50 Shades of Green with Susan Hirshman

*Editor’s Note: This post was written by investment and wealth management expert, Susan Hirshman. Susan is the author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?

If you were not living under a rock this past spring you probably heard of the best selling book Fifty Shades of Grey.  Thus, I am sure like me, Christian Grey, Anastasia Steel and their submissive-dominant relationship became a frequent topic of conversation with your friends.  What I found most interesting with my friends, was that when all was said and done – our discussions were not really about their sexual escapades – but more about in a submissive-dominant relationship who really has the power?

As I was listening to my friends’ debate this issue, a few common themes arose: need vs. want, victim vs. empowerment, control vs. chaos and self-esteem vs. vulnerability.  I had to smile, because these are very similar choices one has with their personal relationship with money.

Thus, when it comes to you and your money I have to ask the question – Are you dominant over or submissive to your money?  In other words, do you control your money or does your money control you?

Take this quiz to find out:

  1. You have a spending plan in place? Y/N
  2. You have specific goals defined by amount, time frame and priority? Y/N
  3. Your investment plan reflects your specific goals? Y/N
  4. You review your plan on an annual baisis? Y/N
  5. You leave your finances to someone else? Y/N
  6. You know the difference between a mutual fund and an ETF?
  7. You tend to make purchases that are beyond your means?  Y/N
  8. You always want to beat the market ? Y/N
  9. You have cash sitting idle because you can’t decide what to do? Y/N
  10. Your man is your financial plan? Y/N

If you answered yes to questions 1 through 4, congratulations you are dominant over your money!  You are on the path to financial success and security.  Keep it up.

If you answered yes to questions 5 thru 10 you are submissive to your money. Your buying decisions most likely tend to be made on wants vs. needs, your investment decisions are based on fear and/or greed and your theme song tends to be “ tomorrow, tomorrow.”  Most people unintentionally grow submissive and allow their money to dominate them and eventually it’ll turn to resentment. Sometimes it’s nice not to have to make decisions but it’s not nice to have very limited choices when you are in most need of them.  Think about your choices.

If you have a combination thereof – you are on the cusp and depending on your future actions you will go one way or the other.  Most women that fall into this category want to be more financially empowered but they tend to feel that they don’t have the time, inclination or ability to be an active participant in their wealth plan.

These reasons may seem valid, but in reality they are all non-truths that hinder your financial success and independence.  The truth is, to be dominant over your money you do not have to spend hours upon hours on your investment plan – you need to have a broad awareness of the concepts and apply them to who you are, what you want and what you are willing to do to get there.  Thus, investment terminology doesn’t have to roll off your tongue; you don’t have to know the value of the DOW and you don’t have to constantly watch business news shows and read investment periodicals. But, you have to understand is that having financial success requires you to be intentional about your decisions and conscious of how the choices you make today will impact the life you’ll have tomorrow.

The bottom line is that when it comes to personal finances, the only person that is responsible for you is you.  This last point is so important that it must be repeated: the only person responsible for you is you.  I say this with a heavy heart.  I have seen too many bad things happen to too many good women because they were submissive vs dominant with their money.  Please don’t let that be you.  It is never too early and it is never too late to take control of your financial life.

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