Some of your clients may have complicated relationships with money. And for your female clients, that relationship may be fraught with emotion, according to business coach and author Meriflor Toneatto. Understanding these emotions can help you better understand your female clients. 

“For women, money is an emotional currency. It’s tied to our sense of self-worth and self-confidence, and our feelings of safety and security. These feelings often translate into self-limiting decisions,” says Toneatto in her book Money, Manifestation & Miracles: 8 Principles for Transforming Women’s Relationship with Money

So which emotions affect women’s decision-making when it comes to money? Here are five:

1.    Fear. This emotion dominates many women’s relationship with money. Women may fear not having enough money as well as losing it or having someone take it from them. Many women, even those earning annual salaries of $200,000 or more, fear ending up as “bag ladies.” At the same time, women fear having too much money. Women may be afraid of advancement for fear of failure.

2.    Guilt. Women who refuse to splurge on themselves or pay full price for an item are exhibiting feelings of guilt in relationship to money. Perhaps they experienced deprivation as children. Furthermore, society reinforces the idea that in order to be a good wives and mothers, women must be selfless. Consequently, many women learn to deny themselves.

3.    Shame. Shame can cause women great pain and encourage them to hide the details of their financial situation. They may feel unworthy of great financial success. Shame can also result from having accumulated too much debt. Women in this situation may tend to hide such information for fear of being judged.

4.    Anger. This emotion can close women off to the very opportunities and people who could help them financially. It can stem from a belief that life—and in particular money—is unfair. A woman who experiences this emotion in regards to money may be angry at herself for missing out on an opportunity or making a mistake. Anger can make it difficult for women to trust.

5.    Blame. Often accompanying anger, blame can stem from financial disappointment. It can arise when a woman feels her life would have been easier if someone (a parent or spouse) had provided her with greater resources. Blame can hold women back from financial success as well as from supportive relationships.

“At some point in our lives, we all have felt one or more of these emotions,” says Toneatto. “The good thing is, once you begin to recognize them, they’re like a flashing yellow ‘caution!’ light.” With gentleness and understanding, you can help women avoid these emotional hazards.

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