Tag: womenandmoney

Why It’s Time to Quiet Your Inner Financial Critic

Published in: Blog |

When we talk about being “good with money,” we’re not talking about being good at stock market analysis or being savvy about the finer points of the U.S. Treasury yield curve. We are not talking about knowing the latest happenings at the Fed or reading The Economist cover to cover every week. Being “good with money” has more to do with making confident financial decisions on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. It means understanding the kinds of decisions we need to make about money to live securely within our means, and it means doing so in a way that aligns our finances with our values, now and with an eye on a secure financial future.

At The Humphreys Group, we know that women are excellent stewards of their financial resources — plenty of data exist to support this — but even in the 21st century, we find part of our work is convincing clients to silence their “inner critics” so each woman can make the best use of her skills and intellect when it comes to their finances and their lives.

Why do our “inner critics” often speak so loudly to us? And how can each of us silence her own “inner critic” when it comes to money matters and financial planning?

Let’s face it: We live in a world designed by and for men, a “coded patriarchy” that includes most of our financial institutions and affects how those institutions decide to serve their female clients. And because most societies are largely designed to respond to the strengths, preferences and perspectives of men, women on a daily basis encounter the deeply entrenched societal and gender-based narrative that they are not “good with money.”

Since we’re living in a world in which the default definition of success is a male one, when women tell us they aren’t “good with money,” we believe they think this because there is a mismatch between how the dominant male-culture views financial success and how women view financial success.

To counter the dominant male mindset about women and money, our work in silencing “inner critics” begins with redefining what success looks like for women. We spend time with clients examining where they feel strong, knowledgeable and satisfied in their financial lives, and we also ask them to consider areas that may need improvement.

The result? We land on definitions of success that include more than financial wealth, and that also demonstrate how most of us are living our lives with a keen understanding of what it takes to be “good with money.” For many women, components that contribute to being “good with money” include:

  • Doing work that contributes to our self-confidence and our financial security and plans
  • Providing resources and finances for ourselves and families
  • Contributing to our own and others’ well-being in myriad ways outside of money
  • Serving as role models for others at home and as mentors in the workplace
  • Securing our mental, physical and emotional health
  • Building personal and professional networks and support systems
  • Attaining safety and security by managing the physical spaces (bills, repairs, etc.) where we live

All of these factors are part of the equation of what it takes to be “good with money.” If women could design a world based on this view of what it takes to achieve financial success, we imagine the voices of our “inner critics” would fall silent.

To better understand what it might look like if women’s unique strengths, concerns and preferences were the financial norm, and to help silence your own inner critic, we invite you to download a free copy of our recent book, “Rewriting the Rules: Telling the Truth about Women and Money”. We also encourage you to contact The Humphreys Group for further discussion about securing your financial well-being.

3 Myths About Women and Money, Debunked

Published in: Blog |

“Women lack confidence in their financial decisions.”

Sound familiar to you? It’s just one of the many stereotypes that have long-defined conversations about women and money. For decades, these stereotypes have conditioned us to believe that women aren’t interested in investing. That they don’t have the knowledge needed to handle their finances independently. That finance is a “man’s world.”

But the truth? These are complete myths — at least, that’s what the research says. Today, women are the primary breadwinners in almost half of American households and control about 60% of the nation’s personal wealth (a number that’s on the rise). And what’s more, 70% of major financial decisions are made by women.

With the advent of the widespread #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, women all over the world are claiming their power, rights and influence — and financial services is the latest industry that’s getting a wake-up call.

Here are three myths about women and money that we can confidently debunk.

Men are better investors than women

When you think of the word “investor,” your mind may instinctively drift to images of men in suits and ties strolling down Wall Street, thanks to perceptions painted by the media and pop culture. Women are rarely included in these depictions, which sends a clear message: When it comes to investing, society generally considers men to be the more knowledgeable gender.

But the data actually proves this myth wrong. According to a 2016 Fidelity study, female investors tend to outperform male investors by an annual average of 0.4%. The same study also found that men made an average of 55% more trades in 2016 than their female counterparts. Since women are more likely to hold on to their investments throughout market fluctuations, they capture more growth over time.

Women are more risk-averse than men

In conversations about investing, women are often cast as “The Conservative Ones,” while men are positioned to be “The Financial Mavericks,” undeterred by risk and the financial markets. A 2015 study conducted by Merrill Lynch proved otherwise. Of the 5,000 women the firm surveyed, 85% said they agreed that risk-taking is beneficial in investing, and 81% said they could adapt to changing markets and investment outcomes.

What’s more, the study also found that men and women with the same level of financial knowledge exhibit the same risk behaviors. And though it’s true that women often spend more time contemplating the impact of investment decisions before diving in, it often works in their favor, as they take the time to evaluate whether the reward justifies the risk.

Women lack confidence when it comes to money

This is arguably the most popular and well-known stereotype about women and finance — and it’s also one of the timeliest. In recent years, prominent female executives and business leaders across industries have offered up their commentary on “the confidence gap,” or the notion that women are less self-assured than men. In the financial world, this has translated into depicting women as indecisive investors, insecure about their financial acumen and the decisions they make with money.

But the tide is changing: According to Ameriprise, women ages 25–34 are more likely than their elders to report they learned about finances from one or both parents, and over half say they are very confident in their investing skills.

At The Humphreys Group, we have seen firsthand that women are already financially savvy in so many crucial areas of their lives — for instance, family budgeting, volunteer work involving financial management, managing medical issues, and advocating for family members and loved ones.

We strongly believe that self-confidence starts with self-reflection. If women are clear about their goals and values, they’ll find that making financial decisions can be simple and straightforward. When you align your financial resources with your values and the aspects of your life that matter most to you, you’ll feel a sense of certainty and confidence in your path forward.

We invite you to help us change the conversation. Our new book, “Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money,” dispels the myths that have held women back for too long and offers strategies to harness strengths they already possess, in finance and beyond. If you haven’t already, click here to download your free copy today.

Overcome Your Financial Fears

Published in: Blog |

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves:
‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

— Marianne Williamson

Learning to Receive With an Open Heart

Published in: Blog |

As women, we are often encouraged to believe that “it is better to give than to receive” gifts both material and abstract. And yet, “until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart,” states professor, speaker and writer Brené Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

Brown explores how receiving — a kind word, a heartfelt gesture, a thoughtful gift or simply someone’s time and attention — can challenge and overwhelm many of us. We feel compelled to give back immediately rather than relish what we’ve been given; clearly, many of us have work to do when it comes to becoming more comfortable with receiving.

We at The Humphreys Group have worked with clients and sought input from others on the subject of giving, and examined various ways to become better at receiving. We consider this work as important as any financial strategy — it’s a “holistic life investment” that can also contribute to our overall balance and security, now and over the long term.

In addition to Brown’s thoughts, we appreciate this helpful advice and the following thought-provoking observations about receiving from writer Karen Mead:

  • Receiving takes practice. Most of us are taught lessons about giving from an early age, but we must also be open to learning the value of receiving gifts from others, with grace and without guilt.
  • Receiving involves vulnerability. As Brown has also noted, vulnerability is often viewed as a weakness rather than a strength. But if we are to fully enjoy what it is to receive, we must strive to become comfortable with our vulnerability; doing so allows others to give us something of their time, talents or treasures — enriching our lives and experiences.
  • Receiving can “quench our needs” for connection, validation and attention, just as much as the act of giving can (or sometimes more!). If we find ourselves struggling in our attempts to “give with gladness,” we should consider how receiving gifts with joy and gratitude contributes to spreading happiness into others’ lives and provides others with a purpose. In this way, being able to receive gracefully — free of judgement of ourselves or others — becomes its own gift.

“In the long run, we can’t stay emotionally healthy without accepting gifts, both concrete and intangible. Refusing to receive leaves us chronically empty, prone to addiction, obsession, codependency or an eternal psychological hunger that’s never quite satisfied. The healthy alternative is to stop merely closing down and learn to receive wisely,” states the life coach and author Martha Beck. We couldn’t agree more.

Contact The Humphreys Group to discuss how we can help develop a practice of balanced giving and receiving that’s right for you.

Family Legacies: Do They Influence Our Giving Habits?

Published in: Blog |

For many of us, our family legacies have influenced how we engage with the world — including our financial practices. As we grow older and begin to examine our spending, saving and giving patterns, some of us realize our families have taught us money-related behaviors we admire and strive to emulate, especially when it comes to giving. But let’s admit it: it’s not always easy to give. As women negotiating busy, 21st-century lives, how can we sustain and grow the inspiration to continue giving traditions, particularly to the causes and issues we care about?

One thing to keep in mind is that giving may contribute to our overall sense of life satisfaction and happiness, and serve as a model behavior that others around us want to emulate. Study results reported by Fidelity Charitable in 2018 revealed:

  • A higher number of respondents who said they grew up with “strong giving traditions” felt closer to immediate as well as extended family members, and also felt higher levels of happiness than those who reported their family giving traditions were not strong.
  • “Strong giving tradition” respondents were more likely to engage in conversations and negotiations about the value of giving and where to focus their giving efforts; the same group reported parents and grandparents were key influencers of their adult giving behaviors.

When it comes to giving, however, women often forge their own path. A body of research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) continues to reveal differences between the factors that influence the giving behaviors of women versus men. Among the key findings from WPI’s 2018 study? Parents’ giving behaviors, as well as the frequency of parental giving, appear to influence women’s adult giving behaviors more significantly than men’s behaviors.

There may be additional reasons for why giving behaviors and patterns can differ between genders: a 2007 New York Times article cites social research that adds to the discussion about contrasts between what motivates the giving behaviors of men and women.

How can women, who demonstrate distinct giving behaviors, apply what they know about the general benefits of giving to their individual financial behaviors? Additionally, how can women develop long-term giving behaviors and habits that remain within their financial capacities and align with their distinct values so that when they give, they are consciously “giving with gladness”?

We offer a few final recommendations on how to approach giving, and encourage you to share these ideas with your network of friends and family (the one you have or the family you’ve made):

  • Build a network for your financial giving by discussing and sharing stories about the issues or organizations that you’d like to give to, and highlight the benefit(s) your giving could support.
  • If you choose to donate part of “your treasure,” establish a financial gift-giving timeline — monthly, annually, or on another schedule — to ensure you remain within your financial capacities and do not place undue stress on your personal budget and other fiscal plans.
  • As we’ve discussed previously, consider what “time” or “talent” you could provide — volunteering, consulting services, sponsorship, fundraising, etc. — in addition to or instead of a financial gift.

We understand that establishing a habit of giving can be a complex endeavor, influenced by lessons we’ve learned from our families or associated with a variety of positive and not-so-positive experiences related to money. Contact our team to discuss how you can develop a thoughtful strategy to begin meeting your goal of “giving with gladness.”

Give Yourself the Power of Reinvention

Published in: Blog |

Reinvention

There is always the possibility

of reinvention

sometimes born of longing

sometimes offered faintly,

like birdsong in your ear

sometimes —

born of pain.

Life is long for a reason.

So that every chapter swells

with a new chapter of us,

so there is time to change

the meaning of your name

to everyone around you,

and especially

to you.

When the name that once meant

tired girl comes to mean

she who rose again,

– then

art begins.

I met a woman

whose house burned down

and in the ashes

she found the blaze of her self.

Now it roars

still angry, sometimes uncontrolled,

always a blinding light.

If you see her on the street,

bow to her courage.

Stare back into her flickering animal eyes,

and know, she is fighting a fight.

– Tara Sophia Mohr

Are Your Giving Efforts Aligned with Your Values?

Published in: Blog |

It’s no secret: women still grapple with societal norms that encourage us to give generously throughout our lives — of our time, our attention, our counsel, our experience, our leadership and even our physical labor. When we begin to develop financial plans, this emphasis on being generous with our innate resources can cause the idea of sharing our hard-earned monetary resources to feel like a challenge.

However, several studies indicate individuals can feel happier and more engaged with their financial management practices when those practices align with their values, and include “giving with gladness” to causes, organizations and other outlets that matter to them.

The idea of “giving with gladness” is not new, nor is it limited to money. We at The Humphreys Group offer support to clients who want to incorporate giving into their overall long-term financial plans by guiding them to assess how or what they can give when it comes to:

  • Their time
  • Their talents
  • Their treasure

We also recommend that our clients reflect on lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives about the practice of giving to help them examine how they might incorporate giving into their present and future. Some questions we ask them to consider:

  • How have you benefited in the past from another person, organization or cause giving you their time, talent or treasure?
  • How have you benefited in the past from giving your time, talent or treasure to another person, organization or cause?
  • What positive lessons have you learned — in childhood, at home, at school, at work, among friends, from your community — about giving time, talent or treasure?
  • How could these lessons influence you to “give with gladness” now and in the future?

That said, we realize not all giving is done with the spirit of gladness or generosity. Sometimes, our experience with giving has been tinged with guilt, obligation, need or anger. The result? We fear that if we give too much, our financial foundations can become shaky. If we give for the wrong reasons, our relationships with those in our financial landscape may become clouded with resentment, neediness, expectation or disappointment.

To bolster a sense of gladness in giving, we help clients analyze occasions when giving may have prompted stress:

  • Did my giving come with strings attached?
  • How did giving without gladness impact me and those around me?
  • How did I cope with the challenging aspects of giving?
  • What financial strategies can I develop so that I do not experience worry when giving?

At The Humphreys Group, we believe that success at “giving with gladness” lies in each individual developing a plan to share their time, talents or treasures in ways that align with their values and fit within their capacities and abilities. That means taking the time to explore the different dimensions of past giving experiences and learning how those experiences have affected their outlook on and approach to giving. Contact The Humphreys Group’s advisors to talk about developing a giving strategy we all can be glad about.

The Possibilities of 2019

Published in: Blog |

I Dwell In Possibility

 

I dwell in Possibility –

A fairer House than Prose –

More numerous of Windows –

Superior – for Doors –

 

Of Chambers as the Cedars –

Impregnable of eye –

And for an everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky –

 

Of Visitors – the fairest –

For Occupation – This –

The spreading wide my narrow Hands

To gather Paradise –

 

  Emily Dickinson

Vocational Resilience – Making Your Work Life Work For You

Published in: Blog |

For the final part of our series on resiliencies in middle age, in this blog we look at the value of Vocational Resiliency and offer ways to strengthen your professional life and skills as a new year approaches.

Vocational Resilience means securely knowing the skills and talents you bring to your workplace environment. But it doesn’t stop there. This aspect of your life also means you are continuing to explore ways to enrich and broaden your professional expertise, developing additional abilities and strengths, and seeking out new opportunities that may arise from a change in work status (whether planned or unexpected).

What can you do to ensure you build Vocational Resiliency in your work life at middle age? Consider these action items:

Learn. Take advantage of chances to increase your knowledge base, develop aspects of your current professional skill set or discover a new passion worth pursuing. Stay up to date on opportunities to attend classes, lectures, speaker nights and other related learning events; find such opportunities online or by contacting alumni associations and professional organizations.

Network. Professional organizations and alumni associations are also a valuable source of information about social events that may help you broaden your professional network. Remember that the professionals in your network can play a sustained and helpful role with offering advice and guidance should you want to take your work life in a fresh direction or if you face a change in your work status in middle age.

Advocate. Recognize the breadth and depth of your skills, and consider how you can actively put them to their best use in your work life. For example, join a challenging project that would benefit from your expertise, nurture your internal and external company work relationships, or clarify your long-term professional goals so that you know what you want your work life to look like in the coming years.

Mentor. Share work-related lessons you’ve learned and wisdom you’ve earned as a professional by building your support network among younger co-workers who are looking for guidance as they gain their own professional experience. That support is likely to be returned in the years to come.

Prepare. Consider taking your professional life in a fresh direction, particularly as you assess other areas of your life that may need your time and attention in middle age (such as family, health, finances, community). Knowing what your customers and bosses value in you – as well as being confident and knowledgeable about the value you bring to your workplace – can inspire an entrepreneurial mindset that may lead you toward new opportunities in middle age and beyond.

With our clients topmost in our thoughts, during the past few weeks we’ve examined the many areas of resiliency – Financial, Social, Community, Physical, Spiritual and Vocational. Why? Because The Humphreys Group believes in taking a holistic approach when it comes to helping our clients with their financial planning needs.

As the year winds down and with 2019 on the horizon, we support the efforts individuals and families are making to ensure their future well-being in all aspects of their lives. We look forward to offering our professional financial advice and assistance throughout the year to come.

Physical and Spiritual Resilience – Discover What Drives You

Published in: Blog |

As part of our series on resiliencies in middle age, in this blog we look at the value of Physical and Spiritual Resiliencies and offer ways to reinforce your health and mindset as the year winds down.

Nurturing your Physical Resilience means you are making the effort to keep your body strong – eating nutritionally, exercising within your abilities and staying well-rested. However, challenges in your life and at work may negatively affect your health and drain your stamina. We’re often taking care of others during our middle-age years (children, parents, extended family) and providing guidance to friends and colleagues, so be sure to take a step back from day-to-day activities and involvements to assess how well you’re taking take care of yourself. A few questions to ask:

  • Am I getting enough exercise and enough rest?
  • Am I eating foods that strengthen my body and give me energy?
  • Am I taking time to engage in activities I enjoy as a way to recharge my energy?
  • Am I allowing myself some downtime, a chance to breathe from all that’s expected of me?

To foster your Physical Resilience in the coming year, develop a plan and touch base with your support networks, including friends, family, colleagues and health professionals, in your quest to tackle stress or recover from physical issues that may be related to injuries, restless nights, seasonal illnesses or family care.

While building Physical Resilience can be a public effort, tending to your Spiritual Resilience may be a more private, personal matter (although one equally important to foster in middle age). Not necessarily religious in nature, a well-grounded outlook and attitude are as important as maintaining your bodily health.

At this point in your life you possess wisdom from lessons you’ve learned and challenges you’ve overcome at work and outside of the office. You’ve likely found the courage to handle setbacks and surprises, and nurtured a sense of purpose as you’ve grown through the years. To strengthen your Spiritual Resilience in middle age, take some time to examine the factors that drive your behaviors, attitudes and outlook in your personal and professional lives.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What currently guides me toward a deeper sense of myself and my role in life? Examine the values, activities and relationships that currently give you focus, energy, emotional strength, stability and direction. Resolve to bolster those aspects of yourself in the coming year.
  • How can I continue to develop and maintain deeper connections in my work and my life? Learn about mindfulness or meditation techniques, reflect on rituals that are important to you – ones that help you feel safe, calm and connected to a “bigger picture” – and work to share or delegate responsibilities with others.
  • Do I practice self-forgiveness and self-discovery? Middle age is a time when individuals may grapple with unmet expectations or disappointments that can lead to undeserved self-criticism. Remember life doesn’t progress in a straight line: learn how to practice self-compassion, understand what drains you or energizes you, and give attention to activities, hobbies and other aspects of life and work that you excel at and enjoy. Pursue ways to adopt an outlook that keeps self-judgement to a minimum.

Middle age can be a particularly demanding time of life, but The Humphreys Group wants all of our clients to enter the New Year feeling their physical best and confident in their abilities to make reflective decisions in their lives, work and finances. With 2019 approaching, we are here to support your endeavors and help you explore strategies that best address who you are today as you make your plans for tomorrow.