How To Tackle Impostor Syndrome About Your Money

Claire Hunsaker
Claire Hunsaker

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I’m the last person you would think suffers from imposter syndrome, particularly around money. I’ve been managing complex finances for 20 years. Generally, I am one step down from Lady Gaga on the confidence podium.  I have an MBA from Stanford. Personal finance is an area I’m deeply passionate about.

Who Is Immune To Impostor Syndrome?

I don’t know any woman who is  immune to impostor syndrome. Like many members of the Flossie Community, I found it really intimidating when my then-fiance and I started talking about combining finances, and he had a different approach. The first time I spoke with a financial expert I was so nervous – she was an expert, and I was a dumb 22-year-old! Even talking with my friends about how they approach their money can be scary. Even more so when talking to family. Money is a touchy subject. 

Women experience a lot of conditioning that compounds those crises of confidence. And because it inhibits us from sharing knowledge and taking action, imposter syndrome hits all women’s wallets. What’s going on here?

Personal Finance Feels Like Guy Territory

Personal finance, investing, making money don’t just feel like I guy territory, historically they actually have been guy territory. Only 23% of financial advisers are women. Before the Equal Credit Opportunity Act passed in 1974, women were often denied credit cards, mortgages, investment and banking accounts in their own name. And all women have experience that you can still catch shade for doing something you’re 100% entitled to. Forty-five years later, we are still working toward equal representation and knowledge. We live in a world where women are primary Breadwinners for their families, living full and independent financial lives as single women, or managing their parent’s finances. We’re building a new world on a new foundation. Exciting, but it takes guts!

Money Is Personal And Primal Topic 

Wealth and money are also very personal and primal. They directly relate to our ability to survive! Engaging with your personal finances, making decisions and taking money action all force you to look at how secure you are. Taking the reins in your personal finances can be very frightening if you’re close to that survival line, or if you ever have been. It also forces you to look at what you don’t know. Nothing makes me feel more like an imposter than wading into areas where I feel I don’t have expertise (IRS Tax Code, I’m lookin’ at you!). Fortunately, personal finance is not rocket science. A little knowledge goes a very, very long way. You know more than you think.

Culturally, Women Don’t Talk About Money 

One of the biggest reasons that I started Flossie Finance was because women don’t have a safe, supportive space to talk about their finances and get real help. Women are smart and I believe every woman has at least a couple great money moves. But we don’t talk about them! We’re not bringing our knowledge together. In some cultures, it’s “Bad Manners” for women to talk about money. In some cultures, there is stigma tied up in money, race and class. We’re also short on time. In some cultures, there is little stigma around money talk, but all your aunts get up in your business about how much you make. Plus, we’re busy. Money offers a muddy kiddy pool of cultural taboos. But we need to hop in if we’re going to get ahead. 

Personal Finance Feels Intimidating 

Women are often less-than-thrilled about personal finance, not because it is beyond their reach, but because it feels beyond their reach. It feels mathy,  laborious, and speculative. Getting active with your money feels like an opportunity to lose a lot of money. But, perception is different from the reality. Once again, personal finance is not rocket science. In many studies. women outperform men as investors. Our impostor syndrome here, is in our heads. 

How To Tackle Your Financial Imposter Syndrome 

Phone a Friend 

One of the best tricks for working on your personal finances or starting a business, is to find someone who is in a similar position to be your confidant and supporter. I feel pretty strongly, this friend should be a woman.  They will get how it feels to be intimidated and understand those low moments when you’re particularly freaked out and need a power boost. I have two friends I text whenever I feel scared: “I need a tough love pep talk!” This is also what the Flossie Community is for! Check it out.

Flossie Says Buck Up

My mom likes to say, “Buck up!” It’s what my grandparents told her. I really hate this line, but often she’s right. Not everything is going to feel easy. The good news of personal finance is that it usually feels much harder than it actually is. Empowering actions like setting up an IRA or investment account or reviewing your expenses or creating a budget – they’re actually pretty quick and easy. They also generate big returns! Sometimes you just have to push through the intimidation and insecurity. Fake it till you make it!

Join our AskFlossie community where all women are empowered with community and knowledge to build stronger financial lives. 

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