Seven years ago, I left a cushy corporate job to put myself through nutrition school and launch my own venture as a lifestyle and wellness coach. Within a few years, I had a successful business, earning far more than I ever had.
There was just one problem: I wasn’t saving any of it. What was going on? And, more importantly: How could I turn this around?
A few weeks ago, I discovered the answer—and realized that the problem was far more pervasive than I’d imagined—when I hosted a live session of DailyWorth’s Money Clarity for my clients: 16 ambitious, brilliant, on-top-of-their-game women.
In the session, each woman had an opportunity to share—then rewrite—her “money story.” Several revealed that, like me, they’d struggled with saving even as their incomes rose.
It dawned on me that, even in a room of savvy and successful women, there were still many of us living a financial fantasy—hoping someone or something would come along and “save” us. I wondered: Are we not saving because we’re waiting to be saved?
If so, how could we change our story? DailyWorth’s founder Amanda Steinberg offered some deceptively simple, yet powerful, advice: “Just start calling yourself a Saver.”
Huh? I realized that, despite my best intentions, I’d never actually identified myself as a “Saver”—it wasn’t my story. Now, I asked myself: What would I do differently if I was a Saver? How would my behavior change? Over the next few days, I took three steps:
I placed a bright note in my freshly organized wallet, declaring: “I’m a Saver!”
I opened two savings accounts, earmarking money for specific goals (like a trip with my mom).
I started to ask myself before every purchase: “Is this adding value to my life?”
The change was almost immediate. Instead of just telling myself I’m “bad with money” (and secretly hoping someone would magically fix it for me), I started treating my money—and myself—with more care. Just by declaring I was a Saver, to myself and to others, I felt a greater sense of self-trust and accountability.
It has made a profound difference in my spending and saving habits—and in the way I view my money and myself. By trusting and taking care of ourselves, we realize we’re smarter and stronger than we thought. We find an expansion of freedom that comes from within.
We find that we don’t need to be saved, after all.
Nisha Moodley is a writer, speaker, and coach.