We don’t talk about money enough. There, I said it. As young women, we’re more than happy to share the intimacies of our sex life, our work life, even our relationships. But why do we never sit down and talk about our finances over a glass of pinot?
As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. So why the heck aren’t we sharing our financial woes with our mates? Chances are, we’re all in the same boat, we’re just too ashamed, embarrassed or damn right secretive to get the balls to share our bank balances.
So, The Broke Generation has gone out and started these conversations ourselves. We’re interviewing women about their relationship with their bank accounts, in an attempt to break down the stigma of keeping our finances all to ourselves. We caught up with business owner, Elle Steele. At 35, she’s got a Paralympic swimming career under her belt, and now runs her own spiritual healing biz from a coworking space in Brunswick East.
TBG: Hi Elle! Thanks so much for chatting to me about your finances! It’s no mean feat! So, first off, if you had to categorise yourself as either a saver or a spender, which would it be?
Elle: I think I’ve been both in my life. It depends on what I want to save for! But generally, I love to have a little pot of money as an ‘in case fund’ whenever I can.
TBG: That sounds like a pretty smart approach. How would you describe your relationship with money and finance? Are you a ‘save it for a rainy day’ gal or do you treat yo’self more often than you should?
E: I love to treat myself, but as a Sole Trader, I feel like I put most of my money back into the business, which means that later on, I’ll be able to treat myself more. But I do love a splurge, I’m also very much the gal that thinks about whether I actually NEED the fun purchase before I tap my card though.
TBG: Why do you think you’re like this with money? Can you trace it back to any habits you formed as a child?
E: It’s totally learnt behaviour. My parents were always buyers out of need rather than for the splurge. My parents have always been the ‘save for the house or the holiday’ people. There were certainly times in my teens that I made super bad money choices and thanks to my amazing parents, I got bailed out, but it took me a few goes to actually work out that I had to control of the outcome with my cash.
TBG: How do you budget?
E: I have separate accounts for different things, kinda like my own barefoot investor style. Money is allocated to different accounts when it comes in, bills, tax, fun, living essentials, savings/emergencies. If the money is used in one account, then I’m not allowed to swap any over, that’s it. No more fun for you! ha
TBG: Do you use any financial tools to help you manage your money?
E: I use Quickbooks to watch my spend in business and tracking kms for my car. I also use Raiz, which used to be Acorns, it’s a new age investor app. You put money into your Raiz account and they invest in socially responsible companies for you. I love a good share portfolio – am I a 70 year old white man?!
TBG: Haha! 70 year old white men might not be leading the way in social change, but that doesn’t mean we can’t nab a few of their investment strategies! So, in theory, everyone would like to have more money – but how close would you say you are to being happy with your financial situation?
E: Lols. Not even close. But getting there. I’ve taken a hit in the last 12 months, but it’s taught me so many lessons in letting myself feel how I feel about my finances and to move through times of hardship with grace. As well as, even if you don’t feel like you’re where you want to be with money, you still need to treat yo self every now and then, because it keeps the energetic flow of cash coming your way. That might sound a little bit out there, but when I was super low on cash and not allowing myself to buy anything for myself, it made me feel so depressed, I felt like I was doing all this work for everyone else, to just pay bills and that doesn’t fill your cup up, so now I allow myself to buy myself something once a week, not excessive, but something that makes me feel loved.
TBG: That’s a really honest answer, thanks Elle! I think a number of people feel that exact same way. Okay here’s a fun one. You find a $50 note in an old wallet – what do you do with it?
E: I’d just put it in my new one and save it for a fun activity on a sunny day!
TBG: Describe an average day in your wallet.
E: It doesn’t get opened on a daily basis that’s for sure. I think I have a real fiver in there at the moment, but I’m more of a card gal. I also have two cheques from the universe in there, one to the value of $2000 for and one to the value of $30,000. If you want to know more about this law of attraction technique, watch this video!
Ooooh, we’re into laws of attraction. We’ll be checking that out for sure. What would you say is the one thing you spend too much on? Do you have any money-sucking habits, passions or obsessions?
E: I get annoyed about spending large amounts of money on medical insurance, because, it’s an in case purchase, also as a person with a disability, if I want to have surgery, I usually have to wait the waiting period, because I was basically born with a pre-exsiting injury… My phone bill is most definitely something I spend to much on, so I am HANGING for the day my contract with Optus is done and I can get a new sim and own my phone outright.
TBG: Do you think you’re better off, worse off or the same as you expected you’d be by your current stage of life?
E: I never really thought about it, people always want more money, but I can also understand why I’m where I am financially and I’m happy with that. I wasn’t, but I’m proud to say that I’ve spent a lot of time on self acceptance especially when it comes to working for myself and my relationship with money. I’m also hugely abundant, it just doesn’t show itself in money every time – if you knew how many times I get taken out for a meal a fortnight you would want to come along for the ride 😉
TBG: If you could go back 10 years and change one thing about your finances, what would you change and why?
E: I’d have saved for a house earlier. I would have been nicer to myself and given myself more power in my money story. I wasn’t good at maths in school and I made that mean that later in life I wouldn’t be able to manage my cash flow or be able to bring in larger amounts of money. If you’re in the same boat, that’s a bullshit lie your ego tells you to keep you playing small. Don’t listen to it.
TBG: Great advice! Thanks, Elle. That’s a really good way to look at your internal bank manager. We’re learning to be kinder to ourselves about our bodies and our mental health, so it’s time we did the same with our wallets!
To find out more about Elle’s spiritual healing business and her experience swimming for Australia in the Paralympics, head to www.iamellesteele.com, and join her Facebook group or follow on Instagram for regular oracle card readings and tips on learning to use your intuition for business and life success.
Do you have an interesting money story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.