Why making more money won’t solve your financial problems


One of the problems we face in personal finance is that it is not enough to tell people what to do with their money. How it is worded and explained is as important as the message. Can you do it in a way that gets people to take action, rather than just nodding or clicking on the next story online?

Vanessa Bowen has a few thoughts on this. As a Chartered Professional Accountant and Money Coach for Women, she works with clients to change their relationship to money. Here’s a edited version of an exchange we had via email, including its own finding that making more money doesn’t solve your money problems:

Q: Vanessa, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you became a financial coach specializing in helping women take control of their finances?

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A: Like most people, money was not the topic of discussion around our table. So when I started my CPA career and started making money, overspending and accumulating debt became my new normal. Fortunately, I had a mentor who sat me down and taught me how to manage my finances better. As I got out of debt and changed my own financial habits, I started sharing my journey with other women and realized that we all have the same insecurities, beliefs, and relationship patterns with money. . I decided to focus on helping women with their finances because I have lived their journey and understand that financial independence can change a woman’s life.

Q: Let’s say you are reviewing a new customer. What are the top two or three pieces of information you use to get a feel for someone as a fund manager?

A: I want to know their financial history – their financial struggles, the mistakes they have made and continue to make, and their thoughts and feelings about money. I also want to know why they come to me for coaching, and why now. The answers to these questions provide a good indication of whether the person is truly ready for financial change. While some people think they are, I have found that many are not really ready to change their ways and take steps to create their own financial freedom.

Q: You talk on your website about thinking in your youth that making more money would solve your financial problems. I get the impression that a lot of young adults today have the same idea when they talk about hustling and high risk investments. What advice do you have for those who think everything will be fine if they have more money?

A: If you can’t handle a little, you won’t be able to handle a lot. Making more money while having the same bad money habits will only get you into bigger financial mess faster. I think people often use this as an excuse to keep avoiding their finances – I know I did. I tell my clients all the time, it’s not about how much you earn, it’s about what you do with what you earn. Create the right money habits before you make any money, and you’ll be more likely to keep that money instead of wasting it.

Q: What are some common themes among your clients who in the past have tried unsuccessfully to take control of their finances?

A: Lack of financial education and accountability – even with the best of intentions, people always end up having their money in the wrong accounts or wasting it on bank charges. I think there is a bit of a pendulum when it comes to fees and people sometimes lean towards fees without realizing it – I had a client who was paying $ 75 a month in bank fees! But there is another side that rewards you for your banking operations. We moved her to a free PC Money account so she could spend $ 75 on debt instead. Now she also earns points on all her purchases, which frees up even more money to pay off her debts.

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Q: Let’s go back to the previous question: What are the signs that you are in control of your money and are on the road to financial independence?

A: Budget, spend smart, and build your own financial security. Budgeting may seem like a chore, but people in control of their money take the time to do it – half an hour a week to take stock of your finances may be enough. People who spend wisely are always looking for ways to get more from their money. With interest rates at their lowest, many are turning to bank accounts that reward them for their spending. When it comes to financial security, people who are in control of their finances also have an emergency fund. If the last year has taught us anything, we never know what life can bring.

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