WomensNet News

June 2nd 2011

WNN: Take Control of Your Cash

How Women Entrepreneurs Can Have Power Over Money, Emotions, and Beliefs
by Christina Lambert

I came across a book I thought women business owners (and aspiring business owners) like you would be interested in. It’s not a book on finding business grants for women, or getting business funding. But I think it’s worth 7 minutes of your time to review the highlights.

In 2009, Karen Pine and Simonne Gnessen published Sheconomics.

SheconomicsINPOST

Pine, a developmental psychologist, and Gnessen, a seasoned financial coach, have approached the barriers that often prevent women from being financially successful – and help find a way around and through them.

What’s the most common barrier? Our own thoughts.

Well, Pine and Gnessen offer you a new model.
A new way of thinking.
A clear plan for taking financial control.

Here are the highlights.

The Laws of Sheconomics

Law 1 –Take Emotional Control
Become aware of how your emotions affect the way you behave with money. Your attitudes about money are shaped by emotion. Instead of acting on an emotion – think about it.

Try to identify what’s causing your feeling. For example, is it a reaction to a current issue or challenge?  Is it a result of a past experience, memory, or stored emotion?
Decide if the emotion is relevant. If it’s a real danger warning, heed it.  If it’s reinforcing bad habits, ditch it.  Then create a healthy response in line with what you’re aiming to accomplish (not your feelings) and take action in a way that will lead you closer to your goal.

Law 2 — Go Beyond Beliefs
Your financial beliefs become your reality and influence the way you behave.  Your beliefs determine what you achieve (or not).
For example, if you believe that you’re simply not good at earning money – guess what? You probably will continue to be bad at earning money. But if you believe that you can be financially successful, there’s a real good possibility that you will be!
Pine and Gnessen give this bit of advice, “First, you need to identify the things that are stopping you from being rich. Maybe you don’t ask for a pay raise because you’re secretly scared you’re not worth it. Once you’ve worked out what’s standing in your way, you can start to change your behavior and attitude towards money.”

Law 3 — Spend with Power
Be practical.  Make sure all your spending decisions are made for the right reasons. To spend with power, you need to understand why you may need to make a purchase.  The key word is “need.”  Resist any compulsion to make an impulse buy.
Keep track of your spending.  Create a spreadsheet or track your spending in a notebook or on your Iphone or Blackberry.   Do this continually and track yourself month by month.
Now you have real data to better analyze where you be able to cut spending and what areas may be real needs – especially if you are trying to grow a profitable business.

Law 4 — Have Goals
In order to have goals, you need to write them down.  Goals are specific.  Goals are realistic.  If you have a business plan these goals should come right out of your plan.   Make your money fit your plan.  And by the way — your business goals need to fit your life goals.  Having clear goals takes the pain out of resisting impulsive decisions.

Law 5 — Look Debt in the Face
If you have debt, this can be a tough one.  Certainly there is good debt and bad debt.  Bad debt is debt that you know you can’t afford to pay back. So you need to make a plan.  Make sure you figure out what you owe and how you’re going to pay it off.  List and prioritize your debts.
Pay off whatever you can right away and then work out how much you can afford to repay each month.  Choose a target date for becoming debt-free.

Law 6 — Share Financial Intimacies
It’s important to talk openly and honestly about your finances with those that you love and trust — including your business partners.   Actually, talking about money can be one of the things that build trust in a relationship.  If this is an area in which you feel challenged – you’re not alone.  Keeping financial secrets is a plague in any close relationship whether with a spouse, business partner or close friend.
Sharing financial intimacies is about building trusting, honest relationships.  It’s about being brutally honest with yourself.  The first step is realizing that you need to communicate with those important people in your life – listening for their perspectives and advice.  Begin with those relationships that you know are safe.  Practice financial intimacy.  It’s freeing.

Law 7 — Know Tomorrow Comes
Why put off for tomorrow what you can be doing today?  Tomorrow will come and you need to be prepared for its coming.  This is about having a plan for the future.  Do some research about pension plans, mutual funds, college savings plans.  Take a look your goals and determine priorities and timing of predictable expenses.

Embracing your goals will help you avoid making “here-and-now” decisions in a vacuum. Understanding your larger plan will help keep you on track to achieve it in the proper time.

With these laws, Pine and Gnesson take you into the depths of common thought patterns often held by women and explore their views about the female psyche.  These “laws” actually uncover truths that will help you make purposeful and powerful financial decisions.

One of the most profound points in Sheconomics is that many times we hold beliefs that limit our potential – especially in business.  You can be the best wife, mom, family organizer, counselor, and doctor… but be completely turned around financially.

Beliefs lead to behaviors.
Behaviors lead to habits.
Habits form lifestyles.

Remember — self limiting thoughts can be the root cause of financial paralysis.

Certainly, Pine and Gnessen don’t advise that simply changing your thinking about earning gobs of money will enable you to magically do it.

Sheconomics does encourage you to carefully analyze your current thinking.

Take specific actions to alter any current negative thinking.

Create a positive goal focused approach for your business and your life.

Disclaimer:  Pine and Gnessen seem to have the opinion that women shop to cope and make feel-good impulse decisions that are gender specific. I think that these thoughts are socialized and these types of behaviors are learned.  I am not one to believe that ALL women think the same and love to shop and ALL men are just better at making money.  I also don’t believe that we just “need to control ourselves” to avoid spending money impulsively.   At times, I thought the book was stereotypical.  However, it does provide a good framework for taking control of your financial decisions.

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