WarriorWorrier

How to Be a Warrior, Not a Worrier

 

Hi there and welcome to this week’s episode of the Her Retirement podcast. I woke up the other night in a cold sweat and it wasn’t the first time. You know the sweats I’m talking about ladies.

Since I’ve already mostly gone through menopause, it was probably spurred on by worry…money worries that is. It’s really the only thing I do lose sleep over every once in a while. I’m a pretty good sleeper. However, I did also awake in the wee hours of the morning a couple of weeks ago yelling out loud, “Brian, just shut up.”  Brian is my significant other and I guess in my dream he wouldn’t stop talking. Startled, he woke up and asked me who I was yelling shut up to? Luckily, he didn’t hear the Brian part. Hehehe. I don’t remember what I wanted him to stop talking about, but since he’s a financial advisor, maybe it was about money. LOL

Sometimes I wonder if both of us being involved in the financial wellness and retirement industry is a blessing or a curse because money is front and center in our lives all the time. Some people might assume that because of this we don’t worry about money. Well…guess what? It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, how much money you have or how you were raised as a child. Most, if not all of us, have money worries. In fact, according to an Allianz Financial survey, 61% of us worry about running out of money more than we worry about death. That’s a pretty big number.

For most of my adult life I have always been, let’s say, more concerned about money than worried. The worry has ebbed and flowed with the bumps in the road. The concern I guess is always there, but I think that’s actually helped me stay as disciplined as possible. 

Concern is far better than worry and certainly better than complacency. Concern is actually good for you and your money behavior. Concern is what helps you stay disciplined….at least this is how it’s worked for me. I also believe that your beliefs around money can influence the amount of money worry that you have. Change your beliefs. Change your behavior. Minimize your worries. Worrying doesn’t do anything to change your outcome. Getting educated, changing your beliefs and behaviors, getting help, staying disciplined, and taking action does. It’s all about Getting Her Done. 

I want to share a brief history of my money worry story with you…

I heeded my mother’s advice to do as much as possible early on to avoid money worries (and not be a bag lady). I did good in school, went to college, landed a well-paying career, bought a house by 26, had an adorable little son at 27, saved and invested, funded a college saving plan for said baby, oh yeah, and got married to before the baby. No worries, just concern (Was I doing enough? Was my baby healthy? Did my company value my work?). For all intents and purposes, I was on a great path (and it was all part of my plan). I didn’t really “worry” about money, but I was concerned and focused, and tried to be smart with the little financial know-how I did have. I knew the basics and had a good income. That was enough…for a while.

Everything appeared to be on track, but then the first bump in the road, divorce and anxiety disorder (and that’s the topic of another podcast). Of course with all the other emotions of divorce and my anxiety disorder, my money concerns became money worries. But I eventually recovered from said divorce and the disorder (if you can ever fully recover from a divorce). I kept working, kept saving, and investing. Worries in check. And then one day the company I was working for went public and guess what? I was a millionaire at 35. Money concerns, money worries? Psh…they both went out the window. I was financially free and confident.

And then one day…I wasn’t. In between. I got re-married, had adorable twin girls, left my well-paying career to raise the kids, and over-invested in a lifestyle business so I could make money and raise my kids at the same time, my husband decided to quit his job and start a business too. My business did okay, his didn’t. He continued to be unemployed. Then the company’s stock that made me a paper millionaire tanked and it never recovered. While I did sell some stock early on, it wasn’t enough to keep my millionaire status. Then I sold my business but never got the proceeds. Money concerns came back and turned into full-fledged money worries. I may have had a meltdown too one night on my bathroom floor (maybe a couple more). Eventually divorced again. Another meltdown. Went back to corporate America (begrudgingly) to reinstate my big salary and retirement savings. Started another business in the evenings too so I could eventually re-escape the corporate rat race, kept raising amazing kids, and met my significant other, who happened to be a financial advisor. They say there are those decisions that significantly change your life. Meeting my significant other changed mine, and my money worries. We actually partnered together to change my circumstances and worries. I re-escaped corporate America to pursue entrepreneurship again (encouraged by my significant other and financial advisor). Basically, I started over again with slight money worries. My business did good…enough. Then my significant other and I decided to become business partners too. We built a company called Your Retirement Advisor and then I decided to create another company focused on helping women be wealthiHER, healthiHER and happiHER called Her Retirement. Today, I (mostly) worry about other people’s money instead of my own. And I am feeling wealthier, healthier, and happier than I have in a long time. 

Although I try not to live with any regrets, I do regret that I didn’t seek out the advice of a financial planner before the meltdown of my company. I truly believe a planner or advisor could have helped me with some decisions that would have protected me from that meltdown, and would have given me some future security. It was a lost opportunity. 

I did meet with an investment advisor (provided to all employees after our company’s public offering), but all she did was show me how my stocks could be sold and moved over to her company and her investment choices, and how my assets would grow over time. She gave me this long report of numbers that quite frankly confused me. I felt more confident in my company’s stock than her. I left all my eggs in that one basket. I did sell some stock and pay off my house and enjoyed a few shopping sprees. 

What I remember very vividly is that she didn’t really ask me about my goals and what I wanted to achieve. She didn’t talk to me about the fact that I wanted to have a college fund for my child, that I wanted to pay off my house, or the fact that I wanted some security in my future versus continuing to play the stock market. She didn’t advise me on the fact that I had all my eggs in one basket. She was very focused on just getting her hands on my assets. I didn’t invest with her. I was confused and not confident, and I hate when people don’t ask me about myself and what “I” want. If she did, she and I may both have been better off today. I didn’t continue to search for any other advice and I should have. My naivete’ about the industry and my money cost me. Dearly. This is one of my major motivations for starting Her Retirement. I built it for me and for you and every woman who’s been naïve, confused, and left to her own devices. We can worry less, get educated, make more informed decisions and enjoy a better present and future.

That blessing or a curse that I mentioned earlier, is mostly a blessing because I help women know more, worry less, and have more…now in retirement. At least that’s my mission. But every now and again, when I’m not hyper-focused on other people’s worries and questions and researching and sharing solutions, I say to myself, “Shit is my retirement okay? Am I on track? Are we on track? What if we’re not doing enough? You know…the cobbler has no shoes. Am I taking my eye off my own ball? This is what led me to drag myself out of bed the other night and do a pajama change. I had a moment of extreme worry, probably caused by the economic conditions we’re all facing right now. Sometimes we all need a pajama change, a little meditation, a walk-in nature, or the help of a financial coach or retirement advisor to help allay our fears, calm our worries, and keep us focused and on track. 

By the way, side note, I have not looked at my retirement savings accounts since the whole downturn started. I’m not going to either. I want my glass to stay half full and I want to stay focused that the markets will bounce back (and they will)…with one eye on my ball and one eye on all the women I serve. Here’s to rebounds, bounce backs no more “dribbling” about being worried. Let’s all be warriors instead of worriers….like the Warriors who just became NBA champs. Even though I’m a Celtic fan, the Warriors kept their heads down, beat the odds, and were at the top of their game.

If you’re interested in the details of my money story (all the stuff between the periods that happened), you can read my upcoming book. There’s some stuff I didn’t share because there’s not enough time on this podcast. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cliffhanger, but I need to tell you how to be a warrior, not a worrier. And I want you to read my book.

So I guess with this long intro you can figure out why I decided to do this episode about money worries, and I hope you’ve already taken some notes and lessons from what I shared. That was my point in sharing my story. 

One of my favorite questions to ask people is what do you want to be…a warrior or a worrier? Of course, the answer is obvious, but how do we do it? Let’s dive into some tips. I’m ready to keep practicing what I preach.

Worrying about money can definitely take a major toll on us mentally and physically. It can cause you not to enjoy life to the fullest.

I hope my story and the tips I’m about to share help you stop worrying about money and start living more.

  1. Get educated. Take money courses and ready money books. Focus on behavioral finance books, like the Psychology of Money.
  2. Be proactive. Make a plan, and do your very best with what you have. If you do that, you should feel less stress in your daily life.
  3. Put it in perspective. Many people think their money problems are worse than others, but chances are that others have much more difficult money matters they’re dealing with. It sometimes helps me to think about people who have less than you (do you remember your mom or dad saying, “Just think about all the kids starving in this world?”). When you do this, you may just discover that your money worries aren’t quite as bad as you think they are. You can also look at your money troubles today through tomorrow’s lens. Envision your future and how you will have solved your money troubles. Thinking of your struggles today in light of the future can help. 
  4. Borrow someone else’s beliefs. Even if just temporary it does help to borrow someone else’s beliefs. Whether that’s a financial planner, an author in a book, someone teaching a class, or even me in this podcast or through other content I share.
  5. Make your money goals a game or a competition if you have a competitive spirit. Can you beat your mind at the money game? Try to one-up yourself at every chance.
  6. Create an inspiration board for your life. Visioning is a strong mental exercise and your board should help you stay positive, motivated, and disciplined.
  7. Take a complete inventory of your money, and know your cash flow. Know your net worth. My Her Retirement software platform helps you do this.
  8. Create a spending plan (vs. a budget) and keep it within control. A budget feels restrictive. A spending plan feels more abundant. My software helps you do this and track it too. Remember to spend according to YOUR values, not the Jones’s next door. According to experts, when you spend according to your own values, you’re being true to yourself, and you will likely feel more fulfilled about your money and life.
  9. Create a cash cushion or emergency fund. What you worry about is choice. when I look back on my life at the periods when I have that cushion I would worry less. For instance just this week I had a couple of money shocks as I call them where I had to spend over $700 for an emergency visit to the vet that I hadn’t planned for and then there was a tire that was ruined on one of my vehicles and of course with an all-wheel-drive vehicle you have to not replace just one, but all four tires and that was another $700 plus shock to my budget. My mind first went to concern and then a little worry. But because I’m in control of my thoughts, I said “Ok relax Lynn. You’ve got a cash cushion…everything is fine.  I talked myself off the ledge because I have this cushion. 
  10.  Embrace an abundance mindset. You can choose NOT to worry about money. And instead of having a scarcity mindset, choose an abundance mindset.
  11.  Know what you can control, and accept what you can’t. Focus on what you can control. You can’t control the economy, the stock market, the housing market, or the job market. Worrying about all this and how it will impact your money will not help you. Accept that this is true and instead use your energy to make the best choices possible with your own finances instead.
  12.  Talk it out. Even writing about money worries, and sharing my story and these tips about money worries helps me feel better. Find some family and friends with whom you can air out your worries. Don’t carry it around with you festering. Talk it out.
  13.  And finally…Plan for retirement. You knew I was going to say this right? Retirement is YOUR responsibility. Accept it. Embrace it. Do it. Regardless of how young or old you are….you can always plan and improve. If feeling unprepared is why you’re worried, then know that you are 100% capable of preparing for retirement. Investing in yourself is the first place to start and then investing your money and protecting your money is next. Being future-focused, helps many people worry less about the present.

As we all know, worrying sucks. It affects our overall outlook on life and also shows on our faces and bodies. Who wants that? I encourage you to try these tips, embrace your inner warrior and kick worry to the curb where it belongs. If you need help, guidance, or just someone to talk to, please reach out to me at lynnt@herretirement.com. I’m always willing to listen and I also have people who can work with you one on one to overcome any wealth, health, or happiness issue.

Here’s to knowing more and having more and getting her done.

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