Women, money & emotions - what's the matter?
In 2016, I bought the book “Emotional currency – a woman’s guide to building a health relationship with money” by American author Kate Levinson. In a nutshell, “Author and psychotherapist Dr. Kate Levinson offers fresh approaches to navigating the astonishing range of beliefs about the role of money in our lives, coming to terms with our feelings about being “rich” or “poor,” and exploring our inner money life so that we can put our feelings to work for us in a positive way“ (Amazon website summary).
The book follows a very hands-on approach: it contains many exercises that encourage you to reflect on your relationship with money. In the very first chapters, for example, there is a long list of words we can possibly associate with money. These associations range from failure, guilt, incompetence to independence, status, to self-worth. Note that the list covers several pages – you get my point of how complex and multifaceted our relationship with capital can be.
Money is not only a good we use to pay in exchange for services – in Western societies, it is a symbol of our value.
Note that the value can be attributed by ourselves or others – in both cases, it is quite real. We may not openly talk about it, but it exists. For example, consider for one moment how you feel when you don’t successfully negotiate your salary. Or when you receive an unexpected bonus. Just one week ago, my cousin just told me about how happy an unexpected bonus payment made her – I could see the happiness and pride in her eyes.
On average, women in Germany still make 21% less money than their male counterparts. If we want to change our attitudes towards money and earn more, it might be worth our time to dig a bit deeper.
Could it be that our beliefs about money and our own value were influenced in the past? And if yes, how can we uncover these?
As part of one chapter, Kate Levinson asks her readers to reflect on three questions:
- What messages did you receive as a woman with regards to money – making, spending it, saving it and giving it away, investing it?
- Were you treated differently based on your gender in your family from your male siblings?
- What message did you receive from your parents, family, community, ethnic groups, race and socioeconomic class about women and money?
You don’t need to write several pages or a reflective essay as a response to the questions. Taking three minutes to just read the questions and process them might be sufficient. It is also ok if you decide for yourself that this is not relevant for you at all. I know that in my case, sitting down and writing down what came to my mind helped me sort through some old beliefs I had carried for quite a while.
We at Finelles are here to provide you with all the tools we evaluate as effective ones towards your path towards financial well-being. And it is for this very reason that I like to blog about the psychology of money as well.
Written by Caroline-Lucie Ulbrich
Finelles Founder. Coach and organizational consultant (ECB, Deutsche Bank and UBS).