Why You Should Love Money

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Why You Should Love Money

Women, it is time to stand and shout, “I want money!” and not cringe while you say it – not be embarrassed or afraid of appearing greedy. Generating your own money enables you to step into your feminine economic empowerment, be independent, take care of your family, and enjoy having greater influence on the world around you. Money gives you real wealth and ability to stand on your own feet and be the director of your life. This article will help you examine your own money beliefs and finds ways to work through them to gain your own financial independence.

How I Stepped into Financial Independence (and Will Never Look Back)

I was 53 years old when I was honest enough to say to myself “I want money!”  It just seemed like something I shouldn’t say out loud or even to myself.  But when I finally said it clearly and passionately, that was the moment that started me on my path to where I am now: the CEO and Founder of Back From Bali, an ecommerce fashion brand that does multiple seven figures in annual revenue and affords me the lifestyle and freedom I’ve always dreamed of.

Money gives you the opportunity to have freedom and economic empowerment. And notice, I said the opportunity to have freedom; it doesn’t necessarily hand you freedom on a silver platter. But it can create the conditions and circumstances that lead to a life of freedom – and freedom is what it is all about. 

I understand that it might feel weird, uncomfortable, and politically incorrect to say you want and love money. Women are generally not taught to go out and make money and be comfortable with making it. We are taught, more often than not, to get a career, work hard, marry or partner well, and secretly hope the money will follow. But it certainly is not something we should publicly or even privately go after and say we want.  

I can’t tell you how many women entrepreneurs I coach who tell me that money is not important.  I was speaking with an entrepreneur who told me that making money is just not her focus. In fact, for some it’s like a badge of honor that says, “I am at a higher station than that low-life money. I am honorable, I am pure, and I don’t need to stoop to the level of talking about money. I choose to work hard because I am passionate about what I do, and I would do it even if I made no money.” Why would anyone want to do that I wonder!

The Loaded Conversation You Must Have (with Yourself)

It takes courage to say to yourself, and certainly to others, that you want to make money. Why courage? Because money is such an explosive topic that the mere mention of it will bring up decades and even centuries of money-related issues for yourself, your friends, your family, and your social media readers. It carries the burden of our personal and collective experiences of lack and struggle. It is so loaded that it has become “the conversation we just don’t talk about because it’s not polite.” 

If you are someone who stands up and shouts, “I want money,” you may very well be deemed as a shallow and greedy person. And who wants that? As women, we want to be liked, approved of, and accepted by others. Saying we want money and we love money is definitely not at the top of the list of how to get the approval and likes that we all desire. The people who love money are the “money-hungry, greedy, ugly, unethical” people you have read about and seen in the media, and you don’t want to be one of those! Money is seen as opportunistic, selfish, and definitely unfeminine – and I know very few women who want to be seen in that way.

Women are supposed to say nice things, make people feel good, and not be overly decisive if we want to be liked and approved of. This has been our cultural conditioning for generations. The truth is saying a bold statement like “I want money” is a risk and can put you in a position that does not feel very safe. People can judge you, belittle you, or shame you and none of us, and especially women, wants to experience this.

What Happened to Me the First Time I Talked About Money in Public 

When we dare to be bold there can be backlash. I am a people-pleaser and I like to be liked – as many of us women do, so I wasn’t prepared for what happened when my husband, Heinz, had dinner with his friend, Michael.  They were having dinner at their favorite pizza restaurant on a cold night and talking about – well, actually, I have no idea what guys talk about when they are alone together! Anyway, they are great long-time friends, and Michael is a sincerely good person. Michael told Heinz that he didn’t know if he should bring something up about what he read in one of my Facebook posts. 

I had written a piece about the importance of making money for myself and I included my yearly business revenue. He said he was hesitant to bring it up but what he read kind of disturbed him. Even so, he did open up and told Heinz that he was a bit shocked about what I wrote. He said he had never seen me as “that kind of person” – the kind who is all about money and publicly states their revenue numbers for all to see.  

The truth is, it took me eons to publicly state my earnings. I was also uncomfortable for others to know what my business revenues were because I was really scared about what “they” would think of me! In fact, a year earlier I had posted my yearly revenue in a private Facebook group for entrepreneurs that I was in where we were all encouraged to share our annual sales. However, to my horror, I realized I had posted my sales figures to my personal Facebook page for all my friends and family to see. OMG! I was so embarrassed and ashamed, and quickly took the post down, but not fast enough, as one friend had already commented: “Congratulations Leslie.” I quickly private messaged him and made him promise me he wouldn’t tell anyone (sorry, Sammy).

Why? Because I was scared people would look at me differently, just like my husband's friend Michael did when he read that post. Why are we so ashamed and shamed by others when we say we want money or state what we want to earn? The answers are emotionally, psychologically, and socio-culturally complex. There are actually multiple answers and so many reasons. I am asking you to reflect on your reasons, because those reasons are the reasons you are now making what you do, or - more to the point - the reasons you are not making what you want! 

How Our Relationships with Money Develop

Having open conversations with others about what you want to earn can be risky, such as the conversation I had at a particularly memorable workshop I attended. I was a member of a small mastermind group of entrepreneurs who sold physical products on Amazon. We decided that we would all meet in person in Seattle, which was where the consultant lived who ran our group. We were excited to come together to share our common ecommerce and Amazon issues, especially because we had only met virtually during our weekly online meetings. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely as you spend so much time on your own, and for that reason, we were so happy to be together in the same room.

We were a small group of eight people, and the workshop leader asked us to go around the room and share our business goals. People spoke about yearly sales revenue goals, ideas on bringing in new product lines, and the desire to build a business they are proud of. When my turn came, I said, “My goal is to build wealth, and I wanted to earn $20,000 a month after taxes.” That was the year I decided to get honest about wanting to earn money, and so I seized the moment to announce it. To state it unequivocally and be proud of it. 

A few months later, Susan, one of the eight attendees in the workshop, and who had become a friend, confided that she had been really uncomfortable and astounded with what I had disclosed. She told me she couldn’t believe I had actually said that out loud! Years later, she brought it up again, saying how she had never forgotten that moment and she was secretly impressed with my audacity. But even with Susan cheering me on, it shows just how loaded money is and how we can be perceived negatively for openly talking about it. 

Brooke Castillo is a super coach. That is what I call coaches who make mega bucks. She has been very forthright about her business practices and structure, and at the time of this writing she does 17 million a year in revenue and openly shares that. Just take that in for a moment: 17 million dollars in her coaching business! One of her goals is to help women make more money and remove the stigma around money. I was really excited when I discovered an episode on her podcast, The Life Coach School, called “Women and Money.” It’s episode #324, and I encourage you to listen to it because it’s very eye-opening.  

In the episode, Brooke shares some of the comments and emails she had recently received from women in her coaching program and those who simply listen to her podcast. 

“I love your work, but can you please stop talking about money all the time.”

“Why do you have to talk about how much you make; it is distasteful. Stop doing it!” 

“Please stop telling women they can make a million dollars. It is not realistic or possible for them, and you're putting things in women’s minds that will be disappointing for them later.” 

Brooke shares these comments to show how loaded money is, especially for women. There are so many rights and wrongs – so many unspoken rules about who you can talk to about money, what you can say, how you can phrase it, and if you are a woman, you damn well better keep it all a bit quiet, otherwise people will no longer see you as the sweet, feminine woman you want to be seen as.

Unspoken Rules that Keep Women from Making Money (and How to Break Them)

These rules are a part of why so many women don’t make the kind of money they would like to be making. For men, it is expected that money will be their primary focus. For women, we’re also accountable for home and family, generally speaking. And this can bring a conflict that most of us deeply understand. Even if a woman does not have children (and I am one of them) stepping out of a dependent role is not always comfortable or easy. It’s so much more comfortable to be where we are at, not pushing ourselves too much, and not upsetting the status quo.

If you are a woman who is accustomed to being protected by a wealthy man (a father, husband, or partner), becoming financially empowered can be uniquely challenging.

The Princess in the Tower Syndrome

As soon as your eyes landed on the words “princess in the tower,” most likely your mind presented you with a picture from a Disney movie where a beautiful princess in a castle is standing at her window and looking out for Prince Charming to come and save her. And you know what? Let’s be honest, not so bad! I mean, come on, having some gorgeous, loving, rich guy come and rescue you and take care of you and ensure that you live happily ever after is kind of a nice scenario. 

I remember working in New York City in a public relations job I didn’t like and, at times, daydreaming of being saved by my Prince. I mean, during those hot summer days when I was commuting by subway and inhaling those particular smells that only New York subways have (especially in the summer), I would much rather have been in the Hamptons, the exclusive beach towns just a few hours north of the city. There, in my own glorious beach house, I envisioned myself preparing watermelon and feta salad while my husband commuted on Friday nights to see me for the weekend! 

I grew up this way, amid these kinds of dreams and social norms. Maybe a few of you did, too. Men took care of their wives and the wives took care of them and the children. And regardless of which partner embraces the different roles, there is something naturally beautiful about this design. One partner earns and the other takes care of the home. They both play their parts. Ideally, a harmonious support structure is what a partnership and family should be about. But, as we all know, it doesn’t always work out this way. Divorce happens, illness happens, financial troubles happen, death happens, all putting a woman’s security at risk. True, this dependent role does work out for some women, but it is a dangerous gamble.  

It certainly didn’t work for Barbara Stanny, author of several bestselling books on women and money, including Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles, Overcoming Underearning, and Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money. Central to Barbara’s story is how she handed the millions she inherited from her father over to her husband and watched it all disappear when he ran away with it, lost it, and left her with a million-dollar tax bill. 

There are still far too many married women who have no idea about their shared finances because their husbands are “taking care of it.” There are countless women, millions actually, who marry “wealthy” men and then proceed to dissociate from “their” money. They live in nice houses, have credit cards for their own purchases, and their partners pay the bills and handle investments. But they, themselves, do not actually “have” the money, nor do they know how to access it. 

The point is, marrying a rich man doesn’t guarantee that a woman will feel rich, or secure. She often has no way to get her hands on the money. She is given credit cards and a budget, but she does not know bank account numbers, how much money is in the retirement accounts, where the investments lay, or how to obtain any of this information. She is out of the loop of her husband’s money, and yet from the outside is seen as “wealthy” (driving luxurious cars, living in posh homes) but secretly feeling she has no security or control of her own life. 

The princess in the tower syndrome can happen to women in many different ways. For example, recently a friend’s husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Not only was she in extreme pain, shock, and distress over this awful situation, but she was also gripped by fear as she realized that if he died, she was completely in the dark about their financial standing. She had no idea where the money was, how to access it, how much she had to live on, or if she was going to be destitute or wealthy if he lost his life. That was a wake-up call for her, and thankfully she has since taken control of their finances. 

This is not an unusual situation. Many women accept the traditional roles of wife and mothers while men assume their roles of working, making money, and taking care of the money for the family. Not all men are involved in the day-to-day care of taking care of the kids and not all women are involved in the day-to-day care of the money and investments. But again, the trouble with this design is how it puts a woman in a very insecure and vulnerable position. If life doesn’t turn out how she hopes and divorce happens, or if catastrophic illness or death sadly comes, it could wipe out her financial security and this is a scary position for any woman to be in. Does it work out for some women who are not involved in the finances? Sometimes, yes. But suppose you are in the other group? 

The truth is, many of the women I know who are now in mid-life, and who chose not to work and be homemakers, have suffered in some ways due to not having their own money, like Marianne. Before meeting her husband, Marianne, who is now in her fifties, had a high-paying job in finance, but after getting married and having her three children, she decided to stay at home as her husband earned quite a lot of money.  It was a cold day in Chicago, and as we sat on her beautiful couch in her penthouse, Marianne described the misery in her marriage and her desire to split. But she had no money, really, except what her husband gave her to run the house and pay for the groceries, dry cleaning, and other daily living expenses for the family. Her husband paid her credit card bills, but she did not really know where the money was or how to access it. Looking out the window and away from me, she told me that she was in the process of skimming off some of the money so she could have it and hide it from her husband. 

Marianne was paralyzed with fear. She wanted to leave but was scared of what she would lose. All of this gnawing fear was having complex repercussions, not only leaving her feeling like a disempowered princess, but now reducing her to skimming the money. Marianne was a super smart, talented woman, but without some economic control she lost so much of her inner strength and power. She literally did not feel she was in control of her life. All of this chipped away at the integrity, dignity, and grace that were Marianne’s true nature.  

Fran is another woman who felt caught in a financial web. She is one of thousands and thousands of expatriate wives who accompany their spouses around the globe. It’s common that global companies send their executives where needed for relatively short amounts of time – two years to Moscow, and then on to London for a year, and then to Zurich, and the spouses and children follow. I have met many of these women because I have been living in Zurich, Switzerland, to be with my Swiss husband. And even though it first sounds quite glamorous to have a life like this, it does take a toll on the trailing spouse’s own life. As you can imagine, it’s really hard to start and keep a job when you may need to leave it at any time.  

Fran and I are old friends. We met at a café and ordered cappuccinos. She confessed that she was not only unhappy with this lifestyle, which she had been a part of for over twenty years, but she was also unhappy with her husband. She did not mince words: the marriage was bad. She had grown kids living in Miami and she wanted to live near them, but she didn’t have the money to do so and knew her husband was not just going to buy her an apartment there along the beach so she could leave. She, too, was in her fifties, wanted to leave her husband, but was afraid of what that would mean to her life financially. 

Financial Independence is Freedom

What happens when you don’t NEED someone else to give you the money? Who are you when you no longer need a man, a husband, a partner, a parent, a father, or whoever you depend on? Barbara Stanny, the author mentioned earlier, says that being successful, standing in our power, and not depending on someone else to take care of us is our greatest fear. 

When we women can stand on our own feet and know that we can truly take care of our families and ourselves, this is the moment when we truly grow up and take 100% responsibility for our money, our relationships, our homes, our jobs, our businesses, and our happiness. We no longer cover up our light and power or hide our dreams and desires in order to remain safe and comfortable. The hard truth is that many of us are afraid of our own power because becoming powerful means we can’t act like little girls any longer, we can’t hide from our true wants, and we can’t pretend we don’t know things.

Truth be told, I went kicking and screaming towards becoming a grown-up woman who takes full responsibility for my life, my wealth, and my freedom. I had feelings of privilege that sounded like this:

I deserve to be given                         (fill in the blank).

It’s my husband’s job to make the big bucks. 

I don’t want to lose my freedom in order to do what I want. 

I don’t want to work that hard.

I am a spiritual person, I don’t want to focus on money.

These were some of the disempowering thoughts in my head. But now that I am on this side of success, I realize they were all based on fears of not wanting to stand on my own feet. Suppose I fell, or couldn’t do it in the first place? Upon reflection, I realized this was simply a result of the way I grew up. In my family, the men did indeed make the big bucks and the women could if they chose to. But the bottom line was that it was more important that you had a guy who made the real money. 

When I was 25 years old and newly married to my first husband, I remember saying to him, “Promise me you will make over $100,000 a year. Promise me.” What is most startling to me now about this is that I didn’t even think of asking myself to make $100,000 a year. It never occurred to me.  

Another strong money memory I have comes from when I was sixteen years old. My mom had just picked me up from my friend Lisa’s house where I had been after school. On our way back home, she told me that when I get married, I should keep some money to the side so that I always have access to it, just in case. The fact that I remember this so vividly proves what a pivotal moment it was. I knew my mom was transferring to me a piece of sacred woman’s knowledge. But why in the world wasn’t I taught to make my own money so I wouldn’t have to “keep it on the side,” which was code for hiding it? It took a long time for me to figure this out.

As I hit my fifties, something in me started to feel not so right, not so honest and I no longer wanted to sit in my princess tower and wait for someone else to hand me the keys to a prosperous and empowered life. I simply couldn’t live with myself anymore because I knew I could be doing so much better than I was doing.  

An Exercise: Four Questions to Identify Your Money Beliefs

Now it’s your turn to reflect on your money story. Grab a journal or open a document, and then respond to the questions below. It is normal to feel a range of emotions when you do this because money is such a loaded topic, as you just read. But the more you excavate the attitudes and memories you have around money, the more you will free yourself from their influence. Sometimes just giving voice to them or writing about them without trying to resolve anything can have a very positive effect.

  • What beliefs about money were you taught growing up that you made your own?
  • How much money do you want to make in your business or profession?
  • How does it make you feel to say, “I want and love money!”?
  • How would you feel if you became super successful and made a lot of money?

Well done! I know this can push a lot of buttons, and I applaud you for your courage.  

Want more women-centered business advice from someone who’s done it herself? Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter here so you’ll always get the latest news. 

Who is Leslie Kuster?

I became a 7-figure woman entrepreneur in my 50s -- with my successful Back from Bali clothing brand! It took some getting real with myself to finally say, “Damn it, I want money!” Now I am here to ignite women entrepreneurs -- like you -- to experience the empowerment, independence and joy of creating a business that brings you both money and freedom. Read more about my story here.


business coach for women, women empowering women

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