5 Min ReadFinance 03 June 2020
Amidst a global pandemic and growing research which suggests women are severely affected by COVID-19, it's an opportunity to make big strides in our effort to address larger societal issues such as equality and justice, reproductive rights, poverty and domestic issues like financial abuse, as well as income security and retirement. It is estimated that 46% of women are "not too confident" or "not at all confident" about their ability to live comfortably after retirement, compared to only 31% of men who feel that way.
After my husband died unexpectedly, leaving me a 31-year-old widow with two small children, I realized that all women need to have a firm financial identity. I also found my voice in raising awareness about women's financial empowerment and issues such as financial abuse, as well as the importance of gender equality, diversity and financial inclusion. Women's rights have become my passion, and I realize that, globally, we can't fully achieve holistically wealthy communities if women don't have access to the same opportunities to thrive and be successful. This is especially the case, given through COVID-19. Indeed, women can't be fully empowered, if they're not financially empowered.
Financial abuse is often the first sign of dating violence and domestic abuse. However, it hasn't received the attention and profile that it ought to. According to Allstate Financial, one in four women experience domestic violence in the United States. 99% of those cases also include financial abuse. Financial abuse is one of the main reasons why victims are unable to leave an abusive partner or have to return to one as abusers typically control the finances to ensure that their victims can't leave.
As a trained Economist and bestselling author of Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, I have embraced a mission of raising awareness of female economic empowerment. After all, women can't be fully empowered if they're not financially empowered.
What Is Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse is the act of controlling someone's ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources. Those who are abused financially may be manipulated and sabotaged and thereby prevented from working. Victims of financial abuse may also have restricted access to their own money or bank accounts or have their funds stolen by the abuser. When they do have money, they often have to account for every penny they spend.
Financial abuse is one of the main reasons why victims are unable to leave an abusive partner or have to return to one as abusers typically control the finances to ensure that their victims can't leave.
In this video, I discuss the signs of financial abuse and outline some strategies to overcome it.
Women's Economic Security
Violence against women and women's economic security are highly-interlined. Public policies that enable increased pay equity to boost women's access to resources and support, including counseling, will be effective.
Financial Literacy In Schools
Equally as important as educating women about recognizing the signs of financial abuse is giving them the skills to protect themselves from it. This has to start in high schools and universities. We can't afford to wait until after it happens. This is why the messages and strategies outlined in my book, Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, are so important to teach women how to create an empowered financial identity that protects them from abuse, boosts their confidence and leads to improved mental, emotional and spiritual health. A key part of this strategy is embracing a "Holistic Wealth Mindset™," and this stems from the "Holistic Wealth Method™," which I've also developed. Having a curriculum designed to introduce students to the signs and strategies to overcome financial abuse is key.
Financial Empowerment For Women
Empowering women financially is critical to preventing financial abuse. Gender-based violence is rooted in gender inequality. Violence against women and women's economic security are highly intertwined. According to WomenAct, "Abuse often results in economic costs for survivors, including health costs, lost wages, and relocation expenses. Survivors can experience long -term economic consequences that make it difficult to rebuild economic security and resilience, including barriers such as debt, poor credit, housing instability and a diminished ability to work." Initiatives that enable increased pay equity to boost women's access to resources as well as supports, including counseling, will be effective.
In this video, I discuss developing personal mission statements for women.
The Holistic Wealth Development Index
The Holistic Wealth Development Index that's presented in my book Holistic Wealth, contains a modern framework that allows public policy experts a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of public policy interventions. It is a model that allows societies to develop resilience in the face of setbacks. As a result, it encompasses a model for societal resilience that is also necessary for societal growth. It takes into consideration the necessary supports that are required for individuals to be able to achieve holistic wealth — even in the face of adversity, tragedy, and setbacks (including domestic and financial abuse). A more resilient society is a more prosperous and successful — and holistically wealthy — society. The Holistic Wealth Development approach is the counter theory we need in a time of urgent human problems and economic and social inequality.
Empowering women financially is critical to preventing financial abuse.
My approach also entails a list of holistic wealth functionalities—and the idea that societies that embrace holistic wealth for all embrace these opportunities for individuals without humiliation and loss of dignity, as is the case in domestic and financial abuse. In times like these, where we are faced with a crisis, the choices we make now will affect the holistic wealth of generations to come.
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Whether it's your child or your brand, there is nothing quite like the excitement you get when you see the fruits of your efforts grow. In the face of aversion, you must remain cool-minded and adaptable to remain effective. This can be quite stressful, and every minute counts. Alone, the responsibility can be overwhelming - wouldn't it be nice if things just ran themselves sometimes? Especially those things that we do mindlessly all the time, and seem to take up most of our time?
When you start a business, you soon come to realize that in order to grow your brand, you need to be extremely organized. And to be efficiently organized, it is imperative that you master the art of managing your time. The saying 'time is money' rings true when it comes to growth. This is why we're going to provide you with helpful tips that will allow you to save time so you can focus on growing your brand.
Use the Right Tools
Technology has changed the way we conduct our business with each other. Today, more than ever before, we have access to data which gives us clearer insight and vision, as well as better tools for productivity. However, as we all know, this is all conditional to your intent. As much as a smartphone can be a tool for productivity, it can also be a fantastic source of distraction and procrastination, which is directly detrimental to said productivity. Automation is an advantage that is available to almost everyone today when it would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.
When a brand is still young, the team is still close-knit and there isn't too much coordination necessary when it comes to keeping up to date and on top of work. Chat groups and video calls can do, as well as simple task-managing apps. But as you grow, your workflow becomes more complex and the volume of data generated by your company will very quickly become a logistical nightmare.
Telltale signs of data overwhelming are endless excel sheets, frantic Post-it notes all around the (real or digital) office, and relying on the consumer rather than business-oriented data storage and communications solutions. These have their limits, and investing in a holistic company-wide system will not be a waste.
Work More Effectively
Your workflow can be simplified into smaller tasks which follow each other in a sequence, which can have conditional elements to it. That's where automation comes in. If you can draw it in a flowchart, you can automate it. Tasks that would have taken days can be outsourced to a machine that will not only perform but also learn in the process.
There is now a myriad of online services for freelancers which essentially give them the productivity potential of a small firm. We're now at the point where bots at https://www.hellobonsai.com/contract-templates can generate custom templates for the documents your brand needs, replacing the need for a legal consultant to intervene. You just need to know what you want to automate, and what you want to make out of it. If you create a logical process from the inception of your brand, then the automation will be seamless, as all you will need to do is add more tasks.
Be Mobile and Flexible
Most of your coworkers and clients will probably already have a smartphone, or will soon. It is also very likely that beyond using these for leisure and social activities, they use them for work. It is now normal to switch off the heating in that apartment you've been renting out while you are on holiday because your AirBNB tenants are overusing it. Or to track the status of your latest food delivery while you are sitting on the toilet.
Consumers today are not only constantly on the move, but they are also increasingly data-focused. They will be looking for results and have the capabilities they need to research, analyze, and calculate what they deem necessary to ensure they will be making the right decision. They thus also expect the same in return, in the form of bespoke customer service that is both intelligent and responsive.
Data is everywhere and is relatively easy to obtain. In a single click, you can generate a web analysis that will reveal more information about your blog or website than your doctor will ever tell you about your own body. Before diving into this ocean of data, take time to identify what is really important to you. Brainstorming is a great tool to really identify and prioritize what you and your team should be focusing on first. If you try to wage war on all fronts, then the chances of winning are slim.
With the right tools and the right method, you can save yourself quite a considerable amount of time. With both the agility and flexibility that data managing and automation software brings to the table, you will see an increase in your productivity. Careful planning is key, and if you focus on streamlining your workflow, you will be able to take your brand to the next level.