I’ve begun to notice an alarming trend in conversations with female friends, colleagues, and clients. It’s a hesitation, even repulsion, that pops up when we talk about money and wealth.
In a time when there are widely broadcast disputes between the haves and have-nots (think: the protests across the nation from the 99 percent), wealth is a dirty word, and it’s fast becoming a roadblock for women on their paths to success.
Here are four things to consider when answering the question, “Do you deserve to be wealthy?”
1. What Does Wealth Mean to You?
Your wealth doesn’t have to look like your neighbor’s wealth, Thurston Howell III’s millions, or any other person’s version success. Think about what wealth really means to you, and seek to redefine the word to suit you — not the other way around. Once you figure out what that means to you, own it: Whether you want a closet full of Louboutins or the ability to make massive donations to Greenpeace, be yourself.
2. What Does Your “Wealthy Self” Look Like?
Create your own avatar of your wealthy self. Meditate on it, do a vision board — whatever helps you come up with a clear image. Then ask yourself, what looks different than your life now? How will accumulating your version of wealth benefit areas of your life? Often wealth translates into more time, self-care, travel, or experiences. Think of wealth less as a status symbol and more as a vehicle for affording the life and security you crave.
3. It’s All Relative.
Here’s a secret hidden in plain sight: If you make $1,000,000 a year, but spend $1,000,001, you have less money than the woman who makes $75,000 a year and spends $60,000.
It’s not about how much you make or what’s parked in your driveway — it’s about relative wealth. If you have a surplus between what you’re making and what you’re spending, you’re already on the path to being wealthy. It doesn’t have to be an opulent or extravagant existence, and it doesn’t have to be devoid of passion. Some of my wealthiest clients live comfortably but not ostentatiously, and give large amounts to causes they’re passionate about.
4. Shifting Your Mindset Can Change Your Life.
I recently had a meeting with a client who is getting ready for early retirement. After a productive meeting about his financial plan and investments, he turned to me and said, “You know what really made the difference? The minute I stopped comparing myself and what I had to the person next to me. That’s when I really felt like I was starting to succeed.”
Take his advice, and embrace your version of wealth. By reinventing the word to suit who you truly are, you take the stigma out of being wealthy, and eliminate the guilt associated with being financially successful.
And finally, if you haven’t figured it out by now, the answer to the titular question is: Yes!
Emily Boothroyd is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.