological ones, and you don’t have to buy ugly underwear.)
  1. Be compassionately self-aware. Notice where and how that fear shows up in your body, your relationships, your business. Allow yourself to notice it without having to stop it or change it. Your only task is to be curious and gentle with yourself as you experience the discomfort.
  1. Create community. Involve other people to bolster your commitment to financial well-being. Who are the folks who will cheer you on, give you advice, put you in touch with helpful resources? They’re out there, believe me — they just need you to give them a sign.

Feeling ready to overcome your own financial fear and avoidance? Or maybe you know of another woman who could use some help in doing so? I’d LOVE to help. My next course for Women and Finances begins on May 8. All that’s needed is a book, a phone, and a willingness to experience something powerful and beautiful. Click here to learn more.