by Amy Lawson MBA, CDFA®
What does it mean to take charge of your financial future? Pour a glass of wine and let’s get started…
Taking charge of our financial futures is more than saving and investing and planning for someday down the road. Taking charge means assuming control or responsibility. It starts with understanding and accepting that our financial future is up to us. Not our daddies, or our boyfriends, or our husbands. I’m not bashing men. We love the men in our lives, well, most of them anyway. But the fact remains, people, in general, lie, they die, they change their minds; and, if we hitch our financial wagons to the fallible, we could easily find ourselves on our own Trail of Tears.
Obviously, we can’t control everything (though some of us try harder than others) but we can make positive choices as to how we handle our money. But, where do we start? Chances are we’ve all attempted to budget and save, if not invest at some point, only to realize it takes more than good intentions, have we not?
Sticking to a solid financial plan can be as tough as giving up chocolate… or wine… or chocolate with our wine! (Especially smooth, dark chocolate with a full-bodied red wine… yum!)
Thank goodness we don’t have to give up the second loves (chocolate and wine) to find love with the first (a solid financial plan).
Taking control of our financial future starts with our feelings about money. That’s right, it’s all about how we FEEL when we hear the word MONEY. Our feelings about money come from our family of origin and we all have them, be they positive or negative.
For example, if we grew up poor, we might believe money will always be scarce; we might believe we will NEVER have enough, no matter how attractive our bank accounts appear. The most negative manifestations of a scarcity mentality are either, (1) we spend every dime, or, (2) we hoard every penny.
Conversely, if we grew up in a family where everyone’s financial needs were met, we might believe money will always flow our way. The most negative manifestation of this belief is we avoid actively planning for our future because someone else has always provided for us; we don’t know how to take care of ourselves and we don’t believe we should have to take care of ourselves, so we don’t.
What are your feelings about money? When you think about your finances does your stomach turn to knots? Do you fear you will never have enough? If so, despite the fear, do you still struggle to actively save? Do you feel panicky thinking about buying whatever it is you LOVE, knowing your savings account is skinny? Do you then buy it anyway, fearing you won’t have the money to buy it at a later date?
Or, do you tend to hoard every penny, afraid to enjoy life now out of fear you might need every single cent at some point in the future?
While is it important everyone know how to save, invest and plan for the future, it is critical women develop these skills for several reasons.
First, we are likely to live longer than men;
Second, we generally earn less income and have less savings;
Third, we are more likely to take career breaks for caregiving;
Last, we often invest too conservatively.
While not all women will face all of these challenges, it’s important to move forward financially with them in mind. As wise women, we need to move forward with money in our heads, but not in our hearts.
Why not get in touch with your feelings about money? Why not give yourself every chance to create the financial future you deserve? Imagine how good it will feel to see your bank account growing and your credit card balance shrinking. A good place to start is by reading, “Real Prosperity,” by Lynn A. Robinson.
Now, raise your glass! You’ve made it through your second class.
Until next time…
This week’s wine suggestions come from sunny California:
RED LOVERS: Mirassou Merlot. “… a luscious wine with flavors of rich blackberry and black cherry, layered over vanilla undertones and hints of toasted oak and brown spice. This full-bodied wine has a lush mouthfeel and a lingering, smooth finish.”
WHITE LOVERS: Mirassou Chardonnay. “… intense aromas and flavors of stone fruits such as peaches and nectarines, as well as tropical fruits like pineapple. Secondary flavors of melon, pears, citrus, floral, and vanilla notes combine with a creamy mouth feel which culminate in a pleasantly concentrated finish.”
Another reason to try Mirassou… The Mirassou family has been making wine for six generations.
In 1854, Pierre Pellier and his wife, Henrietta sailed from France to the US, (settling in California) bringing their prized grape cuttings. During the voyage, the ship’s water supply ran low so Mr. Pellier bought some potatoes from the ship’s quartermaster, inserting the cuttings, keeping the vines alive.
Some years later, the Pellier’s daughter, Henrietta, married a local vintner, named Pierre Mirassou and the winery continued to thrive.
During Prohibition, the Mirassou family continued to cultivate their vines, “selling grapes for use in home winemaking and for the sacramental wine market, returning to winemaking after Prohibition was repealed.”
In 1961, when increasing urbanization threatened the vineyards, Edmond Mirassou relocated the vineyards to Monterey County, pioneering grape-growing on California’s central coast.
The Mirassou family has continued to innovate, introducing advances in mechanical harvesting, such as “field-crushing grapes in the vineyard to prevent spoilage.”
What we can learn from the Mirassou family: Life gets in the way of the best laid plans, but no matter what crops up, we can learn to adapt and ultimately thrive. Lucky for us, we can enjoy 150 years of wine-making expertise in every sip.