Money means more than dollars. It’s tied to our sense of success, to security, to power, to independence. It can be what allows us, or stops us, from fulfilling our dreams. And, for most women, it’s something we don’t give much thought to until we are confronted with a major life change.
For those of us who experience divorce, it may be the first time in our lives that we think about our financial security. The years following midlife present their own financial challenges. Retirement looms, and, with it, the awareness that, the desire for freedom aside, we may be less-than-comfortable about giving up a steady income. Understanding and analyzing long-term care and Medicare necessitate far more brain power than we ever needed in order to earn our advanced degrees. And, somehow, our children assuring us that they will always care for us financially isn’t enough to have us liquidate our bank accounts a take a round-the-world tour.
Some of us, even those of us who have been financially successful in life, walk around convinced that we will end up bag ladies in our final years. We may feel this in spite of what our bank statement or investment portfolio shows. We are afraid to spend money on anything other than a shopping cart. Others of us may continue to spend money as though it will always be there, and the farthest we get toward retirement planning is to buy an occasional lottery ticket.
Whatever our conversation about money, we own it to the same degree as we own our wardrobes. Whether we are married or not, whether we are working or not, whether we are healthy or not, we get to take ownership of our financial well-being. Most importantly, we get to use money not just to save for some point in the distant future, but to create what we want for our lives right now. Whatever we create right now will determine our future.