Tag: Conversation Circles

Overcoming Financial Imposter Syndrome

Published in: Resources |

You’ve probably heard of imposter syndrome — the psychological phenomenon in which an individual doubts their talents and qualifications, believe they only succeeded due to luck, and fear that they will be exposed as a “fraud.”

But do you know what financial imposter syndrome is? It’s when you finally start making a living wage, but you still feel poor and old habits remain. “If you’ve spent most of your career not earning much, then it’s more familiar to you than being financially stable,” New York Times writer Eric Ravenscraft writes. “Making enough money doesn’t feel real yet, and you’re afraid it will all go away.”

This anxiety can prevent you from taking care of yourself even though you can afford to — you put off expensive dental work, avoid getting your car fixed, or buy cheaper but not as healthy food.

It’s smart to keep living within your means; you don’t want to fall into the trap of “lifestyle inflation,” where you spend more money because you earn more money. But financial imposter syndrome can greatly affect your mental health, and it’s a problem you shouldn’t ignore.

Here are some tips on how to get over financial imposter syndrome.

1. Give yourself permission to spend money.

When you’ve struggled with paying your bills for so long, it can be hard to justify buying something you simply want and that would “only” bring you joy and improve your life. As New York Times writer Eric Ravenscraft writes, “If you manage to get a better paying job and improve your financial situation, no one automatically comes along to teach you what you can do with your new paycheck.” Try to make a conscious effort to break out of old thinking patterns; allow yourself to spend money on things from time to time that bring you joy.

2. Talk about it.

Voicing out loud what you’re going through — with a therapist, a financial advisor, a friend, or mentor — can help you see the financial facts of the situation versus your perception. The Humphreys Group regularly hosts Conversation Circles where we talk about the emotional aspect of money; consider coming to one of our events!

3. Create a script for times when you feel financial imposter syndrome creeping in.

When you feel old insecurities and unfounded worries coming in (e.g. “I can’t buy that — that’s something that ‘other people’ do,” “I’m selfish for spending money on better clothes/food/etc.,” or “It’s just luck that I got this job; I don’t deserve this money.”), have a mantra/script to remind yourself that you deserve financial success and that you worked hard to get where you are now.

Managing the Emotional Side of Money

At The Humphreys Group, we know that wealth management is best delivered with equal doses of expertise (the technical number crunching) and empathy (emotional intelligence). We know that addressing the non-numerical aspects of money results in better financial outcomes for our clients. If you’re interested in talking to us more about financial imposter syndrome, reach out to our team today.

How Pre-Retirees Can Build a Rewarding Retirement

Published in: Resources |

Our world looks drastically different from the days when our parents were planning for retirement. With longer life expectancies and re-visioning of later life, many people plan to keep working during retirement. In fact, a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study, “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations,” found that over seven in ten pre-retirees say they want to work in retirement.

We don’t have to follow the outdated views of retirement from popular culture that if we’re rich, “we should spend our days playing golf, cruising and spoiling our grandkids,” or if we have a more modest income, “we should spend our days in front of the TV, knitting scarves and, if we are especially active, gardening.” Today, we have the freedom to create our own rules of retirement. We each get to choose which rules to break, which to adapt, and which to embrace.

The Merrill Lynch study included this diagram to show how retirement has changed:

Source: “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations,” A Merrill Lynch Retirement Study conducted in partnership with Age Wave


Creating a Fulfilling Retirement On Your Terms

So how can we build a retirement that is best for our specific situation? Here are some tips from our team:

  • For many of us, our busy work lives have simply provided the template for busy retirement lives. The “busy ethic” is alive and well in our culture. Before you fall into a familiar pattern, take a minute to be sure you are considering all possible paths. Ask whether your chosen approach is satisfying your deeper desires before forging ahead.
  • Give yourself a break! Many of us have charged hard through careers and are now (finally) more apt to stop and smell the roses. But that guilt in the back of our minds can be difficult to banish. Simply letting go of social expectations, the “shoulds,” is easier said than done. Why does it have to be a guilty pleasure? Can’t it just be a pleasure? Go easier on yourself during this transition.
  • Gain insight into the specific learning, work, and leisure activities that are especially meaningful to you. Try this exercise: Complete the following sentences quickly, filling in the blanks with the first word or words that come to mind.
    • I have always wanted to learn more about…
    • When I have free time, I most enjoy…
    • What I like most about my current job/activity is…
    • What I like least about my current job/activity is…
    • When I review my own life story or history, the learning experience that was the most meaningful or interesting to me was…
    • When I review my own life story or history, the work (paid or volunteer) experience that was the most meaningful or fulfilling to me was…
    • When I review my own life story or history, the leisure experience that was the most meaningful or enjoyable to me was…
  • Lastly, write down a list of things that get you out of bed every morning.

Retirement Planning with The Humphreys Group

If we could add an item to our clients’ collective wish list it would be this: find a new, better, less stigmatized name for retirement. Though clients have technically reached retirement, they haven’t retired. There is nothing retired about any of them! So, when our work “outside-the-home-for-pay” stops, what do we do? Do we reinvent? Redesign? Retool? Re-envision? Recreate? Reengineer? Rejuvenate? Relax?

Whatever you call it, we’d like to help you craft a fulfilling, engaging, and meaningful retirement. Reach out to The Humphreys Group today for a complimentary introductory call.

How to Shift Out of a Scarcity Mindset

Published in: Resources |

It happens to all of us: it’s 2 a.m., and you can’t fall asleep because you’re stressed and worried — about bills, about looming deadlines, etc. You feel like you’re not enough.

But then other times, sometimes the very next morning, you’re at the other end of things — grateful for the riches in your life.

As financial advisors, the question of “How much is enough?” comes up often, and while we can do the math and come up with a number, the answer is also nonnumerical. It depends on our mindset.

Self-Inventory: Scarcity, Sufficiency and Abundance

Consider a spectrum, with abundance on one end and scarcity on the other, with “enough” as the resting point somewhere in the middle. That middle point is different for each of us, of course.

This exercise will help you to assess your mindset in different facets of your life and will also help you to evaluate the degree of balance between scarcity and abundance you are now experiencing. 

Step #1: On each spectrum, indicate (with a dot, line or other notation) your current level of sufficiency in that particular area of your life. As you’re filling it out, notice how you’re evaluating and defining scarcity, sufficiency and abundance for yourself.

Step #2: Take a look. Which facets are balanced? How many are off-kilter? Are there areas that need attention? In what facets would you like to experience more sufficiency, or even abundance?

Oftentimes, cultural messages influence our mindset and convince us that we don’t have enough time, money, focus, talent — even that we ourselves are not enough. We are constantly barraged with these messages and they can be debilitating, costly, and limiting and can even have a lasting impact on our health and relationships.

Knowing when you have enough can be liberating and energizing. Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, puts it this way: “When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is what we’re all trying to get more of, it frees up immense energy to make a difference with what you have.”

How to Shift Out of a Scarcity Mindset

It’s important to shift our mindset from a place of scarcity to one of sufficiency. Here are some tips on how to avoid falling into a scarcity mindset:

  1. First, recognize the signs of a scarcity mindset. Do you believe situations are permanent? Immediately go right to the worst-case scenario? Feel envious of others? Overindulge? Don’t feel generous with your time or money? If we believe in lack, we often manifest these thoughts and behaviors by default, and they can have a negative effect in many regards. If this sounds familiar, try to seek out your own happiness, choose gratitude over envy, focus your time on what matters the most to you, and make a conscious effort to give more of yourself, invest your time in people, and serve the greater good. 
  1. Identify what specifically is making you feel “less than.” Notice when you feel that you are coming up short and write it down. Consider the factors that led to this sense of deficiency and check them against reality and external factors that led you to feel that way. 
  1. Notice how much time your past achievements have sustained you. If your sense of satisfaction fades quickly after accomplishing something great, it likely isn’t fulfilling to you. You may want to consider channeling your energy into something more aligned with you values. 
  1. Harness social comparison syndrome. It’s easy to get caught in the “compare and despair” trap, especially with the prevalence of social media. We all experience this at some point! Acknowledge your envy without judgment. Get in touch with the aspiration underneath. Are you just using this opportunity to pull yourself down, or is this something you really want? If the latter, ask yourself what steps you might take to, for example, advance your career, or make travel plans of your own. It may take time, but setting an intention can point you in a positive direction. 
  1. Create your own definition of success. Success for one person might be securing the job as a CEO of a company, while success for another might be a full-time job with flexibility so they can get home early to take care of their kids. Measure yourself against what your definition of success is, not someone else’s. Similarly, don’t let one thing define too much of who you are. Think about your self-worth in a holistic way: Are you a good parent, sibling, friend? Do you volunteer in your community? Do you participate in a sports league every week? Apply value to all aspects of your identity, not just if you’ve achieved the traditional prototype of success. 
  1. Practice gratitude. While this always isn’t easy, choosing to be grateful is the antidote to feelings of scarcity. Take some time to reflect on the accomplishments you’re most proud of, and remember that once upon a time, they were all dreams. If you’re having trouble getting started, consider this common wisdom: “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.” 
  1. Gather your own wolfpack. We are often taught to compare ourselves to, and compete against, our peers, and especially against other women. But life is not a zero-sum game! Surround yourself with women who celebrate your success, amplify your voice, and provide support when you fall — and make sure to do the same for them.

Attend one of Our Conversation Circles

We’ve discussed the scarcity mindset and determining “how much is enough” at previous Conversation Circles. Interested in attending one of our virtual events? Let us know!

Fiscal Unequals: Finding Common Ground with Family and Friends

Published in: Resources |

What should you do when you’re invited to a trendy new restaurant that is beyond your budget? What if you’re the one who can’t afford the long weekend getaway or high-end vacation?

On the flip side, when you have more resources (perhaps significantly so), do you reach for the check more often than not? How does it work when you’re willing and able to pay more? How do you talk about it?

Both sides of the imbalance are tough. Most of us have been on both sides of the divide. Whether with our friends, family, siblings, adult children or spouses, finding balance when our checkbooks are unequal can be a challenge.

But our relationships transcend all sorts of differences and obstacles — and they can survive fiscal inequality as well.

Identifying Your Values

It’s not about the money; it’s about our underlying values. When we experience fiscal inequality, exploring what matters most is the place to start.

Finding common ground — common financial ground in this case — in a relationship requires understanding what is important to ourselves and listening carefully to understand what is important to the other person.

An Exercise

In a fiscally unequal situation, we are suggesting that we begin not by talking about money, but by reflecting upon and talking about values and identifying what is important.

Let’s go over some scenarios and how we can use our values as a starting point for navigating the situation. In each of the following scenarios, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What matters to you, and what do you think matters to the other person?
  2. How can you express your values in this situation?

We don’t have to be too rigid about it. Try to make “I” statements and try to avoid solving.

Scenario: You and your friend/partner are moving into an apartment together. One of you can afford $800 and the other only $500.  How do you manage this?

Scenario: Your friend has invited you to a destination celebration — all expenses paid. How do you manage this?

Scenario: You have invited your friend to a beach house for the weekend. Does your friend have to be a “good” guest?

Scenario: You and your friend/partner plan to travel together. One of you is high-thread count, the other has a tighter budget. How to you manage this?

Final Question: Think of someone in your life with whom you have a money relationship. Could be anything from a loan, to a friend who buys you lunch, your hairstylist, your children. If you could have a free and open conversation about money, what would you like to say to them?

When we understand what gives the other person meaning and what they value, we can develop empathy and mutual respect. We also need to be able to communicate what we care about, what is important to ourselves. We need to have a clear understanding of what gives ourselves meaning and what our values are.

Personal Power and Positional Power

There is inevitably a power dynamic between fiscal unequals. For a healthier relationship, it is critical for each partner to uncover his or her personal power, and the source of it, in contrast to perceived positional power.

Personal power is a reflection of your internal state. It comes from knowing who we are and what we stand for — what our values are.

Positional power is a reflection of your external state. It is based on external considerations of status, societal expectations, quantitative measurements like how much you own or how much you earn. Positional power is what creates the sense of inequality in a relationship. 

When you are trying to “prove” yourself based on some quantitative, or, external measure (like how much you earn or own), that may be an indication that there is some positional power dynamic going on. But when you express what is important to you, your own personal truth, you and your partner no longer have to “measure up.” This evens out the power dynamic and creates a safer, less adversarial conversation in which you can identify common values and come up with creative solutions.

Define Your Values with The Humphreys Group

The topic of fiscal inequality clearly has a financial component. But as in so many cases, it’s not about the money. It’s important to explore our values so we can better understand each other and communicate more clearly what we care about. To develop empathy and mutual respect within a relationship, we first need to have a clear understanding of what matters most to us. And, of course, to the person across the table.

It’s important to ask more questions, be more curious, and to make fewer assumptions. The other person may have a completely different set of values than we’d expect — and that’s okay. We need to put our solution mindsets on the backburner.

Want to continue the conversation about identifying our values when it comes to money? Reach out to our team today.

Entering Month Six of The Pandemic: A Reflection

Published in: Resources |

As we enter month six of the pandemic, it’s important to reflect on what has changed and what we’ve learned.

On an individual level, our approaches have certainly changed; things that seemed daunting in month one or two are no longer so — but they have been replaced with new challenges, and the need for new strategies.

Here are some things we’ve noticed that have changed:

  • Our spending patterns have changed, and as you would expect, many of us have had dramatic shifts away from travel and entertainment and toward improving the creature comforts of our homes.
  • For many of us, it has become easier to maintain boundaries, based on our own ideas of what we’re willing and unwilling to do, socially. We have become more straightforward, as maintaining one’s boundaries has become more socially acceptable.
  • We also feel more permission to ask questions about another person’s behavior — because that person’s behavior could affect all of us. And while it may seem easier to ask these questions without judgment, some judgment does undoubtedly remain. More than one of us has “confessed” to having done something that may have garnered a sideways glance or raised eyebrow.
  • We’re making decisions — all day, every day — that come down to a risk-reward tradeoff. Whatever we are willing to do (or not do) is based on our core beliefs and the value we place on the reward. Those valuations differ among us, leading to differences of opinion as to what behaviors are “worth it.” Who ever thought diving into the minute logistical details of getting one’s haircut could be so fascinating?

Coping with An Extended Period of Uncertainty, Loss, And Grief

There’s no getting around it, we are all struggling. It is hard to cope with such an extended period of uncertainty, loss, and grief. Whether it’s the pain of seeing your children suffer the loss of their social connections or the sadness of missing family dinners for months on end, we’re all mustering our resilience to get through this extremely challenging time. And one way we can cope is by talking about our experiences in an unvarnished and honest way.

At The Humphreys Group, we regularly host “Insights & Outcomes: Conversation Circles for Women,” a discussion series where participants have authentic conversations about personal finance beyond the numbers. If you want to attend one of our upcoming virtual events, reach out to us today.

Rewriting the Rules: Dispelling the Myths Around Women and Investing

Published in: Resources |

When a Washington, D.C-based nonprofit held a series of investment seminars for women nurses at a local hospital, only one or two nurses showed up. But when the nonprofit team changed the names of the seminars, emphasizing the words “financial security” instead of “investing,” suddenly the room filled up with attendees.

This story highlights that women are interested in investing. They just see the concept in a different light or associate it with a different name.

That’s right: The idea that women aren’t interested in investing is a myth.

The Investing Industry Was Created “By Men, For Men”

Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street veteran and CEO of Ellevest, likes to say that the investing industry was created “by men, for men,” and therefore defaulted to their preferences and characteristics. She points out how the industry places special importance on trading to beat a market index, rather than doing so to accomplish a specific goal, and is overrun by the financial media, which closely resembles sports networks.

Until recently, most firms seemed to focus primarily on male clientele and often relied on financial jargon that men seem to have a higher tolerance for. And then there’s the industry symbol of a bull — a figure that is literally masculine by definition.

Given all this, it makes sense that women haven’t been particularly enthralled with what most investment firms are offering.

Other Industries Have Also Historically Omitted the Female Perspective

The investment world isn’t the only industry that’s designed this way, of course. Design, business, media and technology have also historically omitted the female perspective. Some female entrepreneurs argue that as a result, men move through the world unaware that it’s been designed for their comfort, while women move through the world encountering small, daily points of friction or discomfort. The pain points they encounter in the investment world are especially detrimental, however, because their financial wellbeing impacts their livelihood.

Fortunately, now that women’s economic influence is growing, it appears investing is the next hurdle they are ready to jump. In 2015, Merrill Lynch found that just over 50 percent of women said they wanted to participate in making changes to their investment approach — nearly mirroring the 55 percent of men who said the same.

And when Fidelity asked what women would most like to learn with 60 minutes of professional financial advice, the first choice listed by women in every age group was “learning more about how to invest my money.” It’s clear that women are more ready than ever to carve out their place in the world of investing.

Like the nurses who attended the educational workshops referenced earlier, we’ve also found that women become especially engaged in financial planning when they realize investments can serve as a vehicle to care for their families, reflect their values and give them peace of mind.

Call it what you will — investing, financial security, asset management — but when women make this connection, chances are they’ll enjoy it more than they ever expected.

Keep The Conversation Going About Money Myths

If you’d like to learn more about money myths and how we can rewrite the rules, download our free eBook Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money. Also consider attending one of our Conversation Circles, where we have authentic discussions about money and everything that comes with it — our fears, our successes, our memories, and the attitudes, behaviors and legacies we’ve adopted over the years.

Women Do Have Financial Confidence, Despite What the Stereotypes Say

Published in: Resources |

In the world of finance, women have long been depicted as indecisive investors, insecure about their financial knowledge and the decisions they make with money. But this is a myth — women don’t lack financial confidence. Here’s why.

Why the Myth Exists

We live in a culture that applauds people who speak and act authoritatively, don’t hesitate or mince words, and make decisions quickly (for better or worse).

While there are certainly women who embody these characteristics, there are many more who tend to think things through before they contribute to a conversation or prefer to gather more information before making a decision. This quality can be easily misinterpreted as a mark of indecisiveness and insecurity when, in fact, the woman who embodies it is simply taking time to reach a well-informed decision.

Research has shown that when complex situations present themselves, women are more likely to evaluate the nuances in the details, while men tend to focus on fewer pieces of data. As you can imagine, this often decreases the quality of the man’s decision-making process and boosts the quality of the woman’s.

Get Rid of the Unnecessary Jargon

Merrill Lynch recently pointed out that even among men and women with similar levels of financial knowledge, women are more likely to say they don’t know enough.

Many of our clients have walked into our office believing they were not adept at handling their finances when, in actuality, they just needed to have their questions answered in a straightforward and transparent way.

More Women Are Taking Charge in Money Matters

The good news is there are early indications that societal changes are improving women’s “confidence” around money, particularly in the younger generation because they are gaining more access to information.

Women ages 25–34 are more likely than their elders to report they learned about finances from one or both parents (62%, compared to 45% of older women), and over half (51%) say they are very confident in their investing skills.

This final statistic is in stark contrast to their elders: Only 36% of women ages 35–49, 14% of women ages 50-69, and 11% of women ages 70–84 said they feel confident in their investing skills.

So, how can we ride this new wave of financial confidence?

What's Behind the Confidence Gap?

Women are often cast as “timid, indecisive investors” when it comes to personal finance. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s time we broke these damaging stereotypes — and it’s time to own your financial power. #InvestLikeaWoman

Posted by The Humphreys Group on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

In Our Experience

Women often discount their financial savviness without considering areas of their lives in which they are already smart about money — family budgeting, volunteer work involving financial management, managing medical issues, and advocating for family members and loved ones.

Women are adept at picking up financial concepts if they are explained without unnecessary jargon or obscure concepts.

And if women are clear about their goals and values, they’ll find making decisions can be simple and straightforward. Once our clients have defined what matters most, decisions fall into place more easily. Aligning our financial resources with our highest priorities and values can provide relief and a sense of certainty.

Keep the Conversation Going at One of Our Circles

We regularly host Conversation Circles for women who are interested in straightforward and authentic discussions focusing on the non-numerical aspects of personal finance. Everyone is welcome — let us know if you’d like to be included in our next Circle!

Negotiating for What You’re Worth

Published in: Resources |

It’s often assumed that women don’t ask for raises, that they act less assertively in negotiations for fear of upsetting the relationship with their boss or colleagues. Books like Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s Women Don’t Ask and Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In have tried to back this claim.

But new research from Harvard Business Review refutes this belief.

Women Are Asking for Raises — They Just Aren’t Getting them

Harvard Business Review found that women do ask for raises as often as men do — they just don’t get them:

“Women ask for a raise just as often as men, but men are more likely to be successful. Women who asked obtained a raise 15% of the time, while men obtained a pay increase 20% of the time. While that may sound like a modest difference, over a lifetime it really adds up.”

This is frustrating to hear. We already know that women earn less than men do (when comparing equally qualified people doing the same job, most estimates by labor economists put the gender pay-gap at 10% – 20%). Now, we hear that when we try to negotiate for a raise, we don’t get it. Our “shortcoming”? Being female.

“The bottom line is that the patterns we have found are consistent with the idea that women’s requests for advancement are treated differently from men’s requests. Asking does not mean getting — at least if you are a female,” Harvard Business Review writes.

Tips on How to Negotiate for that Raise

After hearing this research, you’re probably feeling discouraged. “What’s the point of asking for a raise if research shows I won’t get it?”

Yes, this news is gloomy, but knowledge is power, and now that we know what we’re up against, we can better prepare for asking for that raise. So, now we’d like to provide some research-backed strategies you can use to negotiate for that salary increase, also echoed in Ellevest’s recent article, “The Trick to Negotiating That Raise? Science.” Here are tips they recommend:

1. Get data (internal and external data)

Learn about the internal pay structure of your company. Ask your manager how pay ranges are determined or find out where your position falls relative to others in the company.

For external data, ask your friends and people in your network to find out what other companies tend to pay for the role. Ellevest recommends using resources like Salary.com and PayScale, while other reputable compensation reports can also be helpful. We also love the site, Ladies Get Paid.

2. Group your priorities

Negotiate bonus, benefits, equity, flexibility and, of course, salary as one group. That way, you’re not compromising on every individual ask, and it also won’t seem like you’re asking for too much.

3. Make it a win-win situation

What value — risk avoidance, brand value — do you bring to the company? Bring up these points.

4. Remember why you’re there

You’re there to get paid what you deserve. And research shows we negotiate more effectively when it’s for something bigger than ourselves. When negotiating, think about how a raise would help you, your family and loved ones, and causes you care about.

If you want a chance to talk to other like-minded women about these issues and other challenges that arise around money, please join us at one of our Conversation Circles.

The ‘Fifth Trimester’: Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

Published in: Resources |

In late December, a new law was passed giving federal workers paid parental leave for the first time. (Unfortunately, not all federal workers are covered by the new law.)

This is a great step forward, and we’re so happy there’s being a national conversation around parental leave — it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. But we’d like to push the conversation further.

Companies and parents need to talk about a little known transitional period that author Lauren Smith Brody calls the “fifth trimester” — the time when new mothers, just months after delivery, are going back to work but often before they feel emotionally and physically ready to return.

Returning Back to Work

Brody, author of The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby, writes that the first three trimesters (and the fourth — those blurry newborn days) are for the baby, but the Fifth Trimester is when the working mom is born.

Brody calls that first day back at work the “second cutting of the cord.” From interviewing more than 700 mothers for her book, she found that the emotional through line was guilt. “Everybody talked about guilt, even if it meant a different thing to each person. Everyone talked about coming back to work, feeling different and knowing that people saw them differently, no matter what field they were in,” she says.

Seventy-five percent of the women Brody surveyed said they wished they had been able to take a longer maternity leave. When asked how much extra time they would want, the most common answer was “a few more months.” “Either way, there’s a monumental transition,” she says. “I like to point out that the fifth trimester might be longer for some women and shorter for others. You kind of don’t know how long that transition time is going to be until you’re on the other side of it.”

Gender Equality in the Workplace

There should be an understanding among workers that this Fifth Trimester exists, and motherhood should not be treated as a career barrier.

As Harvard Business Review writes, “The ability to take one’s full parental leave without diminishing one’s promotion, pay, or leadership prospects is crucial for greater gender equality in the workplace and for helping all working parents, and in particular mothers, achieve greater work-life balance.”

Join Us at a Conversation Circle

Brody says that more than anything, it’s important to be transparent about the challenges, but also about the triumphs. “That will also help everyone be less afraid of it, both of going through it and managing people who are going through it.”

If you want a chance to talk to other like-minded women about these issues and other challenges that arise around money, please join us at one of our Conversation Circles.

Goal Setting with Intention in 2020

Published in: Resources |

In a recent blog post, we provided a warm-up to help you discover how you feel — consciously or not — about setting new year’s resolutions. Here’s the exercise again in case you missed it:

Try completing the sentences quickly; fill in the blanks with the first word or words that come to mind.

  1. I think goal setting is…
  2. In the past, my experience with goal setting has been…
  3. I think the greatest value of planning is…
  4. The most success I have experienced in setting and achieving a goal was when…
  5. I find it difficult to set goals when…
  6. What I want to avoid in the future is…
  7. The person who has been the best role model for me in defining and pursuing a meaningful life is…

What emotions and thoughts came up? How do you feel about goal setting for 2020?

Excited? Motivated? Wary? Jaded? Cynical?

Often, we view having strong emotions as being a negative quality: For instance, when we sleep in instead of going to the gym before work, when we reach out to an ex, when we procrastinate… But emotions don’t always have to be bad influences. Love, compassion, sympathy, and loyalty are real strengths; our protective instincts and resolve to stand up for ourselves and others are strengths, too.

So, to show how you can embrace both your emotional side and analytical, rational side when goal setting this year, we’d like to introduce you to a favorite analogy of ours: the elephant and the rider.

The Elephant and the Rider

The elephant and the rider is first described in “The Happiness Hypothesis” by Jonathan Haidt and summarized in “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath.

Our emotional side is an elephant, and our rational side its rider. The rider is perched atop the elephant, holding the reins and seeming to be in control. But this control is precarious because the rider is so small relative to the elephant. Anytime the elephant disagrees with the rider as to which to direction to take, the rider will lose, completely overmatched.

But here’s the deal: we need (and are) both the rider and the elephant. The point is not to squelch one or the other. To change things in 2020, you need both — the rider for the planning and direction, and the elephant for the energy and passion. A reluctant elephant and wheel-spinning rider will guarantee that nothing changes. But when they move together, change comes easily.

The whole point of this metaphor is to illustrate the power of guiding the elephant in the right direction. If you can do that, there’s no stopping you. We focus on emotion because it is such a powerful tool to keep you moving in a positive direction.

What Would an Enriched 2020 Look Like for You?

This year, as you define your ambitions for 2020, we encourage you to utilize both your emotional side and rational side — both your elephant and your rider. Just like how emotions and expertise both have a place in money matters, they both have a place in your goal setting.

If you’d like to learn more about goal setting and planning out your 2020, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter or to participate in an upcoming Conversation Circle.

Wishing you a safe, warm holiday season, and happy holidays from all of us at The Humphreys Group!