It's been so long since my last confession.... Some of us are chocoholics others shopaholics but what happens when you are both? In a world with so much choice and selection I wonder if it's something that is truly beneficial for us or to the detriment of our peace and sanity and our bank balance. I remember when I was living in New York, I needed a pair of earrings, I did really NEED them promise. But the joy quickly disipated when I walked into a store with floor to ceiling covered in a selection that made my head spin.
I often thing about the many choices we have in life and whether it may have been so much easier for our parents and grandparents where going to the grocery store didnt mean having twenty different types of milk to choose from! I understand the dilemma of women all over the world where each season we are tempted by yet another style, another colour, a new look and a new us every Autumn, Winter, Summer and Spring. God, that is exhausting! And I lived and shopped in New York where there is something new you can buy EVERYDAY and not just every season! Oh I know its hard!!!
Speak to any woman and she would tell you about how buying a new pair of shoes sends her in a spin, ohhhhh the feeling of a new outfit and a sexy pair of heels, the lip gloss which we take out of the little box and that makes us feel soooo pretty again! I like most women have always been enthraled and mystified by this very concept and I like most women have also needed to go to confession for that which brings soooo much pleasure. Yet later comes the pain of paying for the debts, the feeling that we are never ahead but always running backwards. As Becky Bloomwood in "Confessions of a Shopaholic" we are confronted with the reality of our shopping habit and our inability to manage our money and ultimately manage our lives.
I have often wondered what makes some of us able to manage money whilst others are constantly swimming upstream? I realised that our parents are the key and that many of us did not receive a financial education. I remember the many times walking into the kitchen where my family was seated discussing what looked like "something very important". As a young girl I too wanted to be included but more so wanted to be in on the "important" family discussions. What I received as a reply from my own mother has continued to shape me until I realised the impact such words can have on a child just wanting to be included....
She told me "You don't need to know this, you won't understand anyway". And guess what, they were talking about money, business, finances, responsibilities and so in my mind it formed a very strong belief that somehow, somewhere mum and dad would take care of it all and that I simply dont need to know or understand this "silly stuff". But as I have gotten older and much much wiser I realise that my well meaning parents have robbed me of the very thing that would make the difference between success and failure in managing money and my shopaholic tendencies.
What I also learned as a young woman is that money was always there and that yes I could have pretty much anything that I wanted, I was conditioned to spend and to shop!!! Who could blame one for then getting a credit card and believing that the supply of money was endless. Who was there to teach me otherwise? Unfortunately for myself and for the many women I have the pleasure of speaking to, the reality is that we have to stumble through it ourselves even after our well meaning parents have paved the path for our financial downfall. And then they wonder why we are so bad with money, why we continue to spend it all....but had they stopped to ask themselves what lessons they themselves have taught us and put the judgement back towards those who are the carers of our minds and the people who influence who we ultimately become. You can't train a dog to bark and then ask it to meow...
There are many who break out and finally set sail on their own path and realise that although the damage has been done that nothing is set in concrete and we can master our finances and our lives.
As Becky Bloomwood so perfectly puts it "Of course, I still know nothing about finance. People at the bus stop know more about finance than me. Schoolchildren know more than me." It's a sad reality but there are many women in this position, we are taught to be "women" and as I read recently in a book about money that women still hope that they will be taken care of by a man, we just are not taught to take our financial positions seriously!
And this is where it all changes, a great journey begins with one small step and that is how we begin to rebuild our lives and create a very different future.