Total Health in Midlife Episode #173: Purse Strings w/ Maggie Nielson & Barb Provost

Purse Strings w/ Maggie Nielson & Barb Provost

Unlock the power of financial independence and shatter the myth that money management is solely a man’s world with Dr. Barb Provost and Maggie Nielsen of Purse Strings. Our latest conversation is a testament to the strength and resilience of women who are ready to take charge of their financial futures. 

We dive into the heart of personal finance, addressing the unique challenges women face from career breaks to longer life expectancies, and how these can be navigated with confidence and savvy planning. Through inspiring stories and practical advice, Barb and Maggie guide us on becoming financially fearless, regardless of life’s unexpected twists.

Feel the electricity of empowerment as we tackle the discomfort and exclusion many women encounter within the financial services industry. We highlight the importance of seeking financial advisors who respect and understand the distinct financial journey women often face, reiterating the importance of being informed and involved in one’s financial destiny. 

From discussing the “Pink Tax” to offering actionable tools like the “Where’s My Money Going?” worksheet, our episode serves as a rallying cry for women to claim their financial literacy and forge a path toward true independence.

We wrap up our transformative discussion with a focus on the emotional landscape of money and the necessity of aligning spending with personal values. Hear how emotional intelligence can be a formidable ally in financial decisions and why cultivating a judgment-free understanding of your money habits is crucial. 

Dr. Provost and Maggie Nielsen leave us with the knowledge of how to build a strong financial foundation and valuable resources like a divorce guide and a family emergency binder to help navigate life’s financial complexities. 

Join us for this empowering session and start rewriting your financial narrative today.

About Dr. Barb and Maggie

Dr. Barb Provost and Maggie Nielsen are the Mother-Daughter Duo behind Purse Strings, the go-to financial resource to help all women be financially fearless. As Dr. Barb worked for 20+ years creating education in the insurance and financial industry, she could see how they were missing the female market. 

As Barb and Maggie hired researchers and held focus groups, they found that the insurance and financial industry won the award for being the least sympathetic to women and women were unprepared for their financial future. Purse Strings is starting a long-overdue candid conversation about how women can use money to protect themselves and enjoy a fearless future filled with choices. 

Purse Strings is devoted to giving women access to easy-to-use resources and qualified financial professionals who focus on serving women. They are here to help all women be, financially fearless.

Chapter Summaries

Empowering Women Through Financial Knowledge (0:00:03) 

A mother-daughter duo from Purse Strings discusses women’s financial empowerment during midlife transitions and the benefits of finding a financial coach.

Women and Financial Education (0:13:23) 

Women often feel disregarded and excluded by financial advisors, highlighting the need for education and involvement in financial decisions.

Empowering Women in Financial Literacy (0:22:06) 

Nature’s challenges for women in the workforce, financial implications of breaks, “pink tax,” and Purse Strings resource for financial education and support.

Financial Coaching for Women’s Empowerment (0:29:21)

Financial planning and coaching for women, addressing societal differences, emphasizing personalized guidance and accountability, and addressing emotional aspects of money management.

Navigating Emotions Around Money and Debt (0:33:08)

Money, debt, and spending are emotionally complex; mindful spending aligns with values; individualized strategies are needed.

Empowering Financial Conversations and Resources (0:41:05) 

Self-compassion is crucial in financial decisions, overcoming shame, and using practical tools for empowerment.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Uncover the hidden wisdom linking women and money, revolutionizing your financial outlook forever.
  • Dive into the unexplored financial landscape of women, revealing how personal experiences and gender dynamics shape financial literacy.
  • Dive into the intriguing realm where gender intersects with money, uncovering why women often excel in investing despite societal norms.
  • Explore the empowering world of socially responsible investing, reshaping financial norms, and amplifying women’s influence in finance.
  • Discover essential financial strategies tailored for women’s future, addressing longevity, earnings, and divorce with confidence, paving the way to a secure financial future.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

When the most common thing women said to us was that their financial professional didn’t even look at them. I was mind blown to the fact of like, this is your life savings. This is your whole future. You kind of get one chance at it. And you’re giving it all to someone who doesn’t look at you, that’s mind boggling to me.

Welcome to Total Health and Midlife, the podcast for women embracing the pivotal transformation from the daily grind to the dawn of a new chapter. I’m Elizabeth, your host and fellow traveler on this journey.

As a Life and Health Coach, I am intimately familiar with the changes and challenges we face during this stage. Shifting careers, changing relationships, our new bodies, and redefining goals and needs as we start to look to the future and ask, what do I want?

In this podcast, we’ll explore physical, mental, and emotional wellness, offering insights and strategies to achieve optimal health through these transformative years.

Yes, it’s totally possible.

Join me in this amazing journey of body, mind, and spirit, where we’re not just improving our health, but transforming our entire lives.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Total Health in Midlife podcast. I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And today, I have an amazing set of guests for you. Yes, I said that set.

The topic that we’re talking about today does not get enough airtime, and that is women and money. Now, I know just mentioning finances might make you want to hit pause or skip this podcast.

Money talk can feel really taboo, right? Like, Oh, I just want to put it into a corner and not pay attention to it. It’s like that elephant in the room that everyone tries to ignore. But hang on a second, before you go anywhere, let me tell you this episode is about to change the game for you.

Again, I have two incredibly special guests who are on a mission to make you financially fearless. That’s right. No more being scared to check your bank account or feel like you’re in the dark when it comes to investing. We’re talking about the real deal ways to make your money work for you, so that you can live that fearless future filled with choices.

Who are these financial superheroes? They’re the dynamic mother and daughter duo, Dr. Barb Provost and Maggie Nielsen of the brand, Purse Strings. And let me tell you, these women are the champions of change when it comes to getting savvy about your savings and your investments.

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Barb has seen firsthand how the financial industry often overlooks women. Together, with her daughter Maggie, they are here to shake things up.

In today’s episode, you are going to learn some eye opening truths. We’re going to debunk myths and give you the low down on how you can protect yourself and your future with some smart money moves.

Think of it like having a chat with two good friends who just happen to be experts in making sure that you’re not just surviving but you’re also thriving.

Now, don’t let all of this talk about finance scare you. Remember, knowledge is power. And when it comes to money, it’s absolutely no different. There are so many similarities between health and money.

Take a deep breath, grab your favorite drink, and let’s get into it. Because today, you’re going to join a movement towards true financial empowerment. Are you ready? Let’s do this.

Elizabeth: All right, everyone. Welcome, Maggie and Barb to our show. So first, Maggie and Barb, welcome. I’m so excited that y’all are here and that we’re going to be talking about some exciting things for women in midlife. Let me have you introduce yourselves independently one each and talk about who you are, who you serve, and what you do. And let’s start with Maggie.

Maggie: Awesome. Thank you for having us on today. I’m very excited to be here. My name is Maggie Nielsen. I’m a partner at Purse Strings, where we’re all about helping women be financially fearless. So, we provide free tools and resources, but also a vetted list of purse strings approved professionals, which are financial professionals who specialize in serving the female market. So, our passion is really to help women be financially fearless.

Elizabeth: Fantastic. Great. And so, Barb, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Dr. Barb: Sure. I’m Dr. Barb Provost. I’m Maggie’s mom. We work together in partnership on Purse Strings. This kind of stemmed because my background is I’m an adult educator, worked in the financial industry, saw that there was a huge need for women to really understand their own finances to step into their power.

And I talked to Maggie about it all the time, as she was growing up, and had her be my scribe for a lot of the research that we did, a lot of the focus groups, so she’s kind of been my sidekick the whole time.

And when the pandemic came, my consulting business kind of dried up and Maggie had just finished her MBA at Loyola, we went all in a hundred percent in 2020 and focused on the mission of Purse Strings, together.

Elizabeth: That’s amazing. So, how did you come up with this idea? What’s the genesis of it?

Dr. Barb: Well, it started because I’ve worked in lots of different financial organizations, very close to product, process, procedure because I was designing and developing so much training. So, I was so close to working with financial professionals.

But I could see where they were really overlooking a female market. So much of it was transactional. I know women don’t really buy in a transactional way. And a lot of even photos on the marketing materials were like a white man and a white woman skipping down the beach with two little children. And that’s not every woman’s life.

And so, those were the photos that I typically saw over and over. And then, that plus I went through a divorce myself and met other women who are going through divorce and many of them had questions about; can I afford this divorce?

I never was really in charge of the cash in our household. So, I’m not quite sure how much money we have. You know, should I buy a house? Should I sell her house? Lots of questions, financial foundational questions, and I thought this is interesting. These women are bright, educated, smart women, and they have some really foundational questions about money.

So, I took that, stuck it in my pocket. And then, I would run errands on the weekends, like with Maggie, and we’d go to Target or the grocery store or Costco. And I’d see women of retirement age, bagging groceries, handing out samples, stocking shelves. And I’d say to Maggie, why are these women doing this kind of remedial work? I wonder if they need to do this work, or if they just like the Social activity, you know.

So, all of these, what I’ve observed, what I saw in my work, challenged me to do some more research. And so, I commissioned a researcher to see if the financial institutions are helping and focusing on women. And if women are prepared for their financial future, and all the data came back that insurance and financial institutions when the award is being the least sympathetic to women. And women are woefully underprepared for their retirement.

So, I did see that there is a huge gap here. However, women are very valuable and very wealthy market. They’re just really untapped and unattended to, if you will. So, I said to Maggie, let’s grab your computer, and we held focus groups in libraries and offices and people’s homes, different age groups, different cultures. We had one facilitated in Spanish. Just to say, this is what the data says. Tell us what your experience is and then I’ll let Maggie take it from here.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I would love to know what your experience was of that seeing your mom and then seeing all of these other women. Yeah, tell me everything.

Maggie: Yeah, it was just really interesting as like, of course, I was in high school going into college. So, just starting to kind of get that grasp on money and didn’t really understand all this retirement planning and all these things that I do now.

And so, when the most common thing women said to us was that their financial professional didn’t even look at them. I was mind blown to the fact of like, this is your life savings. This is your whole future. You kind of get one chance at it. And you’re giving it all to someone who doesn’t look at you, that’s mind boggling to me.

But we also had one woman, when she realized this focus group was talking about money, she stormed out and left, saying this was a rude conversation to have. And then, I went to college, and I like talked with some of my roommates and never had discussions about money, about paying for college, about this is how much a school costs. This is how much you got in tuition or in student loans. And this is how much it’s going to be bottom line.

So, I could see from my age group, starting young, these conversations were not happening. And I saw from this older women who were saying like, this is either rude to talk about, or working with someone who doesn’t even look at them. So, it really then opened my eyes and I saw these more women of retirement age everywhere I went working these smaller jobs.

And so, once I had all this information and I had this opportunity to work with Barb, it was like, I couldn’t look away after knowing, kind of the severity of what’s going on and knowing that I can make a change to that. So, we definitely wanted to jump in and women said, I really want to go someplace where I can just get some education without being pushed a product or being belittled or you don’t know that word like.

So, we wanted to provide that, but then they said, who can I go to? Who can I really trust? And it is about having that person in your corner who’s willing to explain it to you, who’s not going to be like, Oh, you work? That’s surprising. Like, you know, as some of these stories that women would tell us.

So, it was really important for us to make sure we have Purse Strings as that trusted source for education, but also these great professionals who will help amplify them. Because you’re really vulnerable with your financial professional. You’re almost financially naked with them. So, you want to find a person you can be comfortable with. And that’s really what’s important to us.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I mean, Maggie, at one point we had a conversation, and I was talking about my advanced certification in feminist coaching and like money is just something that women don’t want to talk about. And I don’t know if it’s the socialization that we get as young girls, that we’re not good at math, or if it’s the society saying that we shouldn’t talk about what is it sex, religion, politics, and money, that those are all crude dinner conversations.

And so, we shy away from that. And one statistic that I love, which you can probably tell me is men generally do more of the investing, but women are better investors. Is that correct? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Dr. Barb: Yeah. You’re spot on with that. Men are typically, the person in the household who does the investing, it’s changing a little bit. It’s not true for all households. But the majority like you said, we were enculturated as young women, young girls to give the money or the financial discussions to the men. And actually, men approach the financial conversation quite differently than women do.

Men look at it from a return on investment, what am I going to make, how long is it going to take to get me there? Where women are not a knee jerk reaction around that, so they tend to hold on to their investments a little bit longer. They’re looking for investments that they can feel secure with. Many are looking for investments that are investing in things that are important to them.

So, we talk about socially responsible investing, we’re looking for investments that are going to ensure, I’m protected. My family’s protected. It’s good for the community that I live in. It’s more than just her, and it’s more than just the return on investment. So, when you’re looking at investments from those two different viewpoints, it studies have shown that men, buy, sell more quickly. Where women will hang on to it a little bit longer and they outperform men.

Elizabeth: Okay. And so, let’s go back a little bit to the social investing because I think that that is fascinating. Can you talk a little bit more about what women look for or how we define that?

Maggie: Yeah, so it’s either you might hear socially responsible investing or ESG investing, which is environmental, social, and governance. And so, these are different ways of investing where you really look at the whole portfolio, look what the business is doing, if they’re actually practicing what they preach and all those different things. And investing in those companies who are doing the actions that you want to see.

And even as you dive more into the socially responsible investing, you can focus on companies that are supporting women’s equality, are supporting environmental sustainability are like, it just gets into the nitty gritty. You can even find more, but just learning that your investments in these specific companies that you choose, not only are you’re making money for your retirement and your future. But it’s also helping the community around you.

And so, ESG used to have this history of the returns were not always as great. Now, this stats are showing that they’re very much equal to everything else out there. But it is also not as regulated as like the definition of ESG, I guess, per se. It’s not as regulated.

And so, you do have to do some research or have a professional who really does some of that deep digging to really make sure those investments are aligning with your values. And of course, there’s more like programs and education and different things about that, but that’s kind of the high level.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Fascinating. So, going back to something that you said before, and I saw an Instagram reel that y’all talked about this is financial advisors who wouldn’t look at the woman or the wife in the relationship. How is that even possible?

Dr. Barb: It happens all the time. I mean, when we say that to women, they just keep nodding their head. They don’t disagree and often say, I see you’re nodding your head. And they go, Oh, yeah, and then they’ll tell us their story, you know. And we’ve heard every story in the book, someone who said, I go to ask the question and my financial professional leaned across the table and took my hand and just said, don’t worry about that, honey. Or a financial professional, this woman I know, bright, smart, educated woman, her husband’s a doctor.

She’s actually, a psychologist and they were at a meeting. And she’s like, the financial professional was a friend of my husband’s, so we went to him. And he was in this conversation dissing his own wife about her spending and how much she’s spending.

And this woman said, I was appalled at how disrespectful he was about his own wife and openly talked about it in really a client meeting, which there was no business for that. And she thought, boy, if he talks that terribly about his own wife and that openly, how does he talk about his other clients? What would he say about us when we’re not in the room?

So, we just hear a lot of these stories where women are just in awe of kind of the action or reaction in many, many times. And we even say it to male advisors and they’re like, yeah, we see it happening all the time too, because this is why it happens. It’s because the financial arena institutions were models built by men for men to sell to men.

And men purchase financials quite differently than women do. Women have a lot more questions. They want to learn more. They want to know what they’re investing in. They want to know kind of more the terms and conditions, not just the return on investment.

And oftentimes, and I’ve heard it myself, financial professionals will say, I don’t like working with women because they ask too many questions. And they take too long to make a decision.

Elizabeth: Well, and that’s fascinating because I think that for many women who don’t feel secure and comfortable in finance. When we ask questions, that signals where we are in our learning process. And so, many women don’t want to appear dumb.

At the point where you know enough to say, no, I know my questions aren’t dumb. That’s when you really have the power. But what that does then is it puts the financial advisor and making them justify, and they don’t want to have to do that. Right?

Maggie: It is kind of a runaround is we never got that financial education. I mean, nobody really gets it in grade school or high school these days. I mean, it’s getting better, but not great. And so, I don’t know how you were supposed to know it. And if you’ve already been to like, I hear so many women say, I’ve been to a professional and I’ve gotten shame for my questions or shame for not having a million dollars or something else. I don’t really want to go to somebody else and also get just shamed on again, that’s not a great feeling. I’m going to not try to do that.

And so, it prevents you from asking those questions or even going to have the conversation. So, it is a bit of a loop. Knowing that we have these trusted professionals who are willing to answer those questions, it’s just like, I promise you they’ll be nice to you. It’s going to be okay, you know, just open up the conversation, ease into it.

And it does take a couple conversations to really open up and actually, discuss your personal investments and that plan there. You’re not doing that day one. Day one, you’re just really building that relationship and making sure it’s a fit because it is vulnerable asking those questions and quote unquote, looking stupid, even though you don’t or whatever it may be.

Dr. Barb: And a good professional should never make you feel like any of your questions are stupid or you should have known more. It happens and that’s why I think women do shy away from the conversation. But we look for those professionals who lead with knowledge and skill and educate their potential client, their clients starting wherever they are on their financial journey. And so, that’s who we have at Purse Strings.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay. I want to get into Purse Strings in just a little bit, but let’s answer the question, why is it so important that women are clued in and part of the partnership in their retirement plan and what they’re investing in?

Dr. Barb: Okay, I’m going to take this one. There are a million reasons, but I’m going to tell you some of the very top reasons. Number one, women often leave the workforce to care for children, right? So, when you leave your job, oftentimes you’re leaving behind contributions to your social security and contributions to any of your retirement funds.

And if you haven’t made a conscious plan with you, your spouse, and a financial professional that allows you to start saving for retirement when you leave the workforce by using spousal IRAs contributions, things like that. Then, if you should either your husband dies or you get a divorce, you’ve been out of the workforce without any contributions to your own retirement for many, many years. You know, 5, 10, 15, maybe 20 years.

So, you’re already behind financially that way. And you would have to upscale to get back into work, go back to school, something like that. That’s the first one.

The second one is we’re living longer. So, the average age of a widow is 59. That’s much younger than most people think. And at 59, if a woman is widowed, she’s got a good 30, 40 years in which to really live out her own life, either solely or a second marriage. But if she’s solo, she’s in charge of her own finances, and if she’s never been in charge of her own finances, she may be just steering the headlights and taking advantage of and not have a plan in place for how she can live either solo or solo caring for children.

Also, if she’s not aware of any life insurance policies and the beneficiaries, those are really, really important, especially with a second marriage. The other thing is that when women age alone, their health and oversight gets very expensive. And oftentimes, their income is limited if they’re retired now, and they’re living on a limited income with Social Security or any kind of other investment income.

But their expenses could get expensive, right? Because what if they need in home care, or they need to move into a facility of some sort because now they’re 85 and they can’t live by themselves, they’re no longer driving, they need more health and oversight. That’s a very, very expensive term of life.

Just being prepared when you’re much younger and learning, as you move through your life, what’s the next stage that I need to be aware of? How can I plan for it? Where are the monies in the household? How much money is coming in and going out? Where are our investments? Are they growing to the degree we need them to grow based on our portfolio and our lifespan? Are we planning for long term care? Do we have proper powers of attorneys on each other, wills, things like that.

So, women are outliving men, and yet they’re not out earning men. And they’re often behind should they get divorced. So, that’s just a handful of reasons, we could go into many, many more, but those are really what we see day to day.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I can only imagine something that we’ve talked about a little bit is a gray divorce. So, gray divorce is defined as, I don’t know, how do you define grey divorce?

Dr. Barb: I would say women in their fifties. Women in their fifties getting divorced. I was part of that as well. Got divorced in my fifties. I’ve had friends who were divorced in their fifties. You see it more popular in the news when you see like, the gates and those people who are in their fifties and getting divorced.

It’s just, again, people are living longer, their children have left the nest. They realize they have a long life to live, or they just can’t do it anymore, for whatever reason, they need to go their own ways. But when women are getting divorced in their 50s, they lose out a lot.

Financially, where men typically gain more because men have been in the workforce. They’re continuously upskilling, getting raises, climbing the ladder, getting the benefits and they will continue to do that where women have to just start at that point oftentimes.

Elizabeth: Yeah. My parents divorced when I was 21. And so, I saw it with my parents. My mom had gone back to college when I was in third grade. And actually, when I was going into college, so she was in the workforce for a short time. But she had taken like 20 years out of actually probably even longer, more like 30 years out of the workforce. And so, she was really starting back again where my dad was already high mid-career.

Maggie: Right. I think the other aspect that I didn’t even know before I dove into this work is like to receive Social Security when you retire. You have to get 10 years or it’s like these number of credits earning X amount of money and they give you your Social Security based on your 10 highest earning years.

If you think about that, when you step back into the workforce, your highest earning years are probably not as high as the person who’s been consistently working. And so, even when you retire and you both get social security benefits, their benefits might be triple yours, just because you weren’t earning a ton in those working years.

And so, it’s not just the opportunity of you to put money in your 401k, but the way the social security trickles down, you get a lot less of that because of your highest earning years. So, things can really end up piggybacking on each other and kind of making those compound effects.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Dr. Barb: We talk about gray divorce, but we can talk about women hold more student debt, I mean, your mom had to go back to school, right? That costs money to get back to school and maybe working at the same time. That’s not easy. And not only that, there’s this thing called the pink tax where women pay more for more things but clean it, I’ve had it in my own experience recently where my shirt, my cotton shirt to be cleaned at the cleaners was more than my husband’s.

And they were giving us this kind of nonsense that, well, it’s a smaller shirt and it has to go on a different board or something like this. And it was just ridiculous, and studies will show where you look at the pink razor for women and the blue razor for men, and they’re charging women more. Women pay more for their hair. They pay more to get their hair cut.

We just have a lot more expenses. We have bodily functions men don’t have to deal with and we have to pay for those expenses. I mean, everything is more expensive.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay. So, let’s talk a little bit about Purse Strings because I think that it’s amazing and fantastic. And so, talk a little bit about what it is and who joins it. And yeah, tell me all the things cause I love it.

Maggie: Yeah. Purse Strings is really for women, for them to have a go to resource to get a lot of some of that financial education that we never learned about. We have great tools if you’re just learning where your money’s going, getting that cash flow in and out of your house. Paying down debt, whatever it may be. But we have great information about buying a house or planning for retirement as a business owner or you know, it runs the gamut.

But really to help you fill in those gaps. But then when you need a professional to help you start investing, or get that life insurance, or get your powers of attorneys. We have these top tier financial professionals who have all been approved and vetted, who really focus on serving women.

So, you can get a great experience and really build that team of financial professionals. And you definitely will need a team of professionals. I know it sometimes sounds intimidating at first, but you will need a team, especially, if you go through a great divorce and we can loop back around to who might be on that team. But we really have all those professionals ready for you and ready for hire.

Elizabeth: And so, do you also work with attorneys?

Maggie: We do have some attorneys. Yeah. Divorce attorneys and estate planning attorneys.

Elizabeth: Okay, fantastic. Wow. The whole like support team.

Maggie: Yeah. We have some mediators. We have some people who do your taxes. We even have this woman who’s a specialist of certified divorce loan practitioner. Even if you’re going through a divorce, do you keep the house? Do you sell it? Do you get it in your name? How much is the child support going to cover? Well, if that doesn’t cover for three years, can you use it in your mortgage?

And so, all these moving pieces. So, we have specialties in all these almost niche areas, so people can really get that true expertise that they need.

Elizabeth: Okay. And it’s a free community, right?

Maggie: Correct.

Dr. Barb: It’s free for women to join and access the resources and take advantage of our directory. Should they hire one of our professionals, they would pay the professional.

Elizabeth: Sure. But all of the professionals are vetted through you and so you know that you’re not going to get someone who’s going to minimize you or mansplain or anything like that.

Maggie: Exactly.

Dr. Barb: You got it.

Elizabeth: Fantastic. For women who are maybe behind the curve. So, they haven’t really put a lot of money into their savings or their investments and they’re feeling fear and shame about that. What are your suggestions for first steps and what to do?

Dr. Barb: Well, the first thing to do is to do something, take action. So often, I can’t say this enough. So many women say my biggest regret was I didn’t do enough, or I didn’t do anything, or I didn’t do it sooner. So, what does that action look like? It can be a couple of things. Come to Purse Strings, we have a worksheet called, “where’s my money going?”

You can just download that for free. Take a look at it. It just walks you through step by step how much money is coming into me every month. Where’s my money going out? It has every single category you could probably think of.

And when you really understand just the monthly cashflow in your household by working through that document, gives you a clear picture of where you are today. So, that’s just kind of your daily snapshot, and that’s a great place to start.

The other place is if you have limited funds, you’re not quite sure, you have amazing financial coaches that you could hire and work with. Now, some people would say, I feel strapped with my finances, why would I invest and work with a financial coach?

But believe me, you’re going to get your money back on that because they’re going to help you tighten up some things, find out your money leaks. Show you how to rearrange some things. How to better invest with maybe an ideal savings account. They’re going to really shore you up for success in the future.

Now, if you have money like 401k or maybe a few 401ks you left at other institutions, or you’re thinking about retirement, or maybe you just want to start saving for a great vacation. You’re not quite sure. Maybe you think you’re going to be getting an inheritance. Talk to one of our financial advisors or planners who can help you get a full view picture where you’re at today with all of your finances. What else might be coming to you, how you’re prepared for Social Security.

When you’re thinking about retirement, what do you want that retirement to look for or look like for you? So, some women say, I want to travel the world. Some people say, I don’t like to travel. I just want to roll around on the floor with my grandchildren. The expenses on that are quite different, right? Traveling the world is going to cost more money than not traveling the world.

So, you plan for what you want your future life to look like. And those are the conversations you start having with your financial professionals. And we have so many great people that are going to just help you make good decisions. And what we say is make a future full of choices. We don’t want women to be stuck. We want them to have choices.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Something that I want to go back to that you said, and also something that you said earlier in our conversation is about coaching. And I think it’s really important for the women listening that women have been socialized to save and budget. And that’s how we manage our money. Whereas you had mentioned earlier that men look at like the ROI. And men are socialized to earn money.

And so, I think that it’s really important for the women listening to understand that coaching can actually end up saving you money, even though you’re spending money on it. I truly believe that coaching is the cheapest option.

Dr. Barb: Oh, yeah.

Elizabeth: When it comes down to it.

Maggie: If you have overdraft fees. And so, you figure out a plan to protect all those, well, that’s 200 a month you just saved or these overdraft fees and things like that. And the other part is that accountability, someone to hold you to it and take your word. I mean, we always kind of compare it to weight loss. Like we know, if you want to lose weight, you eat less and you work out more. But it’s much easier to send that done. And there’s a lot of reasons why people hire a coach.

One of them is to give you the plan and to tell you what to do, but the other one is to hold you accountable to do it. And when the days get hard, you can lean back on them and be like, okay, this is the challenge I’m going through right now. Can you help me get over almost this mindset barrier of whatever it may be, you know?

So, it’s more than just someone sitting down and being like, this is how you budget. But this is how Elizabeth needs to budget for her goals and her desires because that’s very different than the way. Barb is going to budget with her goals and her desires. And so, it’s just having someone kind of on your team, on your side, holding you accountable. As well as having all these tips, tools, tricks in their back pocket that they could help you with in these different scenarios.

One example is my favorite is like this one woman, single woman, two kids was working with one of our coaches and her car payments were just eating up her budget. She knew she just wanted a different car that was cheaper, a bit safer, all the different things. And that was still kind of new to her.

And our financial professional went with her to go buy the car because she knew that she needed kind of that alliance, that person with her to get over those fears. And it’s just things like that, where it’s going above and beyond. And yes, it has to do with finances and just affording your car, but it’s bigger than that. It’s this whole life picture. And so, it’s just warms my heart. And it’s also exciting to see these people succeed.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I love that you brought up budgeting and weight loss because there are so many tie ins between health and money. And I have this saying that says, diets don’t fix overeating problems, and budgets don’t fix overspending problems. Right?

I mean, you can be prescribed a budget or a diet, and that’s not going to fix the reason why you spend the money or why you overeat. We need to get into what are the reasons behind those actions. And there’s a ton of shame that goes along with that.

Like Barb, when you were talking about writing down where your money is going, like I’m really resisting that right now. That’s something that I know I should do, but I’m really resisting it because of that inner critic that pops up and is like, Oh, you shouldn’t have done that. Right?

Dr. Barb: Yes. Yes. A million times, yes. But the problem with that is we’re putting so much emotion into something, and blame, and shame. Where does that all come from? Money is just a tool. Food is sustenance, and we’re putting all this emotion around it. And really, we have to unprogrammed our minds. I mean, we get so much of that on a daily, consistent basis.

And at Purse Strings, we’re trying to just say, look, no shame, no guilt. Here, money’s a tool, let’s figure out how to use it cause nobody taught us. But also, this whole thing around debt, we say, not all debt is bad debt. Nobody goes out and pays 500, 000 or 300, 000 puts that money down to buy a house, right? They take out a mortgage. Well, of course that’s debt, but of course everyone does that because that’s how you have a house and shelter and your home and raise children and all of that.

Same with a car. Yeah, you need to buy a car because the car is going to get you to and from work so that you can make some money, and go to school, and get you places that you need to be, so that’s debt. But that is debt that’s helping you in your life.

And school loans, we are always having to upscale and up tool ourselves. And so, we take out school loans. And then, people feel guilty. I have all this school loans. Well, you know what? You have MBA, or a doctorate, or college education. That’s a value. That’s an investment in yourself.

So, we can’t look at debt is always this negative things. It’s what helps us move ahead in our lives. We just have to make sure we’re managing it. Yeah. It’s terrible how difficult life can be, especially for women and how much shame comes at them from all sides. And so often, we have to do a lot of self-talk and self-positivity around, I saw this little vignette yesterday and I sent it to Maggie, and it said, this is what people said at the end of their lives.

I regret not being happier. I regret not leaving that job that I hated. I regret not traveling more. I regret not spending more time with my children. And I think that we need to really refocus on those things that make us happy and joyful day to day. And not just being bogged down with all this shame that’s created by, I don’t know, marketing professionals. I don’t know where it comes from society, culture, religion, you name it. But we need to really protect ourselves from it.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting I work with my clients a lot on emotional eating. And I tell them, we don’t want to get rid of emotional eating. What we want to do is we want to get rid of the unconscious emotional eating, right? We don’t want to eat a bag of chips and then be like, wait, did I just eat that? Right?

Exactly. And so, I think that the same thing is true with spending. That it’s okay to spend the money, we just don’t want all of the money to go away from us and be like, Oh, where did all of my money go? And so, being aware of it. And a little story that I have for y’all is when we moved from Austin, Texas to Mexico. We sold all of our stuff, which was very, a very interesting process.

But in that time, there was like nine months to a year where my husband and I used to buy stuff on Amazon all the time. We still do. But, in the States, it comes faster. So, like you have that instant gratification. And I remember, when we had decided that we were going to move here and sell all of our stuff, everything that I looked at on Amazon suddenly went through this filter of, am I going to bring it to Mexico? And if I’m not going to bring it to Mexico, do I need it? And so, it all of a sudden created this. really interesting awareness around my spending.

Maggie: Yeah. It’s very similar to we advertise as like value spending. So, when you do go through, what I spent my money on, and if you’re having some things come up, I always be like, Hmm, that’s interesting. Just take an interested perspective, just curiosity always leading from that perspective. But it’s like, Hmm, I spent 300 on eating out. Is that important to me?

And for me, personally, I know all those meals were with somebody else. And since I work from home, going out to eat is important to me because I’m out of the house, I’m socializing with others. That’s important to me. Somebody else, that might not be their priority. Their priority might be, who knows, clothes. Clothes are not my priority.

And so, it’s like, they would rather spend the $300 there and not go out to eat. And that’s their priority. We might not see eye to eye on that because we have different beliefs of what these things mean to us, but it’s our values. And so, when you look at somebody else’s budget and you’re like, you spend a hundred dollars on coffee. It’s like, yeah, cause I go out and I get coffee and I work, and that’s what brings me joy. It’s not, you are going out drinking all the time. That’s what brings you joy, you know?

And so, it’s just understanding your budget can’t be compared to anyone else’s. You just got to spend with your values. And so, when you start purchasing things and you’re like, is this important to me? Is this what future Maggie would be excited to have, or excited to wear, or not mind paying back for?

Then, that’s the way that you can spend the money and feel much more confident about it. And again, it’s just that perspective of like, is future me going to be cool with that? Am I going to be thanking myself for that purchase later?

Elizabeth: Yeah. And that’s actually really fascinating because there was a time when my husband and I, we lived in Austin, Texas, and we were like, where is our money going? And it was going all to our five bedroom house. And everything that we were doing to maintain it.

But he was looking at each of our friends and he was like, Bob has this expensive bike, and this couple, they go travel all the time, and this couple does this. And how come we can’t do all of those things. And what you said right there, Maggie, I think is really super important because oftentimes we can look at other people and say, well, all of these other people are doing all of these other things.

So therefore, they all have all of this money that I don’t have because I can’t afford to do all of the things, right? And what you’re saying is figure out what your priorities are because not everyone can do all of the things.

Maggie: Well, they might not have a five bedroom house. Or somebody else, they might spend $3000 on this road bike that they are ecstatic about. I could not imagine spending that much money on a bike. But that’s not important to me. For me, if it was on a trip to Europe, like all in, and or TSA pre chock. That’s important to me because traveling is important and saving that time.

And so, you can’t just compare what they have to what you have, it’s just not the same. And so that’s why sometimes looking into other people’s pictures and trying to keep up with the Joneses, it’s not really the TSA Pre-check of what’s going on. They may not have new cars, but they always travel versus the family. You’re like, well, they’re drive luxury. Well, they don’t go anywhere. They only go in the car.

So, you just have to compare and see what’s important to you and your family. And that changes with your seasons of life when you’re having kids, or if you’re just single, or if you’re 70. Those things will change.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And so, hopefully this conversation has gotten rid of a little bit of shame for some people who are like, Oh, I don’t want to put all of my expenses down and my income because I’m not exactly sure where that is. And I love the Brene Brown quote of “shame cannot exist in the light of day.”

And so, when you can look at your finances, when you can look at where you’re spending your money, then I don’t want to say that you can’t have any shame there, but at least you are aware of it. Then, you know, and you’re able to make decisions because when you’re putting your head in the sand, then you’re just letting fate take its course. Right?

Maggie: Definitely.

Dr. Barb: Yeah. And I would say when you’re working through those documents or writing down where your money’s going. Like Maggie said, don’t blame yourself for maybe, Oh, I shouldn’t have bought that 500 purse. Just thought, Huh, interesting. I bought a 500 purse. Do I really use that purse? Do I love it? Does it bring me joy? If so, great. If not, well, maybe I just won’t do that again next time. Just be curious about it. Ask yourself, was this important to me? Am I still using it? And then, learn and move on. What does shame bring you? Nothing.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Well, and I’ll argue that shame actually blocks any curiosity. Like in the example of the purse, like what did I think was going to happen when I bought this purse? What was the feeling that I was expecting to get from the purse? What was the feeling that I had for the purse? And how long did that last? And was it 500 worth of value? Yeah. Love that question.

Dr. Barb: Yeah, exactly. And you know, we have to be kinder to ourselves. That’s what it is. We have to be kinder to ourselves. And Maggie would say, boy, my mom wouldn’t talk to me that way. Why would I talk to myself that way? People around you wouldn’t treat you that way. Why would you talk to yourself that way?

So, we need to be more gracious with ourselves and learn from whatever we thought was move, maybe that wasn’t a good move. Now, I’m going to learn from that and move on.

Elizabeth: Perfect. Now, y’all have a gift for the listeners. Yeah?

Maggie: Yeah. We have two different ones that we wanted to offer today. One of them is our “Divorce Guide” which is just if you are thinking about going through divorce, it’s just a couple things to prep before you say the D word of really who to make your team and what kind of documentation to be gathering of your household.

So, that’s one. But we also have this other one that’s our “family emergency binder,” which is I don’t want to overwhelm you, but it’s over 100 pages. Just for you to fill out for information of you, and your family, if it’s your partner, or your kids, or whatever it may be. But it can track that emergency tree, kind of, if you need phone calls to make.

But also, who’s your auto insurance agent? What’s that number? Where’s that life insurance policy and that old 401k from the job back when you were 40? What are those account numbers? Who would I call? When push comes to shove, it’s all in one spot. This is the binder that you need, that it’s kind of like your family’s bible right there of all the information from your finances to medical even, your pets and vets.

That way if anyone ends up in the hospital, anyone’s sick, or even if you’re just out of town, there’s that one central spot for everyone to get their information. And we think this is also a great resource to bring some of that curiosity to your family and have these conversations about finances of, do we have that long-term care policy? Should we check if it’s updated? Where are these numbers here? I want to figure out this binder for our family, so we have kind of this one central spot.

So, it’s a great way to kind of have that conversation starter and telling your kids, you guys are my powers of attorney. You are the ones going to be receiving these things. This is where the binder is. It’s in this closet. If anything happens, now you know. And so, that’s something we want to give out today too. So, it’s just a download. You could print it off or you can fill it out online, but we recommend printing it out.

Elizabeth: Okay. And both of those links will be in the show notes for sure. Now, the family emergency plan, is that also something that someone could bring into a caregiving situation?

Dr. Barb: Yeah. Like Maggie said, you could fill it out for yourself and your own family. But caregiving is a whole other podcast we could talk about. But women are primary caregivers for and for family members, sometimes friends of the family. And this would be also an excellent tool.

So, print it twice if you need to. That helps you open those conversations with them, and you don’t have to fill the whole thing out. Some of it may not even apply. It’s sectioned off. So just go to those sections that say, boy, let’s just talk about who’s your power of attorney, who we might need to call, who are your doctors. You know, sometimes as we age, we have lots of different doctors. What’s the hospital? Where are these documents located? Are they online somewhere? Are they printed somewhere?

So, there’s a lot, right? As we age, life gets a little complicated. So, this is a way to zero in on the conversation. And on the actual data that you need. The account numbers, the names, the locations, the phone numbers, the websites, the emails, things like that, that you can capture.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I remember when my mom passed away, she was a CPA. And so, she had a lot of this stuff already documented, but it was not easy still for my sister who is the executor. So, it’s amazing. Like, I don’t think that these things existed 20 years ago. So, I love it that you’re offering that for your community.

Dr. Barb: Yeah. We want women to get in front of any emergency. Be prepared, plan for your retirement, plan for your vacation, plan for building your new house, whatever it might be. Plan for those things that we know if they happen, it’s when they happen. And we just want to make sure the tools are available to women.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Maggie: It’s much easier to do with a clear mind. You know, when nothing’s going on, then when everything’s going on.

Elizabeth: Good point. Good point. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you. Is there anything else that you want to talk about, or have we missed anything at this point?

Maggie: I just wanted to touch on the fact that we shared a lot about what women are up against and a lot of reasons why they might be behind. But I just want to kind of reiterate, there’s no better day than today to get started. It’s only going to get better if you work on it. And money can really be a tool and an opportunity. And so, once you can kind of feel confident enough to get to that level, it’s really empowering. And so, for anyone who might think that they’re super behind or all that stuff, no one’s in as bad of a place as they think they are.

And there’s always an opportunity to move forward and really make that life full of choices. No matter what stage you’re at, there’s always an opportunity to move forward. And so, I just want people to make sure to know that there’s opportunity out there. Money can be a great tool resource. Open up those choices and really lead to some freedom. And so, be excited when you jump in about all the opportunity that there is to come.

Dr. Barb: Yeah. Well said, Maggie.

Elizabeth: Awesome. Well, thank you both for being here. I really appreciate what you’re doing for your community. I am part of the community, so all of the listeners, if you join, you’ll have me in your group as well. And yeah, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your wisdom as well as these resources with the listeners. That’s awesome. Thank you.

Dr. Barb: Thank you so much for having us on.

All right. Thank you so much for sticking at with us right through to the end of this power packed episode. I hope you’re walking away feeling just as fired up as I am about all of the amazing information that Maggie and Dr. Barb shared. It’s so cool, isn’t it?

We talked about everything from how to be bold with your dollars to tackling those tough life changes with confidence. We got real about money, life, and everything in between.

If today’s chat created a spark in you or you thought of a friend who’s wrestling with getting her finances straight. You know, someone who’s got big dreams, but feels like her wallet’s holding her back. Do her a solid and pass along this episode. It could be the nudge that she needs to start steering her own money.

And if you’re sitting there thinking, I’ve got to get a grip on my health, so it won’t slow me down later, I’m right here for you. Seriously, let’s reach out because one thing that will kill your retirement savings is your health.

And so, let’s chat about how coaching can help you feel like a million bucks. No magic wands or complicated stuff, just straight up simple steps that make sense for you in your life.

Thank you again for tuning in. Remember, sharing is caring, so spread the love and the knowledge. That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing week, everyone. And I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

Thanks for staying with us till the end of this episode. If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of the ‘8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do’ and want to connect with a community of like-minded women, I warmly invite you to join our free Facebook group, ‘8 Basic Habits that Women in Midlife Do’.

In this group, we expand on the habits discussed today, sharing experiences, offering support, and celebrating our health journeys together. It’s a space where you can feel understood and encouraged.

To join, simply click the link in our show notes. Let’s support and inspire each other in our quest for better health. See you in the group!

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Purse Strings w/ Maggie Nielson & Barb Provost
Purse Strings w/ Maggie Nielson & Barb Provost