We don’t mean to lie to ourselves, but we do it in an attempt to justify our spending habits and reduce feelings of guilt or anxiety, and eventually, we start to believe them. But while these little lies may make us feel better in the short term, they can do some serious damage in the long run. These little lies we tell ourselves are all signs of financial denial and hold us back from true financial freedom. Here are 6 of the most common lies and the truths about them:
“I just need to make more money.”
We may have the best intentions when it comes to money – to save, to pay off debts – we know we need to do these things, but we’ll get around to them once we make more money. The truth? With this kind of mindset, you will never feel like you have enough money. There will always be temptations and other things you want to spend your money on, no matter how much you make. If saving isn’t a priority when money is tight, it sure won’t be when you have more of it to spend. And what if you never were to make significantly more than you do now? The lesson here is that now is as good a time as any to practice good financial habits and get a head start on saving and debt repayment. Even if you think you have no room in your budget to save, there are always ways to reallocate or reduce expenses, even if just temporarily. Factor savings and debt repayment into your budget and make sure to pay these first, not at the end of the month with whatever little is left.
“I Need This New ______.”
An important part of financial responsibility is learning to distinguish between needs vs. wants. We all have things we feel we need, but when we take a closer look, more often than not, it’s just a “want” and something we can live without. From a financial perspective, a “need” is something you can’t live without – groceries, heat, electricity, rent. A “want” is a discretionary expense, ranging from anything like lattes and movie tickets, to a new handbag and restaurant dining. Of course, no one is advising you cut out all your wants from your spending – but it is important to understand the difference between the two so you can make informed financial decisions that won’t negatively impact your ability to save, pay off debts, and pay for your needs.
“I can afford the monthly payment, therefore I can afford it.”
Ahh, the beauty of financing. That new, fully loaded car doesn’t seem so expensive when broken down into a nice little monthly payment – until you look closer and realize you’ll be stuck with said car for the next 5 years and paying well over the sticker price once you factor in interest. Anyone can “afford” just about anything with the right financing, but this is short term thinking. Extending the terms of a loan over a longer period of time just to lower the monthly payment isn’t doing yourself any favors and only makes something appear more affordable. Think big and look at the total cost of what you’ll be paying for and then decide if it’s really worth it.
“Budgeting is only for people who are tight on money.”
Budgeting has become synonymous with sacrifice and financial desperation. However, a budget is simply a tool to track money coming in and money going out. Businesses do it, and so should you. Just because you may earn a high income, doesn’t mean you are immune to financial hardships. In fact, with even more at stake, this should be even more motivation to budget and manage your finances responsibly.
After all, how many celebrities have we seen go into massive amounts of debt? Bottom line? Everyone can benefit from budgeting.
“I’m young, I can start saving for retirement later.”
Sure, you can start saving later (and later is better than not at all), but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll wish you started earlier. Retirement may seem far away and this is exactly why it’s good to start sooner rather than later, because the longer you allow your money to grow, the greater the effects of compound interest. Starting early means you can contribute less and end up with more. There are many different retirement savings options available, including ones offered by employers, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), and self-directed savings plans such as an IRA. Do a bit of research or consider speaking to a financial advisor about what options are best for you. Also consider looking into whether your employer provides any retirement matching programs – this is free money you should absolutely be taking advantage of! If you haven’t started yet, the good news is you can plan for retirement at any stage of life, but don’t wait another day!
“I’ll put the money back into savings, I just need it now to buy this.”
If you can’t afford it now, don’t buy it. Treating your savings account like a checking account is dangerous. Once the money has left your savings account, it will be hard to find ways to pay it back. It also creates a mentality that it is ok to dip into your savings here and there for indulgences. Savings should be just that – saved. There are times where you can justify spending your savings, but this can sometimes be a grey area. To avoid spending it on things you shouldn’t, consider making a list of appropriate things to use your savings towards – for example, a down payment on a house or using your emergency fund for things like unexpected car maintenance. Think of all the scenarios in which you might want to use your savings, write them down, and don’t make any exceptions.
Coming to terms with these little lies we tell ourselves is the first step in heading towards financial freedom. Once you stop denying the truth about your spending habits and financial mindset, you can begin to create a more healthy relationship with money and work towards achieving your financial goals.
Eboni K. Williams and Cheslie Kryst have a lot in common, as Iman Oubou Founder & CEO of SWAAY as well as host of the Women Who Swaay podcast puts it, "They're both badass attorneys, they're both from North Carolina and they've both competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageants." And they also both took over our podcast on the most recent episode, straight from the headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization!
Cheslie is a successful licensed attorney who also happens to be the reigning Miss USA 2019, with plans to represent our country in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. Not only is she at the height of her pageant power, but she is using the notoriety to create positive change for all of the women in her life, much like her role model Eboni K. Williams. Williams is a journalist, author, attorney and speaker; from her long history as a pageant queen she has risen through the ranks of male dominated industries from law-firms to Fox News. All throughout her journey she has persevered with intelligence, tenacity and poise. Lucky enough for us, she has kindly put her reporting skills to use and got candid with Ms. Kryst about supporting their fellow women, the current state of race in America and their history together as pageant compatriots. All of these topics are incredibly close to their hearts as powerful black women using their influence to create a better future for all women in America.
Oh and, as previously stated, both are complete and utter badasses.
During their podcast takeover they talked about it all, from pageants to politics. It's clear that both of these women are motivated by an altruistic spirit and are strong supporters of #womensupportingwomen. Eboni even read a passage from her book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success, in which she outlines how her own career trajectory was so positively affected by the incredible women who mentored her in different stages of her life. She completely shuts down the idea of the "woman on woman teardown," calling it a "pitiful dynamic" tied to the "long and very hurtful history of women." This idea that in order to compete for a spot in the old boy's club, women must first fight off their own gender is not only reductive but it also supports an outdated social structure that was built to greatly favor male success. Throughout history women have been encouraged to look at one another as competition, one more obstacle to pass by. However, all that has managed to do is to pit us against each other, fighting for the few meager seats at the table allowed for women while we ignore the real problem. The problem isn't about the lack of seats allotted for women; the problem is that men are still the ones making the seating arrangements, and it's time for that to change, something that both Cheslie and Eboni understand well.
Race is another topic that is incredibly important to both of these women, and they have quite the in-depth discussion on it during this podcast. Cheslie, who is biracial and self-identifies as black, laid out her point of view on race. She voiced her frustrations for never feeling like she had her own box to tick, being stuck to decide between "black, white, or other" in standardized situations like the SATs. Existing as someone stuck between two cultures has been incredibly challenging, and though she found some solace in the black community, she felt less welcomed by her white peers. Self-identifying as black is something that has allowed her more agency in regards to her own identity, and though she still faces difficulties she realizes how important it is to be a confident black woman in the esteemed position she is currently in. Both Cheslie and Eboni seem to bond over the idea that no matter the successes, they both revel in the victories of their fellow women of color. Each of them is motivated to see more women of color in powerful, visible positions to inspire future generations. It's not about their own success; it's about respect and renown for any and all women of color.
I may have just provided the highlight reel, but the full conversation shared between Cheslie and Eboni on the Women Who Swaay podcast is a must listen. These two women managed to make me laugh while restoring hope for a better America all within a half hour of listening time! Seriously, go get those headphones, right now. You will not regret it.