Financial Fluency Episode #7: Breaking The Silence

Today I want to talk about breaking the silence; Why I felt it was important to start this podcast, why I feel it’s important for women to talk about money and why I want to facilitate the kinds of conversations that I’ve been having with my guests on the interview episodes.

Money is different for women than for men. It has always been!

You can listen in below & Tweet it out here

Why is it Different?

I personally believe that part of the reason for this is that it’s only been in very recent history that women have had any kind of personal control over money at all. It wasn’t until 1975 that a woman could hold a credit card in her own name without a male co-signer or guarantor, and usually that was either her husband or father.

That’s really recent history, that’s going back to our moms. Go back a bit further and women couldn’t inherit property. Anyone who is into Downton Abbey could see that in that show, but it was over here in America as well, and if you go back a bit further in history, women were property. We were traded for cattle and other goods in the form of dowry, and straight up slavery too.

In some parts of the world, women still are property, and in all parts of the world, sex slavery and domestic servitude still exist, so we have a different relationship with money in terms of history than men do. Men have always had more control over it and more control over us.

And We Talk About E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G But

I see nowadays that women talk about all kinds of things, we talk about marriages and boyfriends, we talk about sex lives and gynecology appointments, but money has been a taboo subject for women forever. TWEET THAT!

SATCIn thinking about this and talking to some friends about it, we remembered an episode of Sex in the City, the TV show from the early 2000s that explored all kinds of things, especially women talking to each other about their sex lives.

I remember a particular episode where the main character found out her rent controlled apartment building was going co-op, and she either had to buy the apartment or she had to move, and she needed a $40,000 down payment in order to buy it, which she didn’t have.

One of the reasons I found this episode so telling was that they did end up having some conversations about money, and it was really hard. These women who shared so many deep, personal details, intimate details about their lives, struggled to talk about the real financial situations that each of them were in.

When Carrie brought up this problem about not having a down payment, not having any savings to her friends, one of them, the pregnant lawyer who was about to become a single mom and had savings, she had things planned out, she had her rainy day fund and her emergency fund, she offered to help Carrie, which of course she refused because her friend was about to have a baby.

I forget what happened with Samantha, but the one who was really uncomfortable with it was the wealthiest one, Charlotte, the WASP-y character. At first she absolutely refused to have a conversation about money, she got up and left, and she didn’t offer to help her friend, which is what Carrie was upset about.

Eventually by the end of the episode, she gives her friend her super huge diamond engagement ring from her recently ended marriage, which was kind of a weird way to handle it. (I would rather have seen them go to a lawyer and write up a promissory note and figure out interest rates and everything, but that’s okay, this isn’t reality.)

The point of it was, they could share all of these deep things about their friendship, but talking about money was really hard, and I think that’s true for a lot of women, and I think that there are a lot of reasons for that.

So, Why Aren’t We Talking About it?

Some of those reasons are the same reasons that I think we need these forums for women to talk about money.

One of them that I see is that women tend to have a sort of financial shame that I don’t see much evidence of in men in the same way. I’ve seen the same woman feel shame about not being as financially successful as someone she considers a peer or someone she admires in one moment, and then turn around later and feel shame about having more than someone and wanting to hide the fact that they have more.

So it’s like it comes at us from both sides. We struggle with being successful and having a lot of money, feeling good about that without feeling we’re making someone else feel less than because we have more. We then also feel bad about letting other people know when we need help when things aren’t going well, when something’s gone wrong and we don’t know what to do.

It’s hard for women to reach out and get help about financial situations.

This kind of shame that we’re talking about and the silence that it creates is a real problem for women in a way that I think is different than for men.

For one thing, it’s easier for employers to pay women less than men if women don’t find out how much other employees are getting paid for doing the same work, and then they don’t negotiate up to that same rate that men would feel more comfortable doing.

It’s also a problem for us in things like divorce negotiations, not wanting to seem greedy. We seem to have all these hang ups around money;

  • We don’t want to seem greedy
  • We don’t want to seem snobby
  • We don’t want to be poor
  • We want to keep up with our peers
  • But we also don’t want to make anyone else feel bad about money!

In a lot of ways, women as a group, we’re still learning how to think about, talk about and wield the power that money gives us, to accomplish the things that we want to do in life.

And we also struggle with not falling prey to the super unequal pressure that’s placed on women by the marketing world, by the media, by advertising as a whole, to get us to spend and consume and go into debt. Women are marketed to in a very different way than men are.

So all of those things combine to make money different for us!

Let’s Not Forget that Gap, too

On top of that, we also have things like the pay gap, the fact that we get paid less.

Nowadays women more and more are completing college and getting tons of student loan debt, but then when we go into our careers, we’re the ones taking time out of our careers to have children.
We not only forego salary during that time:

    • We also miss opportunities for advancement
    • We miss cost of living increases
    • We miss promotions and pay rises
    • We miss contributions to our 401ks – if we even have the kind of job that has a 401k –

and missing that early on in our career can make a huge difference towards retirement savings.

If you look at a man’s career trajectory during those exact same years when women are taking time off to have kids, they don’t have any of those things going on. Even if women decide not to have children during that time, the idea that they may take time off to do those things could mean that they get passed over for positions in projects or for promotions, just because they’re that age and they “might” want to.

So there are a lot of reasons that earning is different for us, spending is different for us and saving is different for us, so that’s why I wanted to start this podcast, to focus specifically on the issues that women have with money.

It’s Happening, We’re Making History

Right now we’re at a unique time in history. Right now women have control over a larger portion of the world’s wealth than we ever have at any other time in history, and women in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, we’re the ones who have the most opportunities to take advantage of this.

But what we do with our money, how we handle it, how we teach our daughters about money, that affects women worldwide.

Jen and girls
What we are doing now, it’s a sea change. There is so much going on and I’m so excited about it. I feel like all of us should be excited to be a part of this, because while we are tackling our own personal finances on one hand, we’re also figuring out ways to make the working world a better place for women, to try to even up the pay gap and figure out how not to have the mommy penalty where all of us suffer, because some of us have to take time off for kids.

Let’s be honest, does the world want children in it? Children are important, children contribute and children are what keeps our species going. Should we really be punishing women for having children and taking time to take care of them? TWEET THAT!

Now is the Time

I feel like this generation right now, we’re figuring this out. More and more women are becoming self-employed, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and finding ways to really balance out their care giving role with their bread winning role, without either one completely falling down.

I feel like working for ourselves, although we miss out on a lot of the safety nets of benefits and job security that used to be associated with traditional employment, now we’re figuring out some of those things for ourselves, and I think our generation and the next couple after us are really going to make huge strides in that.

So that’s another part of the conversation that I want to bring into this is that, while, yes, we’re focusing on our own personal finances and our own businesses, but there’s also something much bigger going on that I want us all to be aware of and feel like we’re a part of because it’s really exciting and it’s going to be great.

And That is My Why

So that’s why I started this podcast, I wanted to share that with you. I think it’s time for us to break the silence of women not feeling like they can talk about money. It’s time to stop harboring the shame, because let’s be honest, when you’re ashamed of something, you hide it, you’re quiet about it. TWEET THAT!

When you actually bring it into the sunlight and talk about it, usually the shame evaporates. That’s true for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, all kinds of things, so women who get into debt and don’t know what to do about it and have crazy amounts of student loans, don’t want to share it because they’re ashamed.

This is what we should be talking about, we should be talking about how we get into this, how the world is kind of slanted a bit unfairly towards making us consume and spend and feeling like that’s what we’re supposed to do, and the more we talk about it, the more we can help each other, and find new ways to go about things.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode, I really appreciate you being here. If you like it, please subscribe and join me every week. Thank you.

If anyone wants to write me, my email is I read all my emails personally, I would love to hear what you would like to have addressed in this podcast, and any feedback that you have. Thanks so much.

Available here on iTunes

Financial Fluency Episode #1: The Last Preschool Tuition Check

Hello and welcome to the first ever episode Financial Fluency: Speaking The Language of Money with me, your host, Jen Turrell.

I am so excited to be here. This is my first ever podcast episode on my own podcast.

Over the course of the past several months, I’ve been on a lot of other people’s podcasts, and I found that I just really loved the format. I loved talking to people and speaking into a microphone.

It suddenly seemed much easier to explain ideas than to sit and try to write them for a blog, and after that find links, and make sure the links worked and later put them into my blog post and do all of that. So, a friend of mine suggested, “Why don’t you just start your own podcast?” And I thought,

“Yes! Why don’t I?”

So here it is, Financial Fluency: Speaking The Language of Money, and I’ve titled this episode “The Last Preschool Tuition Check”, because it’s something I’m celebrating myself right now.

A Big Day

Today, I took my two kids to their first day of school, and for my five-year-old, it was her first day of kindergarten. So, even though today was a half-day, tomorrow is a half-day, but on Monday, starting Monday it’s going to be the first time I’ve ever had both kids in full days of school at the same time since they were born.

So, it’s pretty exciting, and kindergarten is a big milestone for your kids, but paying that last preschool tuition check is also a big milestone for the finances of the family. And, especially a family where preschool was providing time so that both families could work. Yeah, that was pretty exciting.

The other issue for us was that having my little one in preschool (both of my kids have special needs), and going to a few half days a week to a public special needs preschool and several hours of private preschool as well.

They were both at different schools, obviously. And my older child was at another school in a different location. The driving between all of them took a lot of time and gas on a daily basis, sometimes help from other people (hired help) driving my kids around so that they got to all the places they needed, all the therapy, activities and different school things.

And so NOW is the time!

Now it’s all simplified, and I’m super excited. And, that’s one of the reasons I chose right now to start my new podcast, because I know I’m going to have these full days of school so that I can get things done. It’s not the only thing that I’m working on right now.

I’ve recently started my Mastering Money Matters Membership group, which I’m super excited about.

I’m also working on a new course that does not yet have a name, so that is coming in a few months, and I’m pretty excited about it.

Those are the things that I’m planning thanks to both of my kids having full days of school. So, if you have kids who are having full days of school, I would love to hear how that’s affecting you and your work life and your business, if you have your own business. Let me know in the comments box below.

A Few Quick Tips on Financial Fluency

Let’s go over a few quick tips on being good with money and on having a fluent financial feeling in your life.

One of my favorite tips to give people about financial fluency is to catch yourself being good with money. When we’re trying to change a behavior in ourselves, in our pets, in our spouses (hee hee), or anybody, one of the best things to do is to catch them doing the right thing and reward and reinforce it.

So, How Can We do This With Ourselves?

The first thing is to be on the lookout for it.

Any time you make a good money decision like:

  • Saving some money
  • Picking money up off the floor
  • Looking at something you want, but putting it on a Pinterest board and not buying it on an impulse

all of those things are good things you can congratulate yourself for!

Record Your Wins

Furthermore, if you’re contributing regularly to a savings account or retirement account or something like that, notice it and collect some evidence.

Take a screenshot, take a picture, make a note of it to remind yourself, and review that evidence periodically. Soon not only will you think of yourself as being good with money, but you’ll also start to notice more and more opportunities around you to make the most of your money day to day. You’ll become really laser-focused on more things that you can do to be good with money.

Get Some Accountability

Another thing that I think is a fantastic tip when you’re trying to be good with money is to surround yourself with a supportive community. Peer pressure doesn’t end in high school. It can be positive, or it can be negative as we know from the high school type of peer pressure.

If you’re surrounded by people who are

  • Negative all the time
  • Negative about money
  • Negative about rich people,
  • Negative about what people who make more money have to do to get it or;
  • How they’re bad or evil

those people aren’t really going to help you towards your goals.

Kind of like finding an exercise buddy who is going to meet you at the gym and be disappointed if you don’t show up, it’s great to find either a person who is also trying to improve her financial life or a community which is compatible with how you want your financial life to be.

Some Helpful Groups

There are a lot of groups which I’ve joined in the last few years that do this. Denise Duffield-Thomas’s Lucky Bitch* group is one that I love. Rebecca Tsaros Dickson‘s Rich Bitch* is another group.

*I’m not sure why they all have the word bitch in them. I don’t usually swear in my regular life, but it’s the name of the group. Fair enough.

And, that’s also part of the reason why I started the Mastering The Money Matters group for people that I work with, because I feel like having a safe place for us to discuss money matters is a really good thing.

For ages, it’s been taboo for women to talk much about money, and when you think about it, it hasn’t been that long that we’ve had the opportunity to earn money, especially separate from men.

It’s only been since 1975 that women have legally been able to hold a credit card in their own name without a male cosigner. Did you know that? 1975. That’s not that long ago.

And, if you go back not too far before that, I don’t know if you watch Downton Abbey, but I watched the first few seasons pretty avidly, so we all know it’s not that long ago that women couldn’t inherit property without either having a male heir or a husband to inherit.

And, if you go back not too far before that we were property. You know, there were the whole dowries and trading cows for women, and some parts of the world that’s still true.

So, I think it’s important for us, more than anyone honestly, to talk about these things, to discuss it, to figure out how we feel about it, to make our own money stories and really feel confident that we can do this. That we can wield the power of money for good. We can use it to create the lives that we want. We can.

Money Goals

For me personally, because I have two kids with disabilities, what money means to me is security, making money, saving money, and accumulating wealth. It all goes towards the future goals that I have for my kids, so that when I talk to our financial planner about my retirement goals, they don’t end at my lifespan; they end at my daughters’ lifespan.

And, that makes things different for me than for some people.

Some people, let’s look at the Gates’, their goals are to eradicate malaria, which is a pretty impressive goal.

It kind of depends where you are in the world, what scale you’re on, lots of people have family goals. Some people have worldwide goals, but I think that all of us can use the power of money to accomplish things that we couldn’t without it, and to make the world at least a slightly better place than it was before.

And, I think that women are more attuned to those kinds of goals, sometimes the men, (no offence guys – I’m not trying to make sweeping generalizations about men and women.)

Track it

But, back to my tips, now that we’ve talked about the positive community. I also think that tracking your money is one of the most important things you can do to get a handle on what’s going on with it and feel in tuned with it, and not afraid of it.

Technology makes it super easy now. We no longer have to rely on jotting down notes, or copying our receipts, typing them into spreadsheets; things like that can all be done pretty automatically if you’re using credit cards and debit cards online.

I personally love Mint. I’ve been using it for years, and while I’ve tried out a few other things, I haven’t fully switched from Mint just because it has the functionality that I like.
Some other good ones are

  • YNAB, (You Need A Budget)
  • Pocket Expense
  • Good Budget
  • Home Budget

There are a lot of these apps that hook up to your bank accounts and credit cards, and then you can let them do the heavy lifting of importing all of the transactions. Most of them are smart apps so that as you allocate each transaction day-by-day, they learn from that, and after that they automatically allocate future expenses in the same way.

So if you have a favorite restaurant with a weird name, the first time you’ll probably have to allocate that as “meals & entertainment” or as “dining out,” “restaurants.” then as it comes up time and again, the app will learn and always designate it as ‘restaurant’ less work for you!

Those are the few quick tips that I wanted to share right away.

Back to Women Briefly (Guys, Don’t go Away – it’s Important)

Back just briefly to the preschool issue, I think that a lot of women that I work with personally are moms, not everyone is, but a lot of the people either are moms or are planning on being moms at some point.

So, I think that now more than ever, getting a handle on our finances is really important for women. For one thing, we’ve had the wage gap forever. It still hasn’t fully closed. We also tend to take time off to have kids, furthermore, generally; it’s women who take time off to care for aging relatives as well, aging parents.

A lot of times people say that’s part of the reason for the wage gap, that women don’t get paid as much, because it’s anticipated that we’ll take this time off, but there are also so many other penalties.

Some Examples

We miss out on cost of living raises, not to mention actual promotion opportunities during that time.

We miss out on working on important projects, getting passed over for those things because people think we may have kids at some point.

And then there’s also the issue of divorce, which I don’t like to bring up with happily married couples, but the truth is 50% of us get divorced here in the United States, and a study showed that women come out worse off and men come out slightly better off in terms of their standard of living from during their marriage.

Again, there are a number of reasons for that one.

Men tend to continue working and make more money and have greater earning potential after a divorce, and women tend to have less of a potential if they’ve stayed home.

We also tend to live longer, which gives us more of a potential to live longer than our savings can support, and during our working life we save less. Partially, because we make less, and then we tend to have fewer jobs in that 401k corporate world.

A lot more women are still teachers, a lot more men are still principals, a lot more women are still nurses, and a lot more men are still doctors.

These are some of the reasons I particularly work with women, and some of the reasons we need to work on finances more than anyone else really.

It’s time. It’s time for us to do it.

One more reason that I want to bring up why this is important to me and why I feel extremely passionate about it is that the number-one reason cited in domestic violence cases for why the woman didn’t leave sooner is because of financial dependency.

Financial abuse is really common in domestic violence cases. The fear of having no income and no account of your own which only you have access to, that if you walk away, sure, you could go stay in a shelter for a month, but then what? Especially, if you haven’t worked for a long time.

And also in terms of senior abuse, women are far more often targeted in terms of abuse financially.

So, these are all the reasons I think it is super important for women to take control of their financial destiny.

Take it into your own hands. Even if you have a fantastic capable partner, you never know what’s going to happen.

Women do tend to be widowed; I think it’s two thirds more often. Like I said, we live longer. Even if everything goes great, and you never get divorced, at some point in your life, you’ll probably have to manage your finances, and there is no time like the present.

My Big Podcast Dream

I would like this podcast to help women talk about money, learn about money, and figure out what they don’t know, and make sure you know that if something happens to your spouse, you know where all the important papers are, you know what you guys have and what’s going to be available to you.

Even in the case of divorce, and even if none of those things happen, I still think it’s important for women to understand their own finances.

So, that is my podcast for today. Thank you for joining me, and we are going to start interviews with fantastic women next week. I really appreciate your time, and I will talk to you soon. Thank you.

Psssssst! Did you miss it?

Your Ultimate List Of The Web’s Best Resources On How To Save Money And Feel Wealthy is here.

Saving money and feeling wealthy is easier than you think.

This guide will give you practical steps to finally taking control of your finances and start saving money.

Need a little more help and accountability, check out my Mastering Money Matters monthly membership group right here.

Finances, Pay Gaps And Football (That’s Soccer to Us Americans)

Finances Pay Gaps and Football
The pay gap in sports hit the headlines again recently with Team USA’s Women’s World Cup Win.

The US women’s team beat Japan 5-2 in the World Cup final. Alarmingly, they were paid $2m against the $35m paid to Germany for winning the Men’s World Cup.

In addition, the US men’s team took home a cool $8m – four times as much as the women -despite only reaching the last-16 of the tournament.

As Mary Pilon writes, in an article published on Politico:

Pay for professional women’s soccer players is at best paltry and at worst outright shameful compared to those of their male counterparts.

She also highlights the incredible difference between the salaries of key male players, saying:

“The National Women’s Soccer League has salary ranges reportedly from $6,000 to $30,000, which in some cases may put players below the poverty line in the cities in which they compete. Each National Women’s Soccer League team operates with a salary cap of around $200,000, which is about how much David Beckham makes frying an egg (let alone bending one)”

New York politician Carolyn Maloney spoke out against the ‘discriminatory policy’ of against the US women’s team in a letter to the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter:

“This year’s World Cup proved that women playing soccer can inspire a country and bring a crowd to its feet just as men can”, she writes, “But women will never achieve equality in the sport if FIFA itself discriminates against them….We have heard the excuses for centuries, but the time has come for change. I urge you to take a stand and commit to rewarding men and women equally for excellence on the field.”

So, why is the pay gap so large?

Well, some argue it’s not sexism but economics – that women have different bodies and abilities, so quite literally cannot play on the same field.

Others argue that the whole pay gap is a myth anyway – an argument very tricky to hold up when the gap is as cavernous as it is in sport right now.

Atlas published a graphic showing the startlingly obvious data, making this simple comparison: the minimum salary for a player in the National Women’s Soccer League is $6,842, compared with $60,000 for the men’s soccer league.

In the past, poor coverage of women’s sports has led to little advertising interest and sponsorship.

However, with the phenomenal win of the US women’s team hitting the news pages worldwide, isn’t it time to re-think how we treat women in sport?

Psssssst! Did you miss it?

Your Ultimate List Of The Web’s Best Resources On How To Save Money And Feel Wealthy is here.

Saving money and feeling wealthy is easier than you think.

This guide will give you practical steps to finally taking control of your finances and start saving money.

Need a little more help and accountability, check out my Mastering Money Matters monthly membership group right here.