6. If you’re a second generation woman struggling with money, this may be why – Transcription

In this episode, I talk about 3 of the main spender types and explain where those spending/saving tendencies may have come from.

Today we are talking about money. If you tend to overspend your earnings or you have a hard time saving money or don’t like the thought of money, then you are in the right place. A lot of our overworking tendencies are based on this idea of financial security, being able to provide for your family and live comfortably without too many hardships. And of course this sounds like a great way to live, but what kind of beliefs do you have about money?

I was unaware that I had so many negative beliefs about money until I started questioning what I wanted my life to look like. And when I started making changes to my lifestyle, I came to realise that these thoughts affected my spending and saving habits, how much I believed I could earn and deserve to earn, and my vision of the future. I felt like I had this cap on my life, like I just needed to live comfortably and make enough to get by and be able to provide for my family, which was exactly what my parents and relatives believe. And I still hear them talk about it like this regularly. And when I started questioning this of wanting something more for my life, I felt really selfish and greedy, which is what prompted me to dive deeper and ultimately start this path towards life coaching.

So what I aim to do through this episode is to present these ideas on a platter for you to be aware of how the cultural pressure you experience can also affect the adult decisions you make on a daily basis that spending, saving, investing, which then steers your life.

So let’s go back a few years ago when I first started questioning my career and lifestyle. Now at this point, I was trying to avoid working 60 hours weeks as I had done before. I was trying to relax and take time off and spend my time doing things that I really enjoyed, like hobbies, because I didn’t really have any at the time. I was just working and working and I really wanted a different lifestyle, but I didn’t know what to do. And when Covid hit in 2020 and I was working from home, I realised that I really enjoyed taking short breaks from work and doing things around the house during the day. And that’s when I started having a different vision for my life, one that didn’t confine me to a classroom or an office and allow flexibility.

So just a year ago, I committed to this journey of becoming a life coach. And it came with so many challenges. But the thing was, these challenges weren’t physical. They were all around my mindset, so mental challenges. And I started doing the life coaching thing halfheartedly and not really telling anyone about it.

First of all, I was a bit worried that I invested over $6,000 Australian dollars on this certification program, but then not using it, just like how I did four years of uni, got my degree, got a piece of paper at the end and used it for six years. And now I’m kind of taking a step back. So I was worried that it would happen again. I would invest a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of effort, but not really see the results at the end.

I was also worried about the money I would lose when working way less hours, because that was the vision that I had. Not working 60 hours weeks, but having flexibility and choosing to work when I want while also being able to sustain myself. Because this year when I started working as a casual for two days a week and I saw my first paycheck, I was kind of worried because it was reduced dramatically. Of course, I knew it wouldn’t match my full time salary, but it was just that initial shock. I started spiraling and thinking about how I can make up that amount of money again, questioning whether I would ever make enough money as a life coach or whether I should just go back to working as a full time teacher again. I had all these doubts about myself, and it all revolved around not having enough money, not having the same consistent paycheck every fortnight, which is two weeks for those in other countries who might not know what a fortnight is.

But the problems didn’t end there. That was just the beginning of my journey to becoming a life coach. Also, when I heard that my friends or people that I knew gained promotions at their jobs with a pay rise, I started to doubt myself and think that I’m never going to make that much money. It’s not possible for me to do that as a teacher or in my life coaching business. And so that doubt was always in the back of my mind, should I pursue this because I want to do it, but I won’t make enough money, or should I go back and see that steady income? These were some of the concerns that came up just within a few months after starting life coaching. So I can’t imagine what has been going on in my head throughout the 28 years of my life.

And that’s the objective of this episode. I want you to think about how money affects your daily decisions whether you know it or not.

So first of all, let’s go through some of the struggles you might face with money. Now, there are three main types, so let me know by sending me a DM on Instagram at underscore kind of heart telling me which one you resonate with most.

So the first one, number one, the overactive spender. Now, these names are quite obvious, but let me tell you a little bit about this type of person, the overactive spender. This type spends more than they would like. If this is you, you probably grew up thinking that wealthy people more respectable, you see them as more successful and that’s how you want to be perceived too. You might collect luxury items or splurge more frequently. Now, this idea of luxury and blurging is subjective. So your idea of something expensive might not be the same as somebody else’s, but you feel fancy, you feel wealthy, you feel rich. When you buy certain things, you might even spend money as soon as it comes in. And so you keep waiting for that paycheck and then as soon as it comes, it’s gone, or part of it is gone anyway. I’d say this is the least common among second generation women, but of course there are still people with these beliefs. You might have some of these thoughts but also relate more to the others. The next two are more common in immigrant families and I’ll explain why later in the episode.

Number two. This is the second type of spender, the avoid. You avoid thinking about money because you believe that it’s bad if you have too much. Like if you think about it too much, that means you’re greedy or you’re selfish and you don’t care about anything except money. You might think that it’s better to live more humbly. Is that a word? That living with less is better, that living with enough to get by means you’re a better person. You’re satisfied with how much you earn and have learned to live with it, however much that is. The avoider might also avoid checking their bank statements and receipts when they go shopping because they don’t want to think about money. Maybe that’s because money is not an issue. But this is different. This type of spender is the person who doesn’t want to see their purchases, doesn’t want to see how much money they have in the bank, and don’t want to think about money at all. Maybe they don’t like hearing it come up in conversation with their friends.

Now, the last type of spender is related to the avoider and it’s called the underactive spender. Now, I think this is the most common out of the three, especially for second gen women. If you’re an under active spender, you’re reliable and careful about the purchasing decisions you make for yourself. But with others you might not mind as much you might spend on everybody else except yourself. And ultimately your goal is to save as much money as you can, because that leads to financial security and ensures that you have enough for emergencies. Or you can invest it or make bigger purchases that are more important. You might be more frugal with your spending and usually plan out what you buy in advance and make sure you have a budget for it, especially for more costly purchases. Does this sound familiar? This definitely sounds like my parents, which their opinions, their fears and their messages were passed to me. So this is me in a nutshell. The underactive spender. If you had a choice between two items, you’d probably go for the more affordable item. Not saying for everything, because sometimes spending on the more expensive option might mean better quality, but normally for two items, you might go for the cheaper one.

Now this is you send me a DM saying I’m an under active spender too. Now, this is definitely my whole family’s mentality about money being frugal and spending only what we need. And because of that it was also ingrained in me. That’s why I spent so much time making up my mind about whether I should invest in the coaching certification or not. That took me over a month to finally make that decision, why I felt bad about spending lots of money on myself and why I was so scared of seeing my first paycheck as a casual. So those are three types of spenders. Let me know which one you are.

Now let me explain why, because that’s what this whole episode is about. And if you strongly resonate with one of these spender types, then keep listening. There are a few reasons I’ve compiled about why we struggle with money in these ways in particular. Now I’m going to mention three and if you want more episodes on this, then I can definitely talk a little bit more.

The first reason why you might be struggling with money is because your parents experience things being taken away, or they’ve lived with having the bare necessities. Your parents might have had to flee from conflict or wars in their home country. They might have left with very few of their personal possessions and had to start all over again in another country, pretty much starting from scratch. Like my parents, when they came to Australia, they pretty much had a few valuable items which they could then exchange or trade or pay for any services or anything that they needed. But other than that, they didn’t have anything else except the clothes on their back because they couldn’t carry heaps of money with them and then have it be stolen. So my parents, and maybe your parents as well, might have experienced things being taken away from them. Maybe their land was taken over, could have been by other countries, other people. They might have lost some of their culture, their traditions, and because of things feeling like they were taken away, they had this fear of not having enough, not having enough money, food or education. They might have also had this fear of good things running out or that good things are only temporary, that doesn’t last forever, that enjoy it while it lasts because it’s not going to be here forever. And that’s this scarcity mindset. You feel like there’s not enough good to go around. They need to hold onto it and hoard it in case things ever go south. So they keep working and saving to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. So they have stability and security for their future. Which is exactly why I made this episode. And that’s why your parents might have had this huge focus on earning enough money, being able to support your family financially, and making sure they get that good job. Because good job means good pay, which means security for your family.

The second reason why you’re struggling with money could be that your parents have lived to survive. It was all based on survival. They prioritized their basic needs and worked to make sure that you had a roof over your head, that you had food on the table and clothes on your back. They believed that money was only reserved for the essential items and that you shouldn’t spend it on random things that you don’t need. And that’s where the frugality came in. And that’s why when I was younger, I didn’t really have a lot of toys. We either got hand-me-downs from other families and other friends or we borrowed books from the library. We didn’t have a lot of things that we kept. We either had them for a short time and it was passed on, or they were given to us for free. But when my parents wanted to buy things they wanted but not needed, they would choose the cheaper option. Because to them, both items were the same. They didn’t look at the nutritional value, they didn’t look at the quality unless it was a big purchase. But if they saw that it was okay to choose the cheaper option, they would they would buy things secondhand. My parents used to thrift all the time back before it was cool. And I used to think it was gross because buying things secondhand meant that you were poor, that you couldn’t afford brand new items. Besides thrifting, they would also haggle for lower prices, especially at the markets. They would try to get the products cheaper. So my parents had to survive. They didn’t spend their money on luxurious items, only the essentials. And that’s why I saw money as a thing reserved only for what I needed. Not for entertainment, not for social reasons. It was only for what I needed.

The third and last reason why you might struggle with money is based on this idea of putting family first. Now, I’ve talked about this a couple of times now on Instagram and on this podcast about the Asian cultures focusing on their family. Now, of course, I’m not saying that Western culture doesn’t prioritize this, but there’s more of a you can do what you want attitude in the Western culture, like moving out, like following your passion and living your own life. But in Asian culture, there’s this focus on family, putting family first. That’s why my parents still send the money overseas, back to Vietnam, that every time we go to Vietnam, we bring a suitcase full of supplements and certain medications that you can’t access in Vietnam. That’s why we have these huge gatherings for learning New Year. It’s all about celebrating family. And in the Eastern cultures, parents live unconditionally for their parents and kids. Smart parents take care of their parents and they take care of us. There’s this idea of fill your piety towards your parents, especially taking care of elderly parents physically, helping them get up and with mobility, but also financially. And I’ve also seen a few second gen women on YouTube buy homes and renovate houses for their parents. And they’re quite big, and I’m not sure if you know them, but Jenn Im and Cathy Nguyen are some examples of people who have felt the obligation to take care of their parents, or who want to be able to repay their parents for everything that they’ve done for us. They might have bought a house with their parents, renovated certain parts, but it’s all about using your finances to support your parents, support your children, support the future generations. And it’s all because our parents have made so many sacrifices for us, especially being immigrant parents and going through so much. So this idea of putting family first is another reason why we tend to save our money or invest it for the future, or for family, or for the future, or for this prosperity. We want to be able to comfortably support our family so we have a good life.

Now, if you want to hear a similar perspective, listen to the podcast called A Seat at Our Table. It’s by my friends Tracey and Wendy, and they have an episode called Money on our Minds. I also guested it on their podcast talking about life coaching and how it started and where I’m heading with it. But listen to this particular episode Money on our Minds. The links will be in the show notes if you’re interested in listening to that one after this episode. .

Remember, you’re a human BEING, not a human DOING.

Chat to you in the next episode!
Van Anh

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