Taking Financial Ownership

How to financially empower yourself

By Leisse Wilcox

Money. Just the mention of it starts to make so many of us – too many – of us squirm in discomfort.

And so many of us, trying to avoid that uncomfortable feeling, never bring it up, and shy away from it whenever possible. But when we willfully avoid something, we create a sense of detachment and disempowerment around it. We let our fear and discomfort steer the ship instead of tackling it head on and coming through it a stronger, more informed, and far more empowered woman because of it.

What we don’t realize is that by leaning into those hard, scary, or uncomfortable feelings, we shine the light on what previously felt dark, and come to see it wasn’t that hard, scary, or uncomfortable at all – it was just unknown.

Let’s turn on that light. Start right now by reading my top five tips on how to empower yourself financially; I promise you it is easier than you think, and you will emerge a stronger, more informed, and far more empowered version of the woman you are. You can do this.

  1. Money is a language – Travelling is a lot easier when you know the language, the culture, the ebb and flow of how this country works. Money and personal finance is exactly the same: when you don’t speak the language, it’s a lot harder to participate in the conversation, and a lot easier to feel victimized, left out, unaccountable, and generally disempowered. The amazing thing is that it’s easier than ever to join this conversation right now: there is a plethora of beginner-friendly blogs, podcasts, hands-on books, all designed to teach you the language in a super accessible and pleasurable way.

2. Mindset plays a critical role – Ultimately what you focus on is what you bring into your life. This isn’t just a “woo” concept, it’s got deep roots in human psychology and brain science. We are presented with 2 million bits of information at any given moment, for us to process through our senses. Because of that level of overwhelm, our brain naturally filters out what it perceives to be irrelevant for us, based on the filters we have created through personal experience. Ergo, believe that money is evil and stressful and scarce and not for you…and guess what? That’s exactly what will come to reality. The good news? When you believe deeply that money is a powerful tool used for good, comes easily and effortlessly, and in bountiful supply, that’s exactly what becomes your reality. What you think, speak, day dream about, and believe matters, so be conscious of your true thoughts and feelings around money; talk to a coach if there seem to be some old, outdated, destructive, or just plain weird belief systems acting on your behalf that you are ready to say “buh bye” to.

3. Personal finance is a tool – Just like your bathroom or kitchen cabinets and garage are full of little individual pieces to make your life better, smoother, and easier overall, personal finance is the same. TFSA, RRSP, weekly budgets, good debt, insurance, emergency funds, and mad cash spending money: each is a tool in your arsenal of tools, housed in your personal finance tool belt. While each one might feel uncomfortable or out of place at first blush or on its own, once you speak the language (see number 1), you can start to see this synchronized dance unfolding, and start to appreciate the function of each in the gestalt picture of your financial life. When you look at it like that, it becomes a lot more palatable to get on board with investing in each tool, to create a secure and empowered big picture of your life.

4. Practice makes perfect – Make peace with the fact that you’re going to make mistakes sometimes; this is a part of our learning curve in all areas of life, and money is no exception. At some point in the process of becoming financially independent and empowered, you’re going to make a bad investment, sign a bad contract, lend money to a friend who will never pay you back, accept – or even ask for and expect – less than you’re worth. This will hurt, at the time – and you will never do it again. As will any origin story of success, there will be some adversity along the way; the important thing to see it for what it is, and bounce back, ready to try again.

5. Gratitude goes a long way – We have so much more than we think we do, or even notice. We take so much for granted in our lives, and that lack of awareness as to how rich our lives are tends to leave us wanting more, more, MORE. But when we turn that attitude around, the one that says too much is never enough, we change the conversation we’re having about our own lives. Start to ask yourself some deep questions to reframe what you have in your life: how much do you really need? What do you feel is missing? How would having that “missing piece” make your life different than it is right now? How does what you have already make your life feel rich and smooth? Never lose sight of the fact that even the most basic conveniences of modern life are a gift, and that right now someone is wishing for what you have. If you constantly look outwards and compare yourself to what you don’t have, you will continue to feel disempowered; shifting that lens to look inward and realize how damn lucky you are for what you have is a game changer – and ironically – once we practice true gratitude for that feeling, we start to cultivate even more of what it is we want more of.

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