Let Go of Fear and Tap Into Your Financial Creativity for Mother’s DayMay 16, 2022
When we think of creativity, “motherhood” and “personal finance” may not be the first things that come to mind. While the myth that motherhood degrades creativity has been debunked, how often do we consider that motherhood is itself a creative process? Whether moms are crafting stories that teach valuable life lessons or building a financial plan that will get the kids through college, mothers are taking bold and creative steps into the world of parenthood.
We can follow mom’s lead by letting go of our ideas about how we “should” approach money and begin incorporating our day dreams into our financial plans. This Mother’s Day, let’s honor mom’s courage and imagination by:
- Recognizing that money is not something to fear, and
- Viewing money as a creative tool
1. Recognize that money is not something to fear
Whether we intend to teach money lessons or not, most children begin absorbing their caregiver’s financial habits at seven years old. For women and girls, these money lessons often focus on fiscal restraints, while men and boys are taught to build wealth. Boys are also more likely to receive financial lessons than girls.
Given these educational imbalances, it’s no wonder that money can put knots in our bellies and fill our minds with FOG – Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. These feelings can create a tense relationship with money, leading to unwise financial decisions. For example, when we feel fear, we may become avoidant. We might always wait for a better moment to create a budget or save for retirement.
While feelings of FOG are completely normal, they impose restrictions that keep us and our families from financial and emotional freedom. By using money mindfulness as our guide, we can begin addressing these limitations by noticing our patterns. Here are some signs of FOG:
Acting on Fear can look like:
- Minimal/no investing for retirement for fear of losing savings
- Minimal/no estate planning for fear of discussing death
- Avoiding talking to a financial advisor for fear of being judged or manipulated
Acting on Obligation can look like:
- Unconditional and repeated financial support for adult children in times of need (like repeatedly paying rent or debt)
- Fulfilling family members’ repeated requests for financial support without terms for repayment
Acting on Guilt can look like:
- Agonizing over spending and small deviations from the budget
- Repeatedly buying gifts or giving away large sums of money to compensate for our actions
Once we recognize our patterns, we can begin to rebalance. When we commit to clearing the FOG, we’re better prepared to make aligned financial decisions for ourselves and our families.
2. View money as a creative tool
With all the financial tales and taboos that we absorb during our lives, it’s easy to forget that money is simply a tool that we can use to achieve our goals. When we look at our finances in this light, we can begin to rewrite the story of what money means to us.
Exploring and clearly articulating our personal goals are the first steps toward rewriting our financial story. Say that your dream is to have a comfortable home base for your family. As you explore what that looks like, you may decide that buying a house is the best way to achieve this dream. Your new goal now offers an underlying motivation to drive your financial decisions, offering both a concrete starting point and a guiding light when other financial decisions arise.
From here, you can think about the practical steps you need to take to achieve the goal of buying a home, like:
- Making a budget and saving for a downpayment
- Managing debt and building a strong credit history
- Assessing what kind of mortgage you can afford
When a fork appears in the road, you can return to your guiding light – buying a house for your family. If other big financial decisions arise, like what kind of car to buy or how to spend time off from work, you can assess these choices in terms of your budget and goal of buying a home. Choosing to spend beyond your budget could impact the timeline of achieving your dream. As the one writing your financial narrative, you get to decide how to move forward.
Let’s write your financial story
As you craft your financial story, you may find that you could use help clarifying the narrative. Think of us as your editors – the people who help you work out the creative kinks. We’re here to help you come up with the best version of your financial story.