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.  

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

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