In a new book The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom, authors Carol Pepper and Camilla Webster provide realistic recommendations for women on how best to manage, understand, maintain and grow wealth. Pepper and Webster approach the subject by looking at a woman's life holistically and creating tangible advice for every facet. They take the mystery out of money, creating a map of how to make the best decisions possible to achieve your financial goals. I find this book to be revolutionary in its efforts, for if the female energy can come to balance the male in this economic system, which still has so much influence on the world, the potential for positive change is endless.
Historically, women and men have had different relationships to money -- from both a psychological and practical standpoint. Men have long been expected to be the sole providers for the family as well as the financial authority of the house. If a woman inherited money, it used to be normal for her to relinquish all control to her husband. She would maybe get involved with philanthropy, but it was rare for her to understand her wealth, pursue investment strategy or build her own business. There was an understanding that it was acceptable for women to care about spending money, but not about making it.
Considering that women now control more than half the wealth in the U.S. and hold the majority of jobs, the authors see an opening to break apart the past paradigm. The female responsibility has drastically changed, and Seven Pearls addresses a very real need to harness this energy into a radical reformation. The emotional relationship between women and money was at one time choreographed on a stage she wasn't invited to enter, but now there is a chance for her to reimagine her moves and dance to a different beat.
Women have the opportunity to play in this global financial game. If you don't like the way the game is being played, the more money you have, the greater the possibility of changing the rules. Women are not victims and would be turning their backs on their potential if they didn't embolden themselves into admitting that they, too, have power. It 's not about creating a chasm dividing women and men, but establishing a clear path for a woman to feel confident about her financial wisdom. The model of Women's World Banking in the micro-finance world is so successful because of the unique relationship women entrepreneurs have to acquiring wealth. They do not make money to hoard and define their dominance over others, but rather use it as a tool to improve the lives of their children, their families and their communities. There is a drastic difference between controlling money and letting it control you, and the female instinct to nurture should be encouraged and complimented by financial strategies. I see a major opportunity in empowering women, which will have the effect of encouraging future generations to view money as a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself.
TN: In your research, women are making more money then ever before, but do you see a major psychological shift regarding how they view their relationship to money?
Carol Pepper: One of the reasons that we wrote this book is that we see psychology is behind reality for women and their money. Women have not yet realized the amount of power they have today to create wealth -- more power, we believe, than any time in prior history, at least here in the United States. Women often lack the practical knowledge on how to exercise their power and options. So we hope that our book has given women an action plan for this next phase -- a way to move forward with confidence, and a step-by-step recipe for success to enjoy their new options.
TN: Why does your book target women specifically?
CP: This is a historic time for women. In the U.S., approximately 40% of women now out-earn their husbands -- a 50% increase over the last 20 years. There are now 8 million female business owners, producing $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing 7.7 million workers. Between 1997 and 2011, there was a 34 percent increase in new businesses, while women-owned businesses increased 50% -- one and a half times the national average. Young women in major cities now out-earn young men, and 60% of candidates for higher education are now women. All of these facts point to the huge change that women have experienced economically and continue to experience. Women's lives are really changing -- and that is why we focused on women for this book. Their lives are vastly different now, and they are not sure how to proceed.
TN: How would you inspire women who have no interest in learning about finances to feel differently?
In our experience, women are most motivated by love in their lives. Women have great hearts -- they want to take care of their families, their children and ageing parents, their boyfriends or girlfriends, their pets. Taking care of everyone -- and yourself -- means understanding how to use money wisely
TN: You mention how women shy away from the power associated with money. Is that something you want to change? And do you see the need for power that money begets to be problematic?
CP: We definitely want to open us women's eyes to the positive aspects of power and money. Power exists, and we women need to grow up and assume the power of adulthood, which means participating in the decisions that affect ourselves, our bodies, our families, our communities and our world. If we have money, we can support candidates for government who will protect the planet, rather than give polluters a free pass. It is women who understand the need for regulating Wall Street and industries that can harm us. If we say we don't want power that means we are capitulating and acting like children, asking men to make all the decisions. Balanced decision making means both men and women participate in deciding how things should be run -- each has a unique perspective and both need to be heard. With money comes the ability to make choices, support charities and let your voice be heard -- to become a factor influencing decisions. There are so many inspiring, positive examples of what happens when women decide to own power and get involved. Money is not evil; money is energy, and can be used for good or evil purposes.