Why a woman’s self worth is not her net worth

Our financial position often influences our sense of identity and belonging - don't let your self-worth impact the way you manage your money.

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A woman’s self worth is often confused with her net worth but it’s not, yet somewhere along the line we seem to have muddled money as being a sense of our identity.

What money we have and our perception of how wealthy we are influences our sense of identity and belonging.

“Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and believe?” –  American author Scott Turow once said.

Self-worth refers to our overall sense of value; our sense of self; who we are; our worth; our beliefs about ourselves; our appearance; social status; values; behaviour and emotions.

Our self-worth also affects other elements in our life, which are harder to measure such as love, integrity, kindness, emotional intelligence and balance.

If we feel good about ourselves, most of the time, we are thought to have a higher self-worth and if we don’t feel good about ourselves often, then we’re said to have a lower self-worth.

On the other hand, our net worth is a financial measurement which compares what we own – our assets, and what we owe – our debts.

Knowing our net worth is important for two reasons:

1. It gives us an understanding of our current financial situation.

2. It provides a reference point for measuring progress toward our financial goals.

Ideally, as we continue to earn and save, our net worth will grow.

If our net worth is low or going backwards then it’s usually an indication that our finances aren’t in good shape or that we need to work on spending less and saving more money.

Many of us associate our self-worth and value as a person with our net worth – or the amount of money we have in the bank, the salary we earn, our relationship status, or our material possessions.

While it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, when we compare, we typically compare the external things – things that are easier to measure; the size of our bank accounts, salaries, cars, homes, clothes and other ‘image’ related material things.

Comparing our internal measures is much more difficult because it can be hard to measure how we treat and take care of ourselves and others; our compassion, love, capacity for joy and gratitude and ultimately our happiness.

In society today, we’ve adopted the easier method of measuring our worth by what we have, instead of who we are.

Our worth should not be measured by the external things alone – if someone else has better clothes than us, or lives in a nicer house – it should not make them any better, more worthwhile or valuable than we are.

If we measured our self-worth by our internal measures, we’d likely find that there is no competition, as we don’t often compete to be the kindest, or have the most integrity, or to be the most confident or generous.

Our self-worth and how we feel about ourselves affects the way we manage our money.

Let’s imagine for a moment that we don’t believe that we’ll ever be rich.

If that’s our belief then we’re probably not going to bother saving, investing or seeking financial advice.

These negative beliefs about ourselves cause us to behave in ways that don’t benefit us or ways that may sabotage our success and happiness.

We shouldn’t let our self-worth sabotage our net worth.

When it comes to building our net worth we can focus on practicing positive financial behaviours such as paying down debt, building a regular savings habit, investing, keeping in control of our spending and contributing to our super.

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