Posted: 3rd July 2017


Regular contributor to Real Business Magazine, see more Real Business articles by Jan here

One of the things that holds women back in business is having a poor relationship with money.  It affects our money making abilities, our likelyhood of holding on to and very definitely affects our negotiating skills and our sales skills.  Money also has a traumatic affect on our relationships too.  70% of marital breakdowns are in some way related to money.  The US Sociological Association proved recently that the more economically dependant a man is on a female, the less likely they are to cheat, but with women it is vice versa!

We now make up 47% of the workforce.  Wealth and power are forecast to continue towards female control and dominance.  But that is all going to be a bit of a disaster if we don’t learn to have a better relationship with money.

There are lots of reasons that women have bad relationships with money.  It is partly lack of knowledge and that stems back to childhood.   T Rowe Price Ltd. Carry out annual surveys on money relating to parents and children.   They are finding that still nearly half of all parents avoid talking to their children about money and an astounding 28% admit to lying to their children about it.   87% of them suggest that money should be taught in schools rather than in the home.  They also found that boys were more likely to get an allowance, whereas girls, while receiving equal amounts of financial benefit, had things bought for them.   All of which leads to us getting accustomed to being reliant on others.

The Money Advice Service last year found that only 4 in 10 children aged 16/17 were getting financial education.  59% could not even read a pay slip. Increasing knowledge in the schools is something the Enterprise Agencies are currently working to address but we are a long way off at the moment.

The result inevitably is that in adulthood, women are very far from confident with money with only one in 5 saying they would be comfortable investing in the stock market, and only 33% thinking they could get higher returns for investment in comparison to 61% of men.

We are also the natural nurturers.  We know that.  We love to give and look after others.   The problem is we are very poor at setting boundaries and will go on doing this when we cannot afford to do so, be it emotionally, physically or financially.  We are conditioned to put ourselves last and that applies to money too.

We also still suffer from the in built conditioning that we must be sweet, good girls, as described so well by Rachel Simmons in The Curse of the Good Girl.   Nice girls do not push themselves forward, they defer to the males.  They certainly do not push over money, traditionally a boys arena anyway.   We find it very hard to push forward and be aggressive.  It goes totally against our natural instincts and we think if we do, we will be disliked and unloved.

In the States, there is a huge growth of financial therapists, so strongly now is it accepted that money making abilities are hampered by our inaccurate beliefs about money.  In addition, much of our self-esteem can be tangled into our financial worth and that can generate a lot more strange behaviour and anxieties and stress.   Too many of us feel held back when it comes to finance.

The first steps are getting a lot more knowledgeable about money.  Luckily there are some good web sites now, specifically aimed at the female market, such as SavvyWoman and Boring Money.  There are also financial advisors that specialise in helping other women such as Miss Lolly and Mrs Moneypenny.

Negative beliefs about money is something I talk to other women about a lot, not least because of their impact on business success.   My three top tips would be

  1. Learn about finance to take back control
  2. Remember that with the right attitude, virtually anyone can make money these days.
  3. Stop making the biggest mistake of ruining your health and or your quality of life by undercharging for your time.  You  are literally, as worth it as the next man.