Raj Girn: Hey, guys, thanks for tuning in to another exciting episode of the `Transform Your Confidence Show.` Are you a woman who is challenged by your relationship with money due to generational conditioning where the breadwinner role has always been male-dominated? If so, then this episode is for you. We continue this week’s theme of Mindset and Clarity with part 2 of a two-part series called `How to Flex Your Money Mindset to Be Wealthy Now.`
Here is Part Two of our conversation:
Women have a far more challenging relationship with money when it comes to earning it than men do due to generational conditioning in most societies in the world where the breadwinner role has always been male-dominated for the most part. I mean, how can women break this cycle? I mean, it’s a conditioning thing, right? And it’s what you see happening in your immediate circle as well as what’s happening in the world. No matter how much we say power to women and women are becoming founders and women are amassing great wealth. It’s still such a tiny population of women who are that than women who are challenged with the whole idea of money. And I specifically want to ask you around this.
We always feel like we need to be second fiddle to the ambitions of the male ego. I’m getting a bit feminist on your girlfriend, but, you know, this is true, especially in cultures like ours that come from different countries. It’s been in us that we have to step back even if we may be the right person to not step back from the employment career opportunity. Your thoughts around that?
Melissa Leong: Raj you can get feminists with me any day, you know.
“If you’re not a feminist, you’re being antifeminist. That’s what I believe.” ~Melissa Leong
This is such a difficult thing for me to talk about because as a champion of financial literacy, a lot of what I do is to try to educate people on what they could do within their own lives and the language that they can use in their minds to further empower them. But, you know, you know that the problem is bigger than us and it’s not our fault.
And I don’t ever want to say, you know, you could do more, you know, as a woman, you could do… We do a lot.
And a lot of it is society has to change and it is not catching up. And so we have a lot on our plate and we are swimming against a tide and I often don’t know what to say. I think that there has to be more change, systemic change, in society and our beliefs. And that is a process that’s a journey that we are all on. And you’re touching on so many things that just light up all these parts of my brain. Like you said, playing second fiddle to the ambitions of someone else. And some people say, well, a lot of women are making more money than their partners now. There’s a greater number of that than ever before. And I think, yes, but the research actually shows that when you make more money, you still do more housework. So what’s happening there? We still live in a society where we are not valuing caregiving. And so women are doing the work outside of the home, but they are still doing the majority of the work inside of the home. That is going to affect so much. It’s going to affect how you feel about money, what you think about it. It’s going to affect power dynamics.
What was your question again, Raj? You were asking me that what women can do?
What are some you know, even if it’s baby steps? Because I agree with you. This is fundamentally a very huge question. And it’s so systemic throughout the entire infrastructure of society that we’ve created. Like, if you move one piece, like the woman out of the home and into the workforce, then what is in place from an infrastructure perspective to fill that gap and that void? There isn’t one. We haven’t created one yet. So I’m completely on your page when you say that. And actually, I feel that you’ve really answered the question well.
And that is for anyone that’s just joining us. I’m speaking with the fabulous Melissa. She is a money mindset speaker, author. And we’re speaking a lot about some of these challenges around money, around gender and money, and around just the whole idea of how can we ensure that we are utilizing a relationship with money that actually fits what we need for our life and for our lifestyle and for who we are. And I believe that’s the other thing. I know that you’re going to say something here and I’m going to let you, Melissa. But I think that’s the other thing here that’s coming to me is that we can’t have a one-size-fits-all. You know, some people need to save in increments. Other people need to go out and find other ways to make wealth. And I think that’s the other thing. The infrastructure of society that we’ve created doesn’t give you any options outside of those that the infrastructure has been created to support.
And that’s the thing here. As soon as you pull out one spoke of that wheel, the wheel starts to get weak. What are your thoughts?
I was just going to say there is something that I think women can do immediately that will help when it comes to becoming more powerful, especially financially. And it is things exactly what you are doing right now. You are having a conversation about money and more women need to talk about money. I remember my male colleagues used to share with each other how much money they made, what their salaries were. And and I had not done that with my girlfriends. You know, I wish I had I wish I had said, hey, I make this amount of money. And they then they would say, oh, I make this amount. I thought, how did that happen?
Why am I so? Where did where did I go wrong?
And we would be each other’s… and we’d be on the same team and we would all rise together. They would say, well, this is how I did it. This is who you could talk to. These kinds of conversations, whether that’s through mentoring, whether that’s just with your friends, whether that’s with yourself. I remember having conversations with my girlfriends — these were high-level executive women — and one of them was just shocked to learn that she could top up her mortgage. These are things that we do not talk about. But you could say to your friend at the end of today, I have a financial goal. What do you think? Have you ever had this money dilemma? What did you do? We need to do more of that. It empowers us to take more control of our money and to be more confident when it comes to money.
Wow. That’s such a powerful word right there. When you think about women, confidence and money, you don’t think that they all go together, but they should. But I think this also comes back to something that I spoke about right at the beginning when we first started chatting with each other, Melissa. And that is just the fact that these fundamental, important, aspects of life, we’re not taught. As I said to you, we’re not taught about money.
“When you think about women, confidence and money, you don’t think that they all go together, but they should.” ~Raj Girn
We don’t have a relationship with money other than that which has been taught to us by our families and the fear around that. We don’t know how to have relationships with each other because we’re never taught what a relationship is and how we should connect. And then the other thing is all of a sudden we decide we want to have children. Where’s that handbook? When was that created? And I think that these really important things — and the reason why this is coming to me is these really important things were not taught meanwhile we go to university to learn some serious bullshit knowledge that we never utilize in life, ever. Ever. Right?
For sure, and you’re out in the world and expected to be an adult and money management is a fundamental. I think it’s a right. I think everybody deserves to know how to properly manage their money so they can lead lives that are not… You know, you get caught up in mistakes that you might make when you were young that follow you for a long time. If you get in trouble with your credit card, not understanding how credit works, you could seriously be very behind for many, many years. And it doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means that you made a mistake. And I truly believe that. I think women need to be more empowered when it comes to their money. I think we give up a lot of power when we say, well, you know, I’m going to leave that to somebody else to deal with or whether it’s an adviser or my partner or whatever it is. This is so important that you know what’s happening.
And I know that there’s a lot of talk about, we earn less than men. For sure. When we take time away to be with our children, we earn less than women who did not take time off. There are a lot of things that make that mountain harder to climb. But it has to be done. It really has to be done for all of us to move up.
Absolutely. Absolutely, and I think you said something that’s really key and fundamental is that we need to have a serious and transparent dialog with each other because you don’t know what somebody else knows that could really change the game for you in your life. I mean, if people would have told me that the worst thing that you could do is get a credit card with a 20-25, 22% that you owe. Like, how do you ever pay that off? If somebody had said, why don’t you just go get a loan? Why don’t you try this? Why don’t you try other options? The problem is that I didn’t know what they were and it took me a while because when I went through my divorce, I had to use my credit card. There wasn’t a lot of money. And then, I had this credit card debt. And I’m sharing this because I feel this is the story of many women, especially those that get divorced. Especially those that never had a money mindset, especially those that never talked about money, and especially those where the money was controlled by your partner.
And I say that in a healthy way. In my case, it was a healthy control because I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t brought up to be interested. I went from my father’s house to my husband’s house. So, the quickest way that I could pay a bill was to get a credit card because banks love to give you credit cards. They give them so easily. Now, the good news is that I’m completely debt-free. I don’t have any credit card debt, none of that. And now I’m the other way. As soon as I buy something on credit, I’m like, I got to get rid of that in the next 30 days. I do not want to pay a buck 25 on something that was a buck. Like, you never get out of that cycle. And these are the kinds of things, Melissa. This is why having this conversation with you…
And having this conversation with a woman that talks about money I think is so important to help other women out there realize that this is a serious thing. Guys, this is what Melissa does for a living. She talks and she shares advice on money. This is how important it is. Let’s talk a little bit about your book. I want people to tap into it. And the reason why is that it’s such an easy read, guys. This is not complicated stuff. You don’t need an MBA to read this. Can we talk a little bit about what your book’s about and how people can get a hold of it? Because I really feel that’s a great resource for people to start, especially if they have very minimal IQ on what money is and what are you supposed to do with it when you have it and when you don’t have it.
For sure. I wrote this book essentially hoping that my kids would read it one day and that it would give them some things to think about when they go on their journey to being successful, especially when it comes to money.
And I thought, well, what is it that we’re doing? What are we doing with money? Essentially, we’re trying to get happy. We are all trying to buy happiness. That’s why we play the lotto. That’s why we work our butts off just taking that job that that pays more, even though it’s more hours. That’s why we buy the things that we buy, even though we can’t afford them. We put them on our credit cards. We’re essentially trying to buy a sense of happiness.
“That’s why we buy the things that we buy, even though we can’t afford them. We put them on our credit cards. We’re essentially trying to buy a sense of happiness.” ~Melissa Leong
And so I thought, if this is what we’re doing, if this is what we’re spending our hard-earned money on and we are trying to build empires, we are working to become successful entrepreneurs. Why? What for? Shouldn’t we have a discussion about the end result? Shouldn’t we have a discussion about why we’re chasing the rainbow, the end of the rainbow, for that pot of gold? Let’s sit down and talk about that. Once we talk about that, then yes, then I could talk about some other things that will help with success, like the emergency fund, like the debt repayment, like these other things.
But I wanted to do it in a way that was sort of trademark Mellissa tone, just conversational and hopefully fun.
Can you give the title again and let people know how they can pick it up.
Yes. I’m sorry. I don’t even think I said the title.
I don’t think you did.
‘Happy Go Money.’ And it is available anywhere where you can buy books. It’s in audio form as well, which I find is very helpful these days when you don’t necessarily have the time to sit and read.
That’s my favorite way to read books actually, because while we do all the other things that we do as women it’s great. And the other thing is when you hear someone else’s voice telling you something, it’s almost like it sinks in better than when you are reading something in your own head. But that’s like a whole other discussion.
Yes. And it’s human history. We just love to tell each other stories. And it’s like someone telling me a bedtime story.
Right. That’s what it is.
Yes, and this way hopefully I’m improving some lives with some financial knowledge at the same time.
You absolutely are, sweetheart. You are empowering people with knowledge, and there’s nothing more important than that. So I want to ask you that question that I told you that I wanted to wait until later. And that is what is wealth
Oh, so. At the traditional definition of wealth would probably just be what you own, your assets minus your debts, that is your net worth. And people would associate having a lot of stuff with being wealthy.
Absolutely, and it’s interesting because, people confuse what wealth is to making a lot of money. Can you can you touch upon that a little bit?
Well, for me personally it has a lot of different meanings, and I think that all of us are more open to that these days. We’re more open to the idea that wealth could mean not just having a lot of money in the bank, but it could mean a wealth of love. It could mean a wealth of time. It could be a wealth of happiness, of mental stability. We need more of that in this world. Just some places of peace. Wealth could mean just choices. You talked about retirement as just having the freedom to choose what you do. And a lot of people I think that’s a wonderful way to describe wealth as being able to choose what you want to do with your life by having…
I don’t want to use the word enough, because I think human beings naturally never think that we have enough. But having your priorities taken care of. Knowing that you are putting money to the things that are important to you and to your future goals.
I think all those things can equate to somebody being wealthy.
And it’s so, so powerful what you’re saying, because wealth isn’t predicated just on monetary currency. It’s predicated on all kinds of things — your spiritual wealth, your emotional wealth. All of these things that you just mentioned are a wealth. And it’s not the same as making lots of money because many people that have lots of money are not wealthy in other areas.
“Wealth isn’t predicated just on monetary currency. It’s predicated on all kinds of things — your spiritual wealth, your emotional wealth.” ~Raj Girn
And I definitely talk about that according to research. You know my background is as a journalist. I spent 20 years as a newspaper journalist. And so I do a lot of research and I love scientific papers. And so my book does talk about the pursuit of happiness and what the research says about the pursuit of happiness. What it says about what actually makes us happy and fulfilled as human beings and sort of the patterns that we get caught up in.
And I think what you said about different kinds of wealth is really interesting because I think sometimes they are in competition. For example. I’ll ask someone, “what is important to you?” and they might say, “my family, my family is my number one.” And there are facets to that. Okay, then let’s just dissect what you are doing in terms of accumulating resources. If your family is important, you are working 12-hour days because you’re trying to build generational wealth. Because you want your family and the next generation to have money. But then if they say, “well, actually, my priority is being with my family, spending time with my family.”
Then that’s an interesting answer. Because if being with your family is most important to you, then what you’re actually doing is trying to chase money. But you’re going to end up spending less time with your family over the years because you’re trying to to give them money versus your time. So when you value time over money, people are happier. And so that is a question. Should you take that job that adds a two hour commute to your daily life that takes you away from your family for two extra hours because it makes X amount more dollars for the household? These are things that we need to think about as well. It’s not just about how much money ends up in your bank at the end of the day.
Absolutely. What is the number one most valuable form of wealth for you and why?
I know. Ask me that question, I can’t answer it,
I can’t answer that Raj, because I think it really depends on when you ask me. I might answer that question very differently in three hours. Right now, I’m going to say health. I’m going to say being wealthy when it comes to your health is most important because it’s been top of mind. I have family members who are ill. And my husband had this very serious mental health break in 2014 and again in 2019, which I talk about in my book. And it’s part of the reason why I went on the journey to write the book to begin with, to try to discover happiness because I was trying to discover it for my husband as well.
God bless. What a beautiful thing to say. You give me chills right now, girlfriend. You know this is the thing, right? People who do iconic things in their life always do it from a place that is so not known to people. I’m so happy that you shared what you just said right now, that there was something so much more fundamentally, deeply rooted. That was the reason why you felt that you needed to help others deal with what you knew was something that you faced that you know other people are facing. That’s really beautifully said. Thank you for sharing that.
Oh, thank you for being a space to be able to talk about this. You know, I believe that when you go on a journey, you gain a lot of knowledge and you think, well, your journey might be somebody else’s survival guide in the future. And I wanted to share everything that I had learned about happiness and everything that I know about money. And I combined them to create this book. And so when my family is healthy, no amount of money can buy somebody’s health. That is always really important to me. But having said that, I will leave you with this thought that what I’ve discovered is that if you have your money situation set up in a way that is healthy and empowering and balanced when the storm comes, when you run into health issues, when the pandemic hits, when something in your house breaks down, you will have the space to focus on what is truly important. You won’t be worrying about losing your house and not paying your bills or not meeting your credit card statement obligations. You can focus on what really, really matters in life, which is your people.
Absolutely. You know, you just touched upon something that I’d love to ask you as a final question as we get ready to close out. And that is for people who do have that fear of job loss or have lost their job or have a fear of will they be able to open their small business, what are some of the things that you can say to them that they could do right now that may be able to mitigate some of that for them? I don’t know if it’s a mindset thing. I don’t know if it’s a resource thing. What can we leave people with who are going through that right now?
I think when you’re in the middle of a storm, it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing because often you’re just surviving. And I think that so many of us right now are doing just that. We are just trying to survive this very strange and chaotic and uncertain and fearful time. And in that case, I would just say to keep swimming because there isn’t something on the other side and it’s hard to figure out what lessons you are learning now, but you will emerge on the other side with lessons hopefully stronger. Ahead of a storm, however. Sometimes we think, why do I want to think about that, I don’t want to think about something scary happening that’s depressing, Melissa. But there is tremendous opportunity with chaos just to think about, well, what if this happened? What if I lost my job? I think it’s important for people to assess the risk of their financial lives.
So if you’re going to open this business, what if it makes no money for six months? How would you survive? And taking some time to think about those things, planning it out, looking at your resources and not just your financial resources, but listing maybe some of the empowering internal resources that you have, maybe some family members who might be able to stand by and help. Listening to how you can weather a storm, thinking about it and planning it out, will be helpful.
It can be very comforting to think about what you will do in a worst-case scenario and once you have thought about it, then you could also take action.
Nothing replaces talk better than action. You must do. And so that’s if that’s just putting aside some money in a high interest savings account, some cash that you can easily access just in case anything happens so that you don’t have to dip into your credit card debt. That, I promise you, will make the storm easier.
Absolutely. Such amazing words. Such a great conversation. Melissa, thank you so much. I mean, we kind of jumped around quite a bit. I felt that this is such a huge topic with me that obviously you got to come back and we’ve got to kind of delve a little deeper.
But I feel that today’s session has been extremely valuable for people to at least start, at the very least, thinking about and being conscious about what is understanding money all about and how much are they lacking in it. What what is a money mindset? What is the money mindset they have and is it serving them? And how do they define what wealth is for them? Like, what does that mean to them? Is it a 360-degree definition or not? And I think, at the very least, people will go away with a lot of things to think about for their own lives. Any final words that you’d like to leave everyone with before we close off, Melissa?
I have to say, thank you so much for having me. It was a lovely, lovely time to talk to you about this. And I know it can be very intimidating. I know it can seem sometimes dry to think about money. But it doesn’t have to be and it can be very powerful if you decide that this is something that you want to become more in control of in your life.
Absolutely. Amen to that, sister. Thank you so much for your time. How can people get a hold of you?
They can find me online. My website is melissaleong.com and I am overwhelmed by social media.
I cannot figure out how to run all of these different platforms. So if anyone wants to connect with me, they can find me on Instagram.
Okay, perfect. And what’s your Instagram handle before we close on this?
Brilliant. Thank you so much, my love. What a pleasure. How much fun the you are. You make money such a easy and delightful conversation to have. Thank you so much for joining me and come back soon.
Absolutely. It was a gift. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Melissa.
Thank you so much for staying until the end, guys. I really hope you enjoyed this show and will action the many insights that were shared. Money mindset is far more than what value money brings to your life. It’s about scarcity mindset, growth mindset, and how wealth has very little to do with how much money you make. My hope is that this episode, at the very minimum, will open your mind to think about your relationship with money and whether it’s serving you and what your options are if it’s not. As I close off the show, I hope that you found this episode to be valuable.
“The money mindset is far more than what value money brings to your life. It’s about scarcity mindset, growth mindset, and how wealth has very little to do with how much money you make.” ~Raj Grin
And if you did, I’m really glad. I ask that you subscribe to this podcast. On your Apple and Android platforms, search ‘The Transform Your Confidence Show.’ On our Youtube channel at the Open Chest Confidence Academy. And if you’re an avid reader like I am, we’ve also transcribed every podcast into a blog which can be accessed at TheOpenChestConfidenceAcademy.com/media/our-media. And also please hop over to our private Facebook group at Transform Your Confidence, whether on networking opportunities as well as knowledge and resources about mindset, media, communications, branding, marketing, leadership and advocacy for busy executives and entrepreneurs like you who are seeking to elevate the quality of their life. You know, you’ve got to be there. And as always, thanks for tuning in, and until the next episode, take care of yourself.