A Savvy Guide to Financial Intimacy

Black women are the standard. We are the culture bearers, the paragons of peace, and are on the frontlines for social justice. We build community and lead uncomfortable conversations about change on every platform we can access. Even though post-secondary education enrollment rates are 12% compared to a 52% non-bipoc average, black women account for more than 60% of earned higher education degrees (brains and beauty!)  

We are all too familiar with the demands of maintaining a successful career, a healthy family life, and a vibrant social life. But how often do we take the time to focus on our own needs and desires? And we’re not talking about a superficial focus; when do we become intentionally intimate with our core needs and desires and make a practice of self-intimacy a necessity? The truth is that self-intimacy is just as important to our social and personal well-being as it is to our financial well-being. If we are determined to leave a better legacy for our kids, nieces and nephews, and/or god babies, we need to know what turns us on and off financially. Here is a savvy guide to financial intimacy for the girls looking after their coins.

Get Introspective: The first step to cultivating a healthy self-intimacy practice is to get to know ourselves. Ask the question, what do we really want out of life? What passions and interests motivate us, and what results do we require from the pursuit? In answering these questions, we must also consider how our finances are tied to those responses. Are we investing, profiting, or creating liabilities to pursue our desires? Probing our intentions and practicing earnest self-reflection will help us connect with our values and what is truly important. This will help us become intimate with our finances and guide us in making better decisions.

Protect Your Coins: Building intimacy with ourselves and our finances means understanding the importance of setting boundaries and communicating our needs clearly and effectively. This means owning the power of no, not committing to activities and relationships that drain our energy and finances, and saying yes to what brings us joy and fulfillment. However, it is not about being all free-spirited with our yes, either. We have to embrace the skill of budgeting and use that as a way to protect our coins. Understanding our lifestyle gap number, how to prepare a budget for all seasons, or how to reset our budgets is paramount to our financial intimacy. We must be very clear about our financial boundaries and stick to them, even if it means disappointing others.

Amplify Holistic Care + Wellness: Taking care of ourselves is a crucial aspect of self-intimacy. When we say “self-care” or “wellness,” we often conjure images of aromatherapy spa places, fabulous brunches, or wind-down nights with wine. However, true care and wellness means taking a 360-degree approach to our care and wellness. A holistic approach to our care and wellness means treating our whole person and addressing the mental, social, and financial factors that greatly impact our overall health. We need to recharge and relax- whether through meditation, exercise, or simply taking a bath. Reassess our social circles and see what adds value or limits our health. Re-evaluate our financial plans and determine if we are in good health and what to do if we are not. Making holistic care and wellness a priority and allocating the resources needed to care for our physical, emotional, and financial well-being is paramount to continued financial intimacy. 

Pour Into Yourself: Investing in ourselves is key to improving our finances. This means investing in education, professional development, and other opportunities to help us reach our goals while also arming us with new skill sets that will prove profitable in our career fields. Investing in ourselves is not just career-motivated. There are positive results when we invest in our health and social circles. When we are intentional about who and what we pour into, especially ourselves, we make a long-term investment that will pay off through increased earning potential and personal fulfillment.

Stand on Your Worth: When it comes to being a black woman, “it’s damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” But oftentimes, we choose to be silent and dim ourselves so as not to upset our contemporaries or partners. We need to stand on our worth, embrace our success, and celebrate it. We need to recognize our worth and the value of our contributions, stand on the knowledge, and ask for what our worth requires. Mastering financial intimacy means cultivating the confidence to negotiate for better and to leave the table when folks are dead set on offering us scraps.

Black women are not a monolith, but we are multi-faceted and layered individuals whose complexities are simplified through intimacy. By getting to know ourselves, setting boundaries, practicing holistic care and wellness, investing in ourselves, and standing on our worth, we can cultivate a deeper sense of intimacy to improve our quality of life and, importantly, our finances. Remember, financial intimacy is just as important as career goals and relationships, so don’t be afraid to prioritize yourself and focus on ensuring that your coins feel the love.

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