Any personal finance blogger will tell you that it’s important to know your net worth. But there’s another type of worth that’s just as important with finances: self worth. Do you recognize and know your worth financially?
This week’s post is to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th and the #WomenRockMoney Movement!
The majority of my money mistakes boil down to a pretty big reoccurring theme: not knowing or valuing my worth.
As a woman, my story is not unique in any aspect. I’ve struggled with feeling inadequate in my career (which started in a primarily male dominated field), not to mention in my everyday life while growing up.
Sadly, I’m sure most women can relate. A lot of us struggle with battling self worth issues across all facets of our lives on a daily basis. Not acknowledging your self worth can lead to painful financial realizations such as earning less.
How Self Worth Affects Your Net Worth
My self worth issues have played out in my finances throughout my life. The good news is, I’m working on them and my self esteem. I want you to think about these financial downfalls. Do they sound familiar? Have you been faced with something similar?
If you recognize yourself in these instances, read on to find out how to work on changing them. We all deserve to live up to our full potential!
I didn’t value my worth as an employee.
I worked for a cable company once and that gave all of their employees free cable, but I lived outside of their coverage area. Rather than ask them to compensate me, or pay for my cable with another company, I let it go because I didn’t want to be a bother.
Not every employer I’ve had does yearly reviews. Which means no raises. Rather than keeping tabs on emails and examples of how I’ve kicked butt for them, I found myself just avoiding the conversation. My low self worth kept me from asking for raises, as well as my fear of confrontation and being told no. My lack of self esteem kept me from being well compensated.
I work hard and do a great job – and yet I used to constantly undercut myself. After 20 years in my field, I’ve finally realized that not valuing yourself and the worth you bring to an employer keeps you from earning as much as you could be. Whether it’s asking for a raise, reviewing your benefits, or adjusting your freelance fees, it’s important to make sure that you and your employer are honoring your worth.
I just took what was offered instead of asking for what I wanted.
Anytime I have received a job offer, raise, or even a housing bid, I’ve taken what’s been offered. I had always been afraid to provide counter offers due to the fact that I was sure I’d lose out. I was afraid I’d be viewed as greedy, self absorbed, or ridiculous.
I also thought that I was just plain lucky to get offered anything at all – so I just shut up and took it.
Now I know that starting a job without the proper compensation can often lead to resentment and a reason to be unhappy. Asking for what you want isn’t ridiculous or greedy. Employment is about making sure both parties are happy and can settle on a good middle ground.
I let others talk me out of trusting my gut.
When it comes to finances, I’ve been a bit of an obsessive dork for….years. I’ve followed Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, and Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I’ve read tons of financial books, watched many episodes of personal finance shows, and have spanned into podcasts about money.
So why in the world would I let a financial adviser guide me without questioning his tactics or knowledge?
Because, once again, I assumed that I didn’t have the same worth that he did. I didn’t trust my gut, and I allowed myself to just go along with his suggestions without questioning them.
Needless to say, the fallout is deafening. Twice now I’ve had to scramble to get tax adjustments done because IRA contributions were mishandled, among other items. I saw the red flags, but chose to ignore them because I didn’t believe in myself.
All those years of studying up on personal finance as a hobby means that yes, I am knowledgeable. I can – and should! – question any financial adviser. Especially when there are red flags.
I know now to trust my gut. Listen to my instincts and question things that make me uncomfortable. I have learned to value my knowledge and financial smarts, as well as my decision making abilities.
How to Change Your Money Situation
So how do you work on improving your self worth? The good news is, if you recognize yourself in any of those scenarios, you can pull yourself back out.
Question your money story.
Your money story is comprised of facts, beliefs and tales you’ve been told that revolve around money. It starts when you’re young, and you learn about what your parents think and how they feel about money. Maybe they struggled to pay the rent, so you learned to avoid money. Maybe they were afraid of not having enough, so you hoard cash and have a scarcity mindset.
It’s amazing how any messages about money – both verbal and not – are picked up by kids.
Now’s the time to stop and think about your beliefs. Listen to what thoughts pop up around money and sit down for 30 mins and write down all your beliefs.
Review them. Question them. Figure out where they came from. Decide if they’re true or not and if they’re worth keeping. Or if they’re keeping you from valuing yourself, your time, and spending money in a way that makes your life better.
Work on your mindset.
It’s so, so important to take a look at your mindset.
I recently read this intriguing, crazy interesting book called “You Are a Badass” and it’s sister, “You are a Badass at Making Money”, both by Jen Sincero. To sum them up in a single statement: You are your own worst roadblock.
According to Jen Sincero, net worth is more than a number on paper. It’s what you think and how you feel about yourself.
If you think you can’t make money, then you’re right – you can’t. If you’re constantly playing the victim, and feeling sorry for yourself, you’ll get nowhere. Because you don’t want to.
Some of the stuff in these books can be a little over the top. It’s a lot of visualization, positive thinking and meditation. To each their own. I have been incorporating these methods into my daily routine, and I have to say I’m amazed by how much my views on money, my earning potential, and my thought process have changed.
I’ve been able to:
- Challenge my money thoughts and how I feel about having it (or not having it)
- Realize what thoughts are blocking my financial path
- Become more open to new ideas about money, my worth, and my earning potential
Have you ever thought of a cardinal and started noticing them everywhere? (Or a similar scenario – you know what I’m talking about.) This is similar. I wanted to earn more, so I changed my mindset and began to see new opportunities. Maybe they were there before, and maybe not. But now that I was open to them, I was able to see them more clearly.
Learn to trust your gut.
You’re a smart, educated woman. You have intuition, gut instincts, and know what the heck you’re talking about. If not, you know how to research until the answer you find is one you’re comfortable with. If something seems off with your finances, dig in. Learn to trust you gut. Enough said.
Spend 15 minutes a day learning about personal finance.
The best way to become financially savvy is to surround yourself with like-minded people and resources. There are so many personal finance blogs, podcasts and books out there, you’re bound to find a ton that you like.
They only way to build a muscle is to exercise it daily. The same goes for your finances. Create a routine where you set aside 15 minutes every day to learn about personal finance so that you’re a pro in no time!
Check out Women in Finance or the Women Rock Money Challenge to get started!
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and take the financial reins.
I’m all about working as a family unit with a spouse on finances. But there are so many women (and men!) out there that choose not to be involved in their family’s finances. They expect their spouse to take care of it. But what if the unthinkable happens?
Arm yourself now, when you’re not under duress, with the ability to run your family’s finances. Does that mean you have to do the budget single handedly now every month? No. But if (God forbid) something were to happen, do you know what bills need paid and when? Do you know where to find all of the passwords, legal documents, and paperwork?
Empowering yourself with knowledge and the ability to take the financial reins can only improve your family’s outlook. Heck, you might even find a better budgeting method or ways to cut expenses.
It’s very important to know your worth and how it fits into your financial puzzle. Without it, you’re bound to fail and continue to keep yourself from living your life to the fullest financially. Work on making these adjustments to help boost your self worth and in turn, your net worth. You got this!
This post is part of the #WomenRockMoney Movement, a large group of female personal finance bloggers who have come together to inspire more women to learn about money. If you have money questions, or want support for your financial goals, learn more about how you can join us at the movement homepage. I hope to see you there!
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