I Didn’t See Myself Being a Good Teacher/Coach
I’m what some people might call a Type A, perfectionist, or over-achiever. I have high standards for myself. Growing up and while in school, unlike many other Asian parents, mine didn’t pressure me to receive certain grades or go into a certain profession. I was always the one that was self-driven and put lots of pressure on myself.
Knowing that about myself, I didn’t pursue a career in teaching, despite having contemplated becoming a teacher during my freshmen year in college. Yet, somehow, being in academia attracted me (and the over-achiever in me) and I went on pursuing a doctoral degree. While finishing up my advanced degree, I was a teacher’s assistant for two semesters. I did not enjoy that experience. I lacked the patience. Being a mother has been a trying experience for me every day. I’m very thankful to have an extremely patient partner along my side.
Several months ago, when my husband suggested to me to consider doing financial coaching with him, specifically to work with couples, I immediately closed the conversation. It was not that I lacked interest. Everything I do and share on this blog stems from my strong desire to inspire, encourage and promote smart and savvy financial skills. I just didn’t see myself being a good coach. I lacked the confidence.
Self-doubts were casting all over my head. To give you an example:
The Then and Now
In several of the early articles of this blog (such as here, here and here), I mentioned that my husband loves numbers, analytics and investing. And he’s very good at all three. He started educating himself on personal finances, the stock markets and investing while in his mid 20s, and he continues to do so each day. Even though he’s not a day trader, he follows the markets (and major headlines) daily and analyzes our investment portfolio performance against several market indices. We use Personal Capital to track our finances and net worth. You can read my comprehensive review of this free online financial tool here.
From the start of our relationship, he’s always been the one that spends more time taking care of our equities (stocks) and fixed income (bonds) investments. This is still true even after I had my transformative moment (you can read about my story here). Despite my accelerated learning of the stock markets and investing in the past year, he’s still the more knowledgeable one.
One thing that has been different in our relationship since that transformative moment is that nowadays I take a much more active role making investing decisions with my husband. I have a desire to learn from him (and many others) and continue to build my financial knowledge. Whereas before, I was glad to let him take care of all investments-related matters. Even when he tried to get me involved, I quickly dismissed his efforts.
Two People in a Relationship
Wishlist and Bucket List
Do you recall when you first started having a wishlist or bucket list? I didn’t have one until I was in my mid-20s. Before then, I didn’t desire much. I was simply happy just having the essentials or necessities. I understood my financial situation as a student. My mindset at the time was that my situation was temporary and wanted to focus my attention on doing well in my studies. I looked forward to the day when I finished school, secured a satisfying career and then start living the life of my dream.
What was the first item that made it to my wishlist? It was a Marc by Marc Jacobs crossbody bag. I saw that bag on a fashion magazine that I subscribed to at the time.
Around my 25th birthday, my husband and I visited Saks Fifth Avenue. When I saw that bag sitting on the shelf, I hesitated and started having second thoughts. The price tag was $249. It was a VERY expensive bag. My most expensive bag prior to that one costed me less than $30. My husband and I walked in circles around the store as I had a very hard time deciding if I wanted us to spend that kind of money. It was just a [beautiful] crossbody bag…After perhaps 45 minutes later, my then boyfriend was paying for the bag at the cashier register. And that was my first designer bag. From there, I went on to purchase couple Michael Kors bags.
Deciding on the Now or Later
As promised in this post (click to view), I’m now sharing an update on how I have been working to overcome my fear and making efforts talking with my friends about personal finance.
About two months ago, I found myself feeling stressed. It was around back-to-school week, and several of my stay-at-home-mom friends all wanted to get together with me around the same time. And all of them suggested going out for a meal. I felt conflicted. On the one hand, I wanted to say yes to getting together, but my social budget was limited at the time.
Early in 2016 when my husband and I decided on a FI date (financial independence), we became even more conscious about money and spending. Prior to that, like many of my peers I looked forward to every social gathering where food and drinks were involved. I’ve always been a foodie, and hanging out with friends over delicious food was my idea of a great time. However, once my husband and I decided on a FI date, I drastically changed my spending habits and my views on spending in general. And not all of my friends are aware of this new change yet.
For that same reason, I struggled. I didn’t want to make up excuses to decline the invitations. I was concerned that this drastic change in behavior might have my friends thinking I was no longer interested in spending time with them (I used to say yes to dining out almost always.). I didn’t want my friends to think I was rejecting them. And if I were to share with them my lack of desire to do social spending, would I make them feel uneasy? How would my friends feel about the changes I’ve made in my life recently (where spending is concerned)? Will my friends support me? I had all these concerns and questions in my head. I really wanted to avoid social awkwardness!
In part I of Girlfriend to Girlfriend Money Chat, we read that many women feel uncomfortable discussing money topics with their friends. We also gained some insights into why women generally refrain from talking about personal finances with those they’re close with. Then, I shared some of the internal struggles I’ve been experiencing and my vision for my girlfriends (and other women around the globe) as related to their financial confidence and sense of empowerment. In that post I also shared with my readers a plan for actions so that my behaviors align better with what matters to me.
Today, we’re going to explore additional strategies to spread financial education and support women’s financial empowerment. I’m currently using several of them and seeing great results. As you read, think about what’s applicable to you and your circle of friends. There’s no natural order to follow. The strategies are meant to be causal and subtle so hopefully your friends won’t even notice what you’re trying to encourage. Also, some conversations can flow in ways allowing two or more strategies to be used together. If that’s the case, even better!
Take Advantage of Context:
I already discussed this strategy in Part I of Girlfriend to Girlfriend Money Chat and shared couple examples. Think about the life stages where you and your friends are at (e.g., fresh out of college and climbing up career ladder? planning for a wedding? raising young kids? saving for your kids’ college education? having to provide for your parents financially? getting ready to retire?) and take advantage of those common grounds when starting conversations on money topics. There’s no doubt that (almost) every aspect of our lives involve money. Find out what you and your friends can learn from each other.
Volunteer Information First:
During your get-together with friends, usually you get an opportunity to talk about yourself. Take advantage of moments like these and share with your friends what’s happening in your financial life. Are you having a hard time keeping up with your student loan payment? Are you about to receive some inheritance money and you would like to spend that money to pursue higher education? You’re a frugal person, but your boyfriend is not? You want to buy a new refrigerator this year, but your husband wants to wait until next year? Once you start sharing, you’ll be amazed how much your friends will open up about their money situations, too.