Money Kuel Category Expert: Karen McAllister
Maybe you are not receiving any government assistance right now and your income has decreased.
Perhaps you feel COVID has done a number on your resources. Or, you are not covering basic expenses, your credit cards are maxed out and your debt plan has gone out the window.
Whatever situation you are in, it’s uncomfortable. You might feel like the ground is being pulled from beneath your life as you knew it. And in some ways, the old life, as we knew it, has gone. There is grief to be acknowledged and allowed.
Fear With Age
“Many women report talking about the bag lady syndrome feelings”
As women get older, we tend to get more fearful, because we may realize we are not prepared for retirement. Maybe some of us feel we don’t have enough. Many women report talking about the bag lady syndrome feelings of, “Oh, my god. What’s going to happen to me?” The pandemic might be serving to feed this view of not ‘enoughness’ for you right now.
Here are a few tips to help with your bag lady fears around not having enough, as our money lives and livelihoods are struggling with this new normal:
Maturity To Unpack What’s Really Going On
Women who are aging and coming into greater maturity and wisdom have the capacity to unpack what’s really going on inside of us. Ask yourself what are the stories you tell yourself about you and your relationship with money? What are the assumptions behind the fear of being a bag lady? I don’t deserve money in my life. Why can’t I bring in enough? I am not good at the money thing. Nobody will hire the older woman.
What Is Your Narrative?
Sit down with your friend and have this conversation. Get it all out on the table, ladies.
I had the honour of working with a mature female client recently. For our time together, she wanted me to provide the space where she could download what was not permitted to say inside or outside the family system about the money culture she was brought up in. There was a huge yearning to be seen and heard. She came from a wealthy background where money was used to buy love and control others. And, women were not allowed into the rooms of power and money. She learned to be a kept woman and a caretaker. It was never talked about at home and there were so many unspoken rules about it. This upbringing would certainly create some bag lady fears if you are taught that your financial independence is dependent on others, that another will rescue you. ‘There is always more coming’ was her family’s mantra.
The narrative prevented her from owning her true entrepreneurial spirit, and she felt herself withdrawing from the family, but not understanding why. Through our work together she came to name that she was withdrawing from her family to honour her authenticity. She realised that she couldn’t have love and acceptance from her family and be authentic to herself. The family’s money system unconsciously didn’t allow it; and it didn’t look like the system was going to change any time soon.
“She didn’t have to pay the price of belonging at the expense of her own potential.”
The change was going to have to come from her own transformational work. It was through seeing this, naming it, that she was liberated to fully embrace her dream of setting up her own business. Her insight gave her the confidence not to follow the script from her family’s money culture. It no longer had as much power over her. She didn’t have to pay the price of belonging at the expense of her own potential. She could love them as they are and start building her own business, standing in the knowledge of her own power. Finally, she had disentangled a lot of the tangle in her 50s.
Your Narrative May Be Causing Self-Sabotage
The narrative you inherited may be impeding your potential and growth around money and right livelihood. Consider these 5 exercises when you are facing inherited thinking that is not serving you.
- When you get to see these partial views or assumptions, feel them in the body. Give the emotive states and body sensations their air time. The body doesn’t lie. The truth is there. Allow them their voice.
- We managed to get this far. There must be parts of us that are highly capable, and that all we need to do is configure a way of living our lives that really serves us in the long run. Maybe it’s time to do your vision board again.
- We naturally become less attached to things, and having-less, and be much more interested in what we can create in terms of purpose, and right livelihood. What can you start to sell and let go of?
- Create an advisory board for your 85 year old self. This might be a financial planner, your bank manager, a money coach, your therapist, and a lawyer. You don’t have to do this alone. We are all going to get old and die. Have fun imagining the right advisory board for yourself and how that would manifest for you.
- Create an advanced care plan for your 85 year old self. I live at a meditation center called Clear Sky center in British Columbia. I am one of the founding members here. All the staff onsite were invited to do a self-advanced care plan under the guidance of a death and dying counsellor, who also helps to get your affairs in order. It took us a year to do it with so many extended timelines, because it brought up so many uncomfortable questions about wealth, money, and death. The fruit of the process was greater trust and intimacy among the team. Perhaps, find a death and dying counsellor who is a right fit for you, who could help you with preparing for that. It is one of the quickest ways of clearing up what is not serving you anymore and getting clear about what is important.
Deep Commitment To Exploration Of Our Inner World
Women, as we get older, have that deep commitment to the exploration of our inner world. As we seek through faith, trust, balance and spiritual practice, we understand and transform whatever doesn’t serve us any longer. We step into greater alignment, and greater balance. I invite you to integrate money and power in this exploration.
If you resonated with this article and would like to chat with me, just drop me a line (my email is in my bio below). You are also more than welcome to take the money quiz and we can have a conversation about money together over Zoom.
About the Author:
Karen has worked with over 100 clients, helping them untangle their money issues and to become more effective in their work because of it. To do this, Karen has studied financial issues extensively from both the practical, behavioral, and the emotional perspectives.
She has been certified by Deborah Price of the The Money Coaching Institute as a Certified Money Coach, a Couples Money Coach, and a Business Archetype Coach. She has studied with Lynne Twist from the Soul of Money Institute for two years on Mastering your Money and Transforming your Life, including studies in Lynne’s Fundraising from the Heart program. Checkout Karen’s site TheMindfulMoneyCoach. Or, you can email Karen directly at the TheMindfulMoneyCoach.