Mindful money – how to be smarter with your finances and reach your financial goals

By |Published On: April 1st, 2021|

I never found it easy to talk about money, not with my father, not with my partner, not even with myself. But last year I finally decided to grab the bull by the horns and take a new, mindful money approach to my financial situation. I started with a serious long and honest look into my bank account, my future and of course my savings.

In my country they say that when you start thinking about savings and pensions, this is a sign that you’re getting old. Ilana Jankowitz, the Mindful Money Coach, tells me, “It’s never too early or too late to start thinking about savings and pensions! My son is 22 and is already putting away money for his pension plan” and I sigh with relief. 

I never found it easy to talk about money, not with my father, not with my partner, not even with myself. But last year I finally decided to grab the bull by the horns and take a serious long and honest look into my financial situation, my future and of course my savings.

In my country they say that when you start thinking about savings and pensions, this is a sign that you’re getting old. Ilana Jankowitz, the Mindful Money Coach, tells me, “It’s never too early or too late to start thinking about savings and pensions! My son is 22 and is already putting away money for his pension plan” and I sigh with relief. 

How to save money

Yet I wonder why my parents never talked to me about pensions and savings. Don’t get me wrong, I have great parents and we have a wonderful relationship, but money was never a topic, at least not in my presence. Plus, growing up in times of Communism, no-one talked about rich or poor, we were all supposed to be equal. By the time I started my studies at University the communist regime was starting to fall apart. I remember one day people woke up to find out that their savings had disappeared because of  currency devaluation. There was nothing to buy in the shops, and we were cueing to buy food with coupons.

So can you blame me that I don’t believe in saving money? 

How to save money sexy or not

And anyway, talking about savings is not a cool topic. It’s not sexy, it’s not heroic, it doesn’t sound brave…I guess this is why I don’t like to think or talk about it. While you’re young you always think that somehow you’ll figure it out…there’s time, right?! It’s such a common trait all of us humans share: not to act on things until we’re forced to do so!

No matter how long you postpone dealing with your money situation, the day inevitably comes when you have to face it, and sometimes it’s sooner than you might expect. It could be a pandemic, the loss of a job, or the loss of a caregiver, a divorce…something that pulls the rug from under your feet and shatters your sense of safety and security. Then you’re forced into a different world with different rules.

The question is…

How do you take action on your money before you’re forced?!

“The best way to start is to take the control into your own hands. Very often I talk to women who have no idea how much their husbands earn and what gets spent where? They have no idea of the family budget, the car leasing or insurance spendings, and where the money goes. So, the first step is to get informed! Ask questions and have an open conversation with your partner about money. The more you know about your money, the better the decisions you’ll make”, says Ilana.

The problem is that very often women feel uncomfortable talking to their partners about money, and then what? How do you overcome this discomfort?

Understanding women and money

What’s going on here?

Women’s relationship with money is far more complicated than you can imagine. You could blame it on our ancestors and history, but the reality is that most women still have the mindset that men usually handle money in a relationship. So, very often, we voluntarily give our power to men.

Women spending habits

As children we’re taught that it’s not polite to talk about money and that girls are not good at math.

Money is an emotionally loaded topic for women. We tend to extrapolate the meaning of money beyond purchasing power into security, caring for the family, and other “larger than life” ideas that make money more frightening to think about!

Plus, as you all know very well, women run the family households most of the time. They make most of the day-to-day purchases and budgeting decisions, which brings their partners to the conclusion that women spend “their money”, or at least that’s what they say! This story may create shame and guilt in women around money, and could explain their reluctance to discuss the topic with their husbands.

What is the way out?

Money beliefs

“The most important thing to do if you want to take control of your finances is to analyse your personal relationship with money! That’s not easy, because we have beliefs around money that run deep and it’s very hard to even question them! That’s why it’s helpful to try to find a community of other women who you can trust with money questions and concerns. Taboos get overturned through conversations”, says Ilana.

What I found very helpful when I had mindful money coaching with Ilana, was an exercise where I had to write my Money Bio. In that exercise I had to go back to a very early age and connect with what I heard or learned about money at that time. It was surprising for me how much I stored in the depths of my subconscious mind about money. Becoming aware of it made me much more confident and mindful when taking decisions about spending and saving.

“And while looking into your relationship with money, gather the courage to look at your bank statements and make sure you know where you spend money! Dive deep by asking yourself why you are spending? What emotions are driving your spending habits?

Finally start an open conversation with your partner, tell them you want to be part of setting the family budget, while trying to understand and accept whatever money issues you carry around. You may not be able to change these attitudes, but knowing how they can shape your perceptions may let you observe them rather than have them impact your financial decisions” advises Ilana.

“My final tip is to reach out and hire a money coach or a mentor. Sometimes women jump into discussions with financial professionals before even dealing with their emotions and spending habits, or before getting to know the terminology. That makes them even more confused and quite insecure around their financial situation! That’s a mistake because the change should take place on the inside first”, says Ilana when I ask her about the most common mistakes women make when they want to take control of their financial situation.

Ilana wrapped things up by sharing, “One more thing: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you’re not employed and you’re not making money that there’s nothing you can do about your money! In fact there’s a lot to learn so you’re not caught by surprise in unpleasant situations!”

We have the power to change the conversation! Why postpone it?!

Mindful Money Coach

We owe it to our children to help them grow up with a different mindset, and to feel empowered and in control around money!