Three things about me became clear before I turned 10:
- Delayed gratification is an innate part of my wiring. Unearthed by my mother when she tried testing my toddler self using the old marshmallow trick and I patiently waited for her to return so I could receive two marshmallows.
- I’m a control freak. Call it Type-A, bossy or whatever else you like – but even as a small kid I wanted to be the leader, have all the answers and be empowered to make my own decisions.
- Powerful women intrigued me. Perhaps being a feminist is nature and not just nurture because I started following successful women as soon as I could consume content. From adoring Pocahontas (who notably didn’t need to end her movie with getting married) to idolizing woman saints like Joan of Arc to woman pirates like Anne Bonny and then literary and political movers-and-shakers like Emily Bronte and, of course, Queen Elizabeth II.
Mix a control freak with the desire to delay gratification plus a need to be independent and you get a woman obsessed with saving money to fund my own financial freedom (no interest in an Mrs. degree here!). Sprinkle this mix with regular doses of education from two financially literate and savvy parents – and you’ve got yourself the recipe for financial health from the moment money first entered my hands.
To my 27-year-old self, financial health means the luxury to never spend a day of my life fretting over how to pay down debt, how to cover my bills, how to save for an emergency fund and how to prepare for the future.
But before I completely lose you in a self-indulgent narrative, let me say financial health also means privilege.
It’s a privilege that I’ve been able to avoid the stress of debt because my parents were financially successful, handled their money well and taught me to do the same.
It’s a privilege to grow up in a home where money never carried the stigma of being taboo and routinely got discussed over the dinner table, in the car and during vacations (and keep in mind the women out numbered the men 3:1).
It’s a privilege to know I can take bigger risks in my career, in my business, in my life because if all if it fails tomorrow – my family has the means to temporarily support me.
It’s a privilege to know my parents are financially secure and I don’t need to account for their future care into my own financial plan.
It’s a privilege to have been raised to appreciate, understand and appropriately deal with money, because many people never get the chance to be financially healthy without first making painful, costly mistakes.
Financial health is a privilege that should be afforded to everyone – and it starts with being willing to have the conversation while also recognizing our own background and bias. Hopefully, this little corner of the Internet can be a catalyst for change.
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