Spend With Intent to Cast The Right Vote
A century has passed since the 19th amendment was ratified by Congress, granting American women the right to vote and forever cementing their place as advocates for a better world. Plenty has changed in the hundred years since the “Silent Sentinels” burned Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and suffragists pounded the streets, too: Women have gone on to travel in space; decide if and when to have children; fly solo (in more ways than one); defeat male sports champs; serve in the armed corps and on the Supreme Court; become the Speaker of the House, the U.S. attorney general, and the COO of the world’s largest social media platform, and hold a slot for a major political party on the presidential ballot. W.E. B. Du Bois didn’t just have it right when he said “there is no force equal to a woman determined to rise”—he nailed it.
But a hundred years is a long time—so much so some women have become inured to the fact that we can vote (which, on one hand, is a good thing). And in an increasingly inscrutable political climate, even more may feel that our votes don’t have the meaning they once did.
Nonsense, I say. The power of our votes is as potent today as it was a hundred years ago, because now we have the opportunity to vote for far more than just candidates. Only now, the onus is on us to ensure we’re casting those votes in the most beneficial direction—and inspiring others to do the same. Decades ago, our grandmothers carried around “mad money”—that stash of extra cash in case an emergency befell them. Now we can carry around—at least metaphorically—what I’ve taken to calling “mind money.”
What is mind money, you might ask? It’s spending with intent—and furthering our long-held desire for a better world.
Think of it this way. We cast votes, really, on a daily basis. We vote for our health when we pass on the donut and opt for the apple. We vote for a sustainable future every time we buy locally, or recycle, or walk in lieu of driving. Now, it’s time to consciously and consistently extend those votes to our purchases and investments.
Most of us associate mindfulness with our eating habits, self-care, and relationships. All of which is well and good, but a key element of our life is frequently missing from the equation: Finances. Financial matters tend to be aimed at solving problems, which requires us to be past or futurefocused—correcting an error or preventing a mishap. And unless we’ve been financial saints since adolescence, both may trigger negative emotions, particularly for we women, who have historically been underpaid or not remunerated at all (hello, stay-at-home moms). In turn? We over-spend to compensate, or fail to invest out of fear, thereby rendering true financial wellness that much more elusive.
In my 23 years as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, I’ve helped countless people identify these blunders. And though I may have grown a start-up into a $50 million merger opportunity in under five years and managed the wealth of some of our nation’s top executives, my real accomplishment has been showing women how to make savvy and socially-conscious investments and conquer limiting beliefs about themselves, their earning potential, and finances in general.
One of the most common hurdles I see—even in my most financialfluent female clients—is their treatment of money in general. For many, it’s something to confront once a month, or pushed onto the back burner until they have no choice, or carelessly spent. But what if they—what if we— gave our finances the same amount of deliberateness and attention as, say, what we put into our bodies, or how we communicate with our loved ones? Meaning, what would happen if we treated our finances as a practice as meaningful and regular as yoga or meditation? It would become automatic but smart, profound but seamless—even, dare I say, easy.
I came to all of this the hard way. When my husband was delivered a cancer diagnosis and the “ten days to live” that went with it, I had to call upon the yogic advice I’d been spoon-fed since toddlerhood to not only get through the crisis with some sanity, but also figure out a way to pay off the crushing debt I didn’t realize we were in. I was thrown into overdrive, worked insane hours, and lived like a peasant. My husband’s cancer went into remission, thanks in part to the diet I gave him, and I went into the next phase of my life’s purpose: Hammering home the fact that money issues shouldn’t be addressed only during emergencies, but given thought and care on a daily basis. That a man is not a plan. That what we spend our money on is a microcosm for how authentically and happily we’re living. And that as women, in a progressively female confident world, and as the primary buyers of our family’s needs, we can use our money to make a statement.
Every day we make decisions on how to spend our money. When we mindfully spend—when we think of each dollar we hand over as a vote—we are positively altering an egregiously-imbalanced economic power system, one that has long been fueled by a surplus of masculine energy. And when we treat money as a pleasurable, ongoing experience instead of something to ignore, abuse, or fear, we make choices that boost ourselves, our communities, and our planet.
We remind the world why we women have long been avatars of change.
One of the most promising things of all is that mind money is simple to adopt. Check in with your body before making a purchase. Identify what’s a need and what’s a want. Read ingredients to ensure you’re eating a wholesome, ethical meal. Guarantee that your products, from lipstick to laundry detergent, are eco-friendly. Vote for companies that practice transparency and integrity. Simplify your life. Unplug the consumer machine. Treat yourself and your family members without having to reach for your wallet. And spend from a heart centered, mindful place, where, like the amazing women before us, we know what we deserve as consumers, what we want to hand down to our granddaughters, and what we know is necessary, right, and true.
Lorri Allison Craig is a CERTIFIED F I N A N C I A L PLANNER TM, MBA with over 23 years of experience in the financial field—an industry that had less than 10% of women when she entered it. A subject matter expert for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, she’s an internationally certified Kundalini yoga instructor and integrative nutrition health coach. In addition to providing financial consulting, she’s dedicated to empowering both women and men with the tools they need to flourish physically, spiritually, and financially in a radically-changing world.