Thinking Like a Girl About Your Finances

I have nothing against girls. I was one once. I still throw like one. I was also lucky to be a part of the lives of two lovely stepdaughters,14 and 24. But I do have an issue with grown women who sell themselves short, limit their growth or success, or lose valuable opportunities due to not-so-subtle thoughts that are more appropriate for a girl. … a thinking and decision-making process that is still immature.

There could be a lot of reasons why so many of the current crop of adult women still “think like girls.” Maybe it is true that this generation, the Baby-Boomers, ARE really late bloomers—at least in this area.

Girlhood, like boyhood, is a mixed time, full of dreams, hopes and wishes, but also hormones, and rash decisions. Don’t let the latter be the main style of influence when you think about your finances. Instead, think of it as a time of lessons learned and skills being honed and perfected.

It can happen that a grown man thinks “like a girl,” hence the book with the sadly catchy title released last June, Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl. The good part of this book shows that women, with their patience and good decision making, are actually emulating the temperament of the most successful investor in history, Warren Buffett. That said, there is a vast difference between a fiscally responsible female who trades successfully, and a girl who knows nothing about her finances. Which one are you? It has nothing to do with age.

How to Tell if You STILL Think Like a Girl
Do you recognize yourself in these statements? Be honest!

I want everyone to like me; everyone is my friend.
I hope I don’t sound too strong.

I won’t charge for this service, OR I’ll know some hours off to be fair and get more work.
I’ll learn about investing later. I have lots of time.
I can’t afford to save for retirement now. Maybe later.
Social Security will be enough for me when I retire. I don’t have to save.

I will pitch in doing more household chores—just this time—my time is less valuable.
My husband/brother/father will help me invest. They know more and want the best for me. I don’t know how to fully understand it.

I might be sticking my neck out too much if I ask for a raise. Jobs are scarce.
Everyone in this meeting surely knows more than me. I’ll look stupid if I ask questions.

The Dire Consequences of Thinking Like a Girl About Your Finances
A girl puts things off. The future is always ahead of her. There will be someone there to help her when she gets there. Investing is a scary unknown and she might look “stupid” or “do it wrong.”

If you put off learning, practicing, and perfecting an investment style that works (and works for you), here is what you could be missing out on (from Dave Ramsay via Doughroller):

Summing It All Up
When asked how he made his fortune Warren Buffet said, “To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights or inside information. What’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework.”

That is something I believe most women can do. Easily.

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