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For the female certified financial planner, the struggle of a lifetime is a lesson for others

During my 18 years of sobriety, I have learned that in active alcoholism, emotions tend to freeze. Emotions are not processed, so they pile up. This is why support systems, especially for women, are so important.

The deep wounds of living in poverty and homelessness made me afraid of anything valuable. These fears hindered my financial growth. I never bought a house that I knew would benefit me financially, because deep down, I feared it would be taken away from me again.

I sought therapy to work through these patterns and surface wounds that were hindering my progress. I bought my first house last year, and I am 56 years old. I believe that my unhealthy beliefs about money have had the biggest impact on my financial choices. Logically, I knew all the right things to do, but innate fear kept me from taking action.

Managing your personal finances effectively goes beyond numbers. If psychological barriers are blocking one’s path, then all the education in the world cannot help. My experiences have taught me that those of us who are financial professionals should talk to our clients and consider their attitudes, beliefs and feelings about money when giving advice, or we could set them up for failure.

On International Women’s Day, women should remember: It’s never too late for a fresh start, and to let go of deep-rooted beliefs that can hinder both personal and financial progress. Removing psychological barriers stemming from past trauma can help us make better choices and live the lives we’ve earned—and deserve.

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