People often assume that money and finances will always be associated with stress, confusion, and worry. Or that more money will automatically lead to a feeling of financial freedom. However, it is possible to have a healthy relationship with money, regardless of your income! There are a number of “toxic” mentalities that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with money. Here are some of the most common and why they are negatively affecting your life.
You’re an Emotional Spender
If a tough day at work or a fight with your significant other often ends up with you reaching for your credit cards, you are an emotional spender. This can be a dangerous mentality because what may start out as harmless pick-me-ups can eventually lead to mountains of debt. This, in turn, will only add to the amount of stress in your life. If you’ve noticed this habit in yourself, try to look for other ways to de-stress and don’t rely on spending to create a false sense of happiness.
You’re a Stressed-Out Spender
If even the smallest purchases stress you out and lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety, this means you essentially fear your money and spending it. A big reason why this could be is because you simply don’t feel like you have enough money to go around. Regardless of what your income is, if spending leads to stress, having a budget in place could help you avoid these feelings. A budget can help you see what’s coming in and what’s going out, and ultimately help you better manage your cash flow so that you can spend without feeling like you’re being reckless or that you’ll run out of money.
Photo Courtesy of The Huffington Post
You’re an Avoider
If your bills often end up in your kitchen drawer or you’re dodging calls from debt collectors, this means you may be an avoider. Denial and avoidance are common coping mechanisms, but only make the problem worse. While avoiding confronting your finances may make you feel better in the short term, this mentality leads to an ever-increasing toxic relationship with your money. A hallmark of financial responsibility to taking action to acknowledge your financial struggles and take steps to get back on track. This may be as simple as catching up on some overdue bills or it may mean speaking with a debt attorney.
You’re Waiting to Make More Money
Something that comes as a surprise to a lot of people? Making more money won’t solve your financial issues. In fact, it can often exacerbate them.
If you don’t practice healthy financial habits when your income is more limited, you are only more prone to reckless financial management when there’s more to spend. So don’t wait for your next raise or career move to start being more financially responsible.
Make efforts to achieve financial wellness now – such as budgeting, saving, investing, etc. That way, once you are in a position where you are making more money, you’ll already have developed good financial habits and be in a better position to put your higher income to good use.
You’re Constantly Comparing Yourself to Others
Trying to keep up with others – what they make and what they spend it on – can be emotionally exhausting. The truth is, there will always be people who have more money than you and who can afford things you can’t – and that’s ok! It’s important to come to this realization and be accepting of it. As long as you make efforts to responsibly manage the money that you do have and create goals for yourself, you’ll still come out on top. As they say, the grass is always greener!
Your relationship with money is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most important relationships in your life. It’s a relationship that should be nurtured and problems within it should be acknowledged. Many people are guilty of having one or more of these mentalities that create a toxic relationship with money. Once you acknowledge them and make efforts to improve your relationship with money, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders!
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."