For Women Seeking Compassionate Financial Solutions - The Financial Empowerment Continuum.
Susan is a domestic violence victim that appeared on my Women’s Money Empowerment podcast. She had been mute for 5 years and has just recently found her voice. She tells her story where she became mute one month after she started pursuing her MBA. As an advocate for rape victims, I have learned that offenders become most violent when their victim asserts personal power, such as accepting a job or attending school. The mind/body connection is fascinating, that she lost her voice – she couldn’t speak for herself. I asked her why she didn’t leave, even before the incident.
She was a successful woman in business, made her own income and had access to her own health insurance. I was stunned by what she said. She said that although she earned money and had access to her own health care insurance at her own place of employment, he had always managed the money, she had her insurance with him and did not take her own insurance, and she did not know how to take over. This makes me sad. She had everything she needed to get out of the relationship but she didn’t have the “perceived” ability, the confidence, and the self-efficacy to make this happen. This is the exact opposite of empowerment. He controlled the money and he controlled her. Well the ending to the story is exciting, she is no longer with him and she is in the process of getting her divorce and oh yes, funny, coincidentally her voice is coming back.
According to the Florida Coalition against Domestic Violence, financial security is the number one predictor of whether or not a domestic violence victim will successfully leave and stay free from abuse. According to Tiffany Carr, the President and CEO, programs that promote financial literacy save lives by providing education on empowering victims to live independently. It gives you more options.
I view empowerment as a choice spectrum (see figure below), where on the left side a woman can’t even choose healthy solutions for her body and mind. As a woman becomes more empowered she can choose what she consumes, how she plans for future consumption through savings and investments and ultimately how she contributes to the community. Being able to make a contribution to the world in her own way is where we meet Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in terms of being self-actualized. Our goal is to help move women from the left of the spectrum toward the right. The hope is to inspire change – to inspire new choices.
Often the situation is not as dire as domestic violence. Carol the 80-year-old woman who I met years ago who was sold a product that left her destitute, did not know the questions to ask when she was sold the product. Anita the woman who worked on Wall Street but upon getting a divorce realized that her money was missing didn’t pay attention to her financial accounts. The middle aged widow, Julia who allowed her husband to choose a single life annuity for his defined benefit plan, now leaving her with no income, did not know the pros and cons of her choices but instead trusted her husband to know best. Any situation that is not healthy or loving, and does not bring out a woman’s best self and support her to live a good life is an opportunity for change. Many times women choose an unhealthy situation out of financially dependency because they are afraid or lack confidence in their ability. We can help remove the worry and fear. We can help you gain the confidence. We can provide tools for change. And it is worth it! Living your life without worry, on your terms, creating a happy life, is a goal for us all to strive for!
WoMEN’s Mission for Smart women who want to control their finances.
As a network of women our mission is to positively change the way all women think of themselves when they engage with money and to inspire them to take control over their finances so that they can live life on their terms.