Unveiling the silence: Women and financial avoidance
In the bustling landscape of 2023, women in the UK continue to face a persistent obstacle that often goes unnoticed: financial avoidant behaviour.
An alarming number of women, regardless of their income or social status, find themselves shying away from conversations about money until they're left with no choice but to confront the matter head-on. This financial avoidance, deeply rooted in societal norms and cultural expectations, hinders their progress, perpetuates gender disparities, and stalls their empowerment.
Cultural influences and gender disparities
In many cultures, discussing money remains a taboo, especially for women. The ingrained notion that financial matters are the domain of men persists, hindering open conversations. Consequently, women might avoid discussing finances due to fear of being judged or dismissed, leading to a lack of confidence in their own abilities to manage money matters.
Confidence deficit regardless of income
It's a surprising truth that the lack of financial confidence knows no bounds of income. Even women with substantial earnings can struggle with financial self-assurance. Lack of confidence translates into missed investment opportunities, delayed retirement planning, and a general feeling of unpreparedness for the future.
Ikigai and the importance of purpose
Japanese culture introduces the concept of Ikigai, which means "a reason for being" or “having a life purpose”. According to Mieko Kamiya, a renowned psychiatrist and author, fulfilling needs – including having a sense of purpose – is essential for overall well-being and having Ikigai.
Applying Ikigai to finance, women may be able to find purpose in managing their financial lives. Just as one would consult a recipe and understand the basics of cooking before preparing a meal, having a fundamental knowledge of financial concepts is crucial.
Empowering women with purposeful financial education
Encouraging women to gain financial confidence involves creating a safe space for them to ask questions without fear of judgment. Women should be inspired to seek out knowledge, ask questions, and continue to ask questions until they understand the answers fully. Knowledge empowers; therefore, investing time in financial education tailored to personal goals is crucial. Workshops, online courses, and community events can provide invaluable resources, fostering financial literacy and confidence.
Further empowerment on a wider scale
Beyond understanding their purpose in managing finances and empowering themselves through education, women can take proactive steps to empower themselves financially. It sounds easy to do, but many of us find it difficult to keep up a new habit – try the following.
- In the same way as you may monitor your health, try doing a regular financial check-in which can help identify potential issues early on. How much have you got in your day-to-day account and what is expected to come out before you next get paid?
- Create a budget tailored to your individual needs and wants which can provide a clear roadmap setting out how much you have to spend and what you need to save.
- Seek the guidance of financial advisors, especially those sensitive to the unique challenges women face. They can offer personalised insights and strategies.
- Networking with other women who have successfully navigated their financial journeys can provide valuable mentorship and support, breaking the isolation often felt when dealing with financial matters.
Why working with a coach could be beneficial
The role of a coach is to provide a non-judgemental, confidential space for the client to take a step back, reflect on their goals to achieve or obstacles to overcome, and help them carve out their own sustainable solutions. There are plenty of valuable books and online articles available on finance, but the guidance and information contained are generic. They do not consider you as an individual. They do not consider your experiences, your beliefs, and your values – all of which are unique to you.
As you are the expert on yourself, then investing in some sessions with a coach to understand why it would be important to have more knowledge or control over your finances and the impact that would have on you (and perhaps others close to you) could be life-changing.
A coach could help you unpick what you have tried to do previously to achieve this; or support you in planning your next steps on how you are going to make things different going forward.
In conclusion, breaking the cycle of financial avoidance among women in the UK requires a collective effort to challenge societal norms, provide accessible financial education, and most importantly, encourage women to define the purpose of having financial confidence.
By acknowledging their worth and embracing why having this knowledge and understanding can be helpful to them, women can confidently navigate their finances and make informed decisions that pave the way for a more secure and empowered future. Managing finances is a skill that can be learned, and every woman may not need but deserves to be financially confident and independent.
If this resonates with you, then please contact me to further understand how working with a coach could help you become more financially confident and empower you to take a more proactive approach to managing your money.