Think back to the last time you started something entirely new. Maybe it was your career, or maybe you shifted careers over the years or took up a completely new pursuit. Each time you decided to make a shift in your life, it required courage to take that first step.
While it may not have been easy to do things you’ve never done before, you knew taking action was necessary. You see, courage isn’t the lack of fear but taking action while feeling fearful. As a financial advisor, I often work with women who have been successful in their careers yet may not have had the training, time, education, or access to options that would best serve them financially. Taking the first step to reach out and ask for help is a big turning point for them. Our conversation is just one of many that will ultimately shift their relationship with money to put these successful women in control of their financial future.
Unfortunately, many women have waited too long until the fear of not being prepared for retirement becomes bigger than facing the facts. You don’t have to be ruled by fear. Instead, choose to be courageous and take action. Courage builds confidence, and confidence builds wealth. I’ve witnessed it repeatedly with my clients. So take your next steps to financial freedom by courageously tackling these critical areas:
Assess Your Current Position
It takes courage to look at where you are on your financial journey. You might not have saved as much as you had hoped, or you may be pleasantly surprised, but you’ll never know until you dive into the numbers. Have an honest conversation about where you are and the money habits and beliefs that have got you to this point with yourself or a loved one. You can begin by asking this person if they can keep your secret and not judge—you may be surprised to find out that she has faced the same fears herself!
When we run away from our problems or put them off until another day, they keep chasing us for the rest of our lives. Release yourself from the stress and fear of the unknown by taking the step to review where you are. When you walk towards fear, the fear shrinks.
Uncover Your Limiting Beliefs
Looking at your numbers is the first practical step, but taking one more step back to look at your limiting beliefs around money is how you start to change your mindset.
Once you understand your current position, you need to work on what’s holding you back. If you set out a plan prematurely, the challenges that have plagued you in the past will continue to limit your success. So, instead, focus on the limiting beliefs that are holding you back, and I recommend a specific exercise to uncover the ones around money that may be hidden from sight.
20 years ago, early in my second career, I made only $2,000 in commission and had no idea how capable I was. It wasn’t until I reviewed an exercise in Barbara Stanley’s book Overcoming Underearning that I discovered and started shedding my own limiting beliefs.
In Stanley’s exercise, you think about how you will feel at different income levels: how will it feel to hit the $5k commission mark? How will it feel to make $10k, 50k, 100k, 250K? Many of my friends stopped the exercise at $100k, as they felt pretty comfortable there. Yet I continued up to the $500k level. I was surprised by how far I had gone and even more inspired that the sky was my limit. This exercise aims to access and expand your perceived limits, giving you the mind space and room to grow into the person you want to become. Who could guess someone who made $2,000 would see herself making 250 times more?
Let Go of The Past
All too often, women will relive a conversation, a moment in time, or a decision they made and wonder what might have been or how they would make the decision differently now. The challenge is that you can’t go back, and whatever happened in those moments, those conversations, and those decisions taught you what you know today to help you make better decisions moving forward. If you keep looking in your rearview mirror, you’ll never see where you’re headed.
A friend who recently passed left these wise words, “Don’t let the past stop you from moving forward.”
Develop A Plan That Supports The Future You Want To Build
Once you’ve expanded your mindset to believe a higher level of financial success is possible for you, it’s time to get strategic about how you will make it happen. You’ll see that it’s not an all-or-nothing scenario, and new possibilities will present themselves. You don’t have to be a finance expert to start giving your plan shape.
Of course, each person’s plan is unique to them, but here are the basic elements to start with:
- Examine your current spending plan and think about how that will change when you retire
- Assess your current savings plan and if it supports your long term goals
- Think about your timeline or how much time you plan to continue working
- Make adjustments for inflation
- Account for your level of risk tolerance
Reaching out for help is a big first step, so what’s holding you back? What will you do in the next week, month and year to plan and take action?
Courageously Follow The Plan When The Going Gets Tough
Life happens, and expected setbacks may require you to adjust the plan along your journey. Emergencies like losing a job or getting sick and being unable to work feel overwhelming when you’re in the thick of them.
For someone who has already thought about and has a plan for an emergency, she is going to have more power to have clarity and focus on the items that she needs most by following her emergency plan. When life gets tough, she gets tougher.
Leverage Your Wealth For What’s Most Important to You
Being courageous builds confidence, and that confidence builds wealth, yet you get to decide what wealth means to you and how you want to leverage it. This isn’t The Game of Life where those with the most in their account at the end win, this is the journey of life. Money is a tool you can use to create the experiences you want for yourself and the people you love and care about. So whether you value your time, joy, health, or relationships most, you can translate financial wealth into wealth in any other area of life by prioritizing how you earn, save and spend your wealth.
If you’re ready to build your confidence and wealth, download my Money Confidence Guide to organize your thoughts and begin your journey. Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how it goes!