Millennials & Money: How Can We Help Ourselves?

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Millennials have gotten a bad reputation over the years – that we’re entitled and lazy

Entitled because we receive support from our families and live at home.

Lazy because, despite the amount of jobs available, we cannot seem to find one that satisfies our needs. 

If someone took the time to look a little closer at the environment we grew up in, our families, and the institutions that surround us, they’ll be able to see and understand why some of us are in these positions. 

While these are common trends amongst this generation, it doesn’t apply to everyone. There are a handful of us that have been fortunate enough to receive financial education at a young age, to have had families that accurately advised us regarding our financial futures, to have had strong investment and savings advice, and much more. This has led many millennials to be confident in working their finances today and for the future. 

This handful of individuals are setting great examples; however, we still need to be empathetic and compassionate to the fact that they have all had their own woundings from the past that can be impacting their financial decisions unknowingly. 

For example, individuals who received financial education and support as kids could have also experienced compensatory love, the idea that in order to receive from their parents, they had to perform a certain way. This results in the children seeing money as a form of love, approval, and their overall worthiness. When they grow up, they can still have a dependency on their parents to continue this relationship of ‘you give me money to feel worthy and loved’. It is also possible for them to become more of a spender where the items purchased represent the love they may not have received as a child. This can also spill over into their relationships outside of family, and things can get…well….messy.

Of course, how much it impacts them depends on the active archetypes in their lives at the moment – find out yours here! If the individual has an active Creator/Artist archetype there can be a love-hate relationship with money, a very conflicting ideology. Despite their Creator/Artist that is against involvement in the material world, they have to be involved in spending because it’s what they has as evidence of love and affection from their parents. 

Although it sounds illogical for financially literate and successful millennials to have a compensatory love dynamic, it is very common and the majority of individuals experiencing this don’t even realize it’s impacting them as their active archetypes are subconsciously driving their financial decisions everyday.

The rest of us who are not as financially literate have our own challenging patterns and behaviors relative to money that have stemmed from our childhoods and solidified through our experiences. Despite these challenges, we have also experienced tremendous resistance from the institutions surrounding us. Millennials were either growing up or entered the workforce when the recession of 2007 hit. Starting careers in a recession is an enormous challenge for young adults; similarly, those who were still adolescents at the time of the recession saw the enormous impact it had on their parents. Those insanely stressful times have had subconscious impacts on us all, and unless they’ve been identified and worked through, still remain today. 

According to the Investopedia article, Money Habits of the Millennials, written by Mark Cussen, the recession caused lenders to “…tighten up their requirements for loans and extensions of credit” (Cussen, 2019)  which has made it challenging for millennials who are ready to settle down and start a family. It is much more challenging now to get approved for larger purchases. While this has reduced some credit card debt, the debt devil has hit millennials elsewhere: the education system. 

The CNBC article, 62% of Millennials Say They’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck, by Megan Leonhardt, states that “the median amount of loan debt millennials carried was $19,000, significantly higher than Gen Xers’ balance of $12,800 at the same age” (Leonhardt, 2019).  Millennials are struggling to build wealth because they start their careers in a hole of debt and have to slowly climb their way out of it.

Due to soaring housing prices, millennials have to save longer to buy a house. If they are not buying a home, they deal with soaring rents and our salaries are not keeping up with these prices!

Many millennials are caring for their aging parents. Scott Williams of Embracing Carers says “millennials spend 27% more of their incomes on caregiving than other generations in the same situation, and that one-third of millennial caregivers who have jobs earn less than $30,000 on average” (Hoffower, 2018).

Due to inflation, millennials need to save more for retirement than most expect. In 2016, Business Insider reported that by the time millennials want to retire, “$1 million in savings would have the same spending power as $306,000 today” (Hoffower, 2018).

No wonder a large percentage of millennials are either living with their families, receiving financial assistance from their families, and/or struggling to find a job that can support their needs. We all deserve to feel financially safe and have our basic needs met. These systems and unfortunate circumstances are keeping us weighed down and the only way we can feel safe or meet our basic needs is to get that support and assistance. 

Next time you feel all millennials are entitled and lazy, I simply ask you to take a look at the bigger picture as our circumstances are symptoms of a much greater problem in this country. 

Similarly, the woundings and challenging patterns we’ve developed during childhood do not help the situation. We cannot put the blame on anyone, especially not our parents, as they were doing the best they could with the information and skills they had obtained from their families, and so on. These patterns are multi-generational and we must have compassion and provide assistance to help break them to learn new patterns and behaviors. 

The most common archetypes I see actively influencing millennials are the Fool, Creator/Artist, Innocent, and Victim. 

The Fool is…

  • Restless
  • Undisciplined
  • Financially irresponsible
  • Impetuous
  • Optimistic
  • Overly generous
  • Happy-go-lucky
  • Adventurous
  • Lives for today

The Innocent is..

  • Trusting
  • Happy-go-lucky (externally)
  • Fearful or anxious (internally)
  • Indecisive
  • Seeks security
  • Financially dependent
  • Repressive of feelings and beliefs
  • Non-confrontational
  • Feels powerless

The Victim is…

  • Prone to blaming others
  • Highly emotional (melancholy or angry)
  • Living in the past
  • Financially irresponsible
  • Seeking to be rescued
  • Feeling powerless
  • Resentful
  • Unforgiving
  • Living out a self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Addictive

The Creator/Artist is…

  • Highly artistic and/or spiritual
  • Passive
  • Internally motivated
  • Detached
  • Non-materialistic
  • Often loners
  • Seekers of truth

For more information about the Money Archetypes, subscribe to My Big Rich Life and receive a free ebook about the eight money archetypes! 

Curious about your active money archetypes? Take the free Money Type Quiz!

It is clear that millennials today are experiencing internal conflict when it comes to finances. Thanks to the increasingly influential tendencies of social media, millennials feel the need to be accepted, liked, and worthy within their generation. In fact, “..over three-quarters of Millennials want to have the same clothes, cars and technological gadgets as their friends” (Cussen, 2019). Social media also allows people to display their larger purchases, such as homes or cars, for the world to see and envy.  So despite the credit card debt, student loan debt, and dependence on their families, we are still spending on material goods that we do not need.

One challenge this demonstrates is low self-esteem amongst the millennial generation. It isn’t the only thing influencing our financial illiteracy, but it is clearly creating an enormous internal conflict. As a generation, our Creator/Artist that has this conflict with money and detachment from material goods is being heavily influenced by social media and being able to see all the things we don’t yet have. 

So we can become the Innocent, also called the wounded child, feeling anxious and fearful we don’t have enough or that we won’t be able to obtain those same goals. We end up retreating and becoming more dependent while still making irrational financial decisions. We can also become the Victim, resentful of past experiences and/our current situations and the fact that we don’t have all the things our peers have. Or, we can become the Fool and make financial decisions in the moment that do not always end up working out in our favor, but we are optimistic and hopeful that they will. We can also have a combination of these archetypes, where the strings are pulling us from all different angles and making it impossible for us to avoid self-sabotage and living out our self-fulfilling prophecies

As a generation, we constantly feel we aren’t doing enough, making enough, or just plain being enough. The internet creates a competitive marketplace for material goods and life goals. It increases the conflict within ourselves where we want the things we see online, things we can’t afford, things we don’t need, and all the meanwhile we are drowning in debt, just breaking even with our income, and using “…a credit card to pay for basic daily necessities such as food and utilities” (Cussen, 2019).

So, where do we go from here?

To be honest, focusing on financial literacy at this point in time will not be beneficial to us individually or collectively. If we cannot identify or understand our core challenges, we will never be able to change them. Once we are able to do this, then we can focus on financial literacy.

That being said, I am going to provide a few small but significant steps that we can take to reduce these active archetypes in our lives. 

Relative to money and finances, if you are…

  • Anxious or fearful
  • Feeling powerless
  • Resentful
  • Detached

Here are a few simple and easy steps for you to take…

Anxiety/Fear:

  1. Breathing! to help rewire the brain and ease anxiety begin by taking a deep breath in to the count of 5, hold it for 1, then breathe out to the count of 10. I like to imagine the ocean waves coming into shore, and then going back out. Repeat for 2-5 minutes or until you have calmed down. 
  2.  We must ask ourselves, is this fear/anxiety real or a projection?

In a moment of anxiety or fear, ask yourself the questions in the following order: 

  1. What is the worst case scenario of this situation? 
  2. What are some other outcomes that aren’t the worst-case scenario?
  3. Is this anxiety/fear an actual threat to your physical being? 
  4. What do you hope will happen? 

Careless: 

  1. Slow it way down! Whenever you feel the need to make an impulsive financial decision, take the time to write out if you can afford it, why you feel you need it, what it will do for you, what impacts it could have on you, and any consequences you can foresee. Think carefully and logical before making your decisions.

Powerless: 

  1. Positive affirmations to increase self-love!
  2. Daily Right Action! Write out your daily activities and how they help you achieve your goals. This helps get clear about how you are using time, energy, and resources and helps track your actions daily.

Resentful:

  1. Forgiveness of self and others! Holding onto the past will inhibit you from moving forward. Even if we do not feel we are the ones in the wrong, we need to forgive. Forgiveness is the first step to healing the wounds we hold. 

Ho’oponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. You can do this in relation to yourself or others. Whenever you are in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say:

I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

Repeat 2-3x and do this when you’re in your bathroom, morning and night!

Forgiveness letters. Write a letter to whomever you need to forgive and keep it. You can send them if you’re comfortable. 

Detached: 

  1. Get involved! 

If you experience being detached relative to money, you must first start by taking a look at your finances. Find a way to lay out your income and expenses to see what you have. Often, we get so fearful and anxious at the thought of looking at our finances when the reality of the finances isn’t as scary as we think. We can sometime have a patterning to avoid finances. Most people find when they look at their finances, it isn’t that bad.

Find a tracking system that works for you! Quickbooks, Mint, Quicken, and Microsoft Money are all different depending on how your think, organize, and process.

Never doubt what’s possible. We are the drivers for our lives. Despite the challenges we may be consciously aware of or not, we can turn our dreams, goals, and hopes into a reality. All it takes is a little work on ourselves, dedication, and time to turn any challenging patterns to a pattern that will help us fulfill our greater capacities.

Don’t forget to take the Money Type Quiz to learn about your money archetypes!

The Approach of Money Coaches vs Financial Strategists: Women and Finances

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From a money coaching perspective, linear financial solutions will only do so much for women struggling to secure their financial future and it is unlikely that they will help women achieve their financial and personal goals. The first step is to become aware of the drivers and how they impact our everyday actions and decisions. Money coaching helps people change first and then we apply the financial knowledge, putting the horse before the cart. We cannot solve emotional and behavioral challenges with a financial solution, education, or literacy…

This is a response to the CNN article written by the investment strategist Nela Richardson, Women Aren’t Doing Enough to Secure their Financial Future. You can read Richardson’s article here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/17/perspectives/women-saving-retirement-financial-security/index.html

Richardson’s article draws from a female empowerment survey done by her investment company Edward Jones which found that “…38% of women said choices such as starting a family or buying a home were more difficult because they lacked confidence in their financial knowledge” (Richardson, 2019). This trend was found to be more common with millennial women who felt unconfident in making financial decisions. Despite this lack of confidence, “…40% of women said they hadn’t taken and didn’t plan to take any steps to increase their financial knowledge and become more empowered in their financial decision making” (Richardson, 2019). There are a myriad of reasons women feel disempowered towards money and financial decisions; Richardson’s advice for these women is to start now with modest investments and to work on obtaining a long-term financial plan. As an investment strategist, it makes since for Richardson to offer these solutions. From a money coaching perspective, these solutions will only do so much and will likely not help these women achieve their financial or personal goals. 

Common Behaviors & Feelings Women Experience Relative to Money…

  • Disempowered
  • Unconfident
  • Anxious
  • Insecure
  • Crave financial security
  • Embarrassed
  • Caretaker

The feelings of being unconfident and disempowered have been hardwired in women’s’ brains at an extremely early age…

Solutions Provided by Financial Strategists…

  • Modest Investments
  • Make a long-term financial plan

Solutions such as long-term financial plans and modest investments will not help women heal these deep-seated patterns, behaviors, and emotions…

We all have patterns, behaviors, and emotions that are hardwired in our brains at a very early age that create challenges in our lives, but we often don’t recognize these as they are subconsciously driven. Most people don’t know why they do what they do relative to money – it’s the how and why that take expertise to unpack. The money coaching process will help women uncover the subconscious patterns, behaviors, and emotions that are blocking them towards money, will help them set achievable goals, and will help them overcome challenges preventing them from realizing their greater capacity. Curious how you can start this process? Take the Money Type Quiz and receive a free 30 minute consultation.

The survey provides reasons for women and their disempowerment towards money; for example, they don’t prioritize finances because they are busy “…saving for their kid’s college education or helping aging parents” (Richardson, 2019). Saving for retirement in the next 3-5 years wasn’t even a priority for these women. Similarly, women are consistently waiting for a raise or an emergency “…to spur them into action” (Richardson, 2019). Money coaching, which is influenced by neuroeconomics, neuroscience, personal finance, and psychology, perceives that ‘waiting for an emergency’ would result in a fight-or-flight response, the natural human instinct to an emergency. However, we do not make rational decisions in a state of panic if we are not trained to do so. How can these women expect to spur themselves into successful and positive financial action in a fight-or-flight mindset? These woman fall into the money archetypes of the innocent, the victim, and the martyr. It is likely they are insecure, afraid, crave financial security, are too busy taking care of others, and some likely own the classic story of the disempowered female. Richardson argues that the results of the survey can be mended by modest investment and a long-term financial plan, but the challenging archetypal characteristics women experience inhibit them from reaching their financial and professional goals. 

If the primary money archetypes amongst these women are the innocent, martyr, and victim, it is likely that they are not searching for help from a financial specialist. The Edward Jones survey demonstrates “…that 66% of women have never consulted a financial adviser” (Richardson, 2019). An explanation from a money coaching perspective is that this is simply a symptom of the real issue. Similarly, considering the archetypes, these women subconsciously want to stay the financial victim/innocent and don’t want to put any energy towards finances because they are afraid, living out a self-fulfilling prophecy, or they have a closed container of receiving. Why you may ask? Due to the patterns, behaviors, and emotions that were hardwired in their brains during childhood.

If these women do not know what is driving their behaviors, and cannot name them, then there is no way they will be able to change them. Richardson states that the process of creating a long-term financial plan as well as  guiding them to feel empowered and confident towards finances, “…can be broken down into small, positive steps that are not so overwhelming” (Richardson, 2019). While I agree that small but significant steps to change are the key, how will these women stick to their financial plans with a financial strategist? There will be no follow-through of their long-term plans if they don’t understand what is driving their everyday behaviors and actions, thus they will return to their old habits.

While Richardson argues that investing is a first step, I feel financial planning alone will not do anything to change behaviors and dynamics. The first step is to become aware of the drivers and how they impact our everyday actions and decisions. Most of the information given by financial professionals will be lost within 7-9 months and most don’t go back to relearn. Money coaching helps people change first and then we apply the financial knowledge, putting the horse before the cart. We cannot solve emotional and behavioral challenges with a financial solution, education, or literacy. Awakening these women towards their patterns, behaviors, and emotions will create a willingness to stay in a space of transformation.

Money coaching is a therapeutically informed coaching model that can help anyone struggling to stick to their financial plan. Despite the differences between financial strategists and money coaches, they can work hand-in-hand by allowing their clients to discover what is blocking them towards money, working on those challenges, and then providing financial literacy and education. Women have fought so hard to achieve the level of empowerment we have today and Richardson is correct when she states that “female financial empowerment should be next on the list” (Richardson, 2019) of barriers to break.  

Don’t forget to take the Money Type Quiz and receive a FREE consultation!

Check out my previous post on Money Coaching and the Valuable Lessons it Taught Me!

Money Coaching and The Valuable Lessons it Taught Me

Interested in Money Coaching? Take the Money Type Quiz and receive a free consultation!

My perspectives around money, personal finance, business, and my overall happiness have drastically changed in the past 8 months. I went from being anxious and hopeless at 23, living out a destructive self-fulfilling prophecy, to being a far more trusting and knowledgeable sole proprietor of My Big Rich Life! My long-time goal of being entirely independent is so close to being a reality, and it is all thanks to money coaching and becoming a Certified Money Coach (CMC)®.

I remember how confused and discouraged I felt every single day after graduating college. I felt crushed by student loan debt, couldn’t afford to pay rent, was overly strict with myself in terms of spending and saving, and felt that finances dictated my everyday decisions and activities.

Sure, at first I was thrilled to be in “the real world”, but quickly had my spirits crushed when the only jobs I could find were temporary, contracted positions. I thought it was okay at first. I thought it would lead somewhere, that an employee or CEO would see my potential. I came close at some points, but no job ended up fitting. I would either get laid off early (this happened twice), told I’d be given a paid position if I stuck out my contract (never happened), or told that they would stay in touch (never happened). Sometimes I would drive 2-3 hours to meet a new temp agent that would ghost me so quickly, for unknown reasons, I could barely get a “thank you for your time” in.

I constantly thought to myself, “…aren’t these people supposed to be helping me?”

One time I received a call from my boss telling me my last day would be tomorrow. I was shocked and confused as I had a contract stating the length of my job, but it was broken in a matter of minutes. I didn’t even know if this was legal, to be honest. Once my temp agent heard this news, she stopped calling me and reaching out with job offers. I don’t know if she was embarrassed that she had put me in that position, but it was me who suffered the most.

I was broke, receiving unemployment benefits, and looking for jobs that were only long-term. I was so sad and felt situational depression for months, hopeless that nothing would ever happen. I kept a document  listing all jobs I had applied to which simply made me more upset; the list would continue to grow and I remained jobless. I had also made the situation worse by turning down a long-term job for a temp-job in hopes it would have a different end result. Boy was my confidence taken for a ride and absolutely crushed. I cried or complained about my situation everyday. I didn’t know what to do and couldn’t see anything ahead for myself.

Little did I know that I was living a self-destructive cycle. Subconsciously, I didn’t believe in myself. I felt I was unworthy and incapable of receiving, having my own success, and being happy. I was living out the stories of my archetypes – the innocent, the martyr, and the victim. Why did I choose a contract job over a stable, well paying job after my awful experiences with temp agencies?! Why was I so resistant to my loved ones offering financial assistance? Why did I convince myself I couldn’t do anything I enjoyed as it cost money? I was making myself more miserable by the day…

If you asked me about these things last year, I would have told you that the stable job, despite it being a field of my interest, seemed mundane while the contract job was a field that I could maybe expand into. I would have said I didn’t like to financially rely on anyone but myself, that I was fearful of ruining my credit, afraid to pursue anything due to my debt, that I was an extreme budgeter, that I hardly gave anything to myself, and that I couldn’t find a stable way to receive. Now I know that I was acting like the wounded child: fearful, anxious, and dependent. Similarly, by not letting myself have anything that made me happy, I was shutting the door that would allow me to receive financial stability. I was unconsciously participating in a self-sabotaging idea that I didn’t deserve stability, or the potential for growth. I accepted that contract job fully knowing how it would end…and I was right!

I was lucky enough to find Money Coaching, a topic I knew nothing about, even as I sat through the first class. As the weeks progressed I became more curious and motivated; I felt potential in what I was doing. As my personal money history was picked apart, I slowly understood how I could develop my warrior and magician archetypes, and let go of the ones that were no longer serving me. It is so easy to fall into disempowering archetypes if you’re not paying attention to your own thoughts, actions, and behaviors. A big realization for me was that these archetypes aren’t who I am, they don’t make up my personality. Instead, they represent who I am at certain points in time. I still struggle with my issues directed towards money as it is a constant mental, behavioral, and practical challenge. I am working every day to better myself. Money coaching has made me far more aware about myself, my thoughts, my actions, and my potential, something I haven’t experienced for far too long. I know that working with others will only push me to work harder on myself.

Curious about your archetypes? Take the Money Type Quiz!

Before Money Coaching, I thought…

  • Money was the number one important thing. It would bring me happiness even if I didn’t care for my job.
  • Money was addictive, controlling, and I was unhappy without it.
  • Money made me feel powerful – I didn’t grow up wealthy and it wasn’t until I experienced having money that I felt powerful.
  • Money made me feel safe – as a kid, I didn’t often feel financially “safe”, so I try to avoid this feeling. I don’t like to be dependent on another person for my own safety. 
  • Money contributed to my self-worth. I had a toxic relationship, thinking I was nothing without money.
  • I didn’t deserve to be given/receive anything for myself. Money is why I can be passive and reluctant; to ask for help or having someone spend money on me made me feel like a burden.

Money Coaching Taught Me…

  • How to think and react differently about financial situations that, in the past, may have caused stress, anxiety, or guilt.
  • How to balance my passions with my work, thus bringing me more happiness and sense of fulfillment!
  • To be more trusting of the universe, of myself, and of the future.
  • To be aware of my learned, multi-generational, patterns/behaviors towards money. For example, I was saying the same thing to men about savings that my mother said to my father – “Why are you spending money on this? We don’t have that money to spend.” Just an observation, but it’s quite interesting if you ask me.
  • To accept support. There is a time and place for receiving and asking for help is important.  This one goes back to the multi-generational patterns as my father wasn’t one to ask for help either…I took a lot of similarities from his unknowingly.
  • Who I am, my self-worth, is not dependent on money. Wealth is created from the inside.

Money coaching is not for the faint of heart…you have to be ready and dedicated to change. If you’re not ready for change or not in a coachable mindset, you will not get the desired results. True commitment, and time, are what takes to see positive changes in your life. The process can be emotionally and mentally exhausting as we do a deep dive into your personal history, especially your memories in relation to money.

I ask you to take the Money Type Quiz and see which archetypes you are living with at this time in your life. I will provide a free 30 minute consultation to discuss these archetypes and how they may be creating challenges in your life.