Last week, I attended an event where a number of the female attendees admitted that it made them uncomfortable to talk about money. I wasn’t hugely surprised by this, but the reason cited by a couple of them gave me cause for pause.
Because this discomfort wasn’t to do with our notorious reluctance to have difficult conversations about our cash, but rather because they feared that talking about money, wanting to have it and wanting to build wealth, played into an overarching capitalist construct, which they fundamentally disagreed with on the basis that it fuelled an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots and that “as women we should not be party to that”.
It’s a good point.
But I disagree. (Surprise, surprise).
Not because I’m a supporter of income inequality. Or the idea that only a small few should control all access to money, resources and in turn upward mobility.
But because while they are indeed good points, why does resolving all the world’s ills by default fall on women’s shoulders?
In this particular case for example, after a little probing it became clear that the beliefs of the women in question were driven largely by external pressures, deep-rooted stereotypes and misconceptions about women’s entitlement to build wealth in the first place.
And it is this that makes me twitchy.
The idea that the absolute only legitimate reason we as women should want to build wealth should be for philanthropic or community building purposes, never to please ourselves or transform our own quality of lives. At least not at first.
And therein lies the problem. Because while there is nothing wrong with these laudable ambitions, why are we ALWAYS at the bottom of the to-do list, the ones that WE are drafting? It doesn’t make any sense.
Have you ever heard men lumbering themselves with similar expectations?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of giving back, and do believe that all of us in a position to do so, should be lifting as we climb – but how about we uplift ourselves first? And how about we tell people who project their ideas of what we should be doing with our money where to go?!
All of us deserve the opportunity to build our financial futures (our wealth included!) entirely on our own terms, so just in case you need a reminder:
It is ok as a woman to want to build wealth.
It is also ok for us to want to build that wealth for the things we want to aspire to, rather than succumb to the expectations about what out wealth should be used for. And that includes not trying to save the planet with every money move we make.
Contrary to what we may be told, prioritising ourselves is not selfish, or self-serving – it is necessary for our financial, and let’s be honest overall, survival.
I summarise my thoughts on this here.
But if you are still in any doubt, here are a few more reasons why building wealth is a no-brainer:
- Freedom to live life on our terms. We often talk about the beauty of a f**k off fund, and having that bit of spare cash stashed away to ensure that we never find ourselves in situations that make us unhappy. Whether it’s leaving a job, stepping away from a relationship or just being able to say no to something we don’t want, building wealth gives us the freedom to live our way.
- Security. Building wealth enables us to also build those all important reserves that ensure that we are able to absorb any financial shocks that will inevitably come without incurring debt or unnecessary stress.
- Focus. If we know we have our finances covered, it gives us the headspace to stop constantly worrying about our finances and instead pursue some of the things we’ve always wanted to instead.
- Wellbeing. While we’d never suggest that money buys happiness, the financial security that wealth building can offer us will almost certainly contribute to our positive wellbeing. When we also consider how much financial concerns contribute to anxiety and stress levels, I think it’s fair to say that wealth building can help to give us peace of mind.
- Legacy While the point of this post is to encourage anyone wavering to feel comfortable about building wealth entirely for themselves, the truth is the vast majority of us do have loved ones we would like to care for. Building wealth not only ensures that we ourselves are covered, but also let’s us think about how we would like to share our resources with the people we love – IF we choose to do so.
- Control. All in all, wealth building puts us exactly where we belong – firmly in control of our finances, and our lives. Do we really need a better reason than that?