Dump your Inner Bag Lady

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Dump your Inner Bag Lady

I ‘ve been having a bit of a trip down memory lane today, thinking about my first job at the Yorkshire Bank and remembering some of the customers I used to serve… what I would call ‘life’s true characters’!!! They must have been because I still remember them 20 plus years down the line.

There was the Leeds busker Danny, a lovely white haired, bearded ‘Santa Claus’ type of man, with his brown duffle coat.  Danny used to sing outside M&S and would then pay in the thousands of pounds he raised for charity. Then there was Mr Pickles… A miniature elderly man who brought me presents … the more unusal ones included a prayer book and a half eaten bags of sweets!! And of course, it’d be rude not to mention the time that a couple of Chippendales, wearing muscle vests, rocked up to my till ….definitely a highlight of my career up until that point!!

There were too many to mention really but in particular I was thinking about a homeless lady that used to come in and steal leaflets!! Apparently her name was Rachel … I don’t know for sure and we never knew exactly why she stole them. We presumed it was so that she could burn them to keep warm. Rachel was the typical archetypal crone… bent over, black clothing and long matted grey hair. She’d grab as many leaflets as possible before getting chased out of the bank shaking her fists and muttering under her breath!!

I’m not sure why but every now and again she crosses my mind and when I was thinking about her today, I came across a Forbes article talking about the number one Financial Fear that Women face … which is that of falling victim to the ‘Bag Lady Syndrome’!!! Sure, in my own life.. I’ve had my own fears around not being financially secure but is the ‘Bag Lady Syndrome’ even real? And so I google it and bloody hell, yeah this shit is real and you don’t have to be skint to suffer from it, in fact the opposite is true!!!! Basically, it’s the underlying fear that we could lose complete financial peace of mind and of course that includes losing all of our possessions with the result of ultimately becoming homeless. Not a very cheery thought but good to know we aren’t on our own here!!

Whenever I hear the words ‘Bag Lady’ I think of Rachel and wonder how the hell does someone end up stealing leaflets and carrying all of their possessions around in a shopping bag??? This type of life seems so far removed for many of us and although our rational mind tells us that this will never happen there’s often something lurking deep inside!!

So, the specifics are different for everyone but if you have any of this going on, what are some of the things you can do to kick the inner bag lady into touch?

  • Figure out where the fear is coming from… I harp on about this all the time but awareness is the most important thing. You know this is completely irrational, so, first and foremost you need to do a bit of digging around. And when you wake in the early hours of the morning, with a sense of unease, actually ask yourself the question.. Is this real or is it irrational??? You need to invite the fear in to be able to figure out what it’s trying to tell you, so, don’t fight it.. question it.
  • Crunch your numbers … What does the lifestyle you want for yourself look like, how much is that going to cost? How much do you need to earn to support you in that lifestyle? The key point here is to maximise your earnings while living below your means!!! It’s really simple and you know that you need to have a handle on this so the best thing to do is just get on with it.
  • Yes you need a financial plan… it doesn’t have to be fancy but it should have the basics covered such as having the necessary protection in place to cover things such as sickness/Ill health and savings/investments for future financial goals!! Knowing exactly where you’re at stops the chances of being plunged into an unexpected financial situation for all hell to break loose!! Do NOT completely hand the taking care of your finances over to anyone which includes husband and/or financial adviser! Of course you can en-list their help but ultimately no-one cares about your financial well-being as much as you do.
  • Get some knowledge around money and money management!! The financial services world would have you believe that it’s incredibly complex and boring but in truth it isn’t….. Fear often comes from confusion so having the basics of financial planning down will help.

So, those are my ideas for ditching your inner bag lady and I’d like to thank Rachel for the inspiration for this post!!! She may have been a bag lady but one things for sure… she made her mark. I don’t suppose she’ll remember me but I bet there are 100’s of people in Leeds who remember her!!!!!

One Comment

  1. Great post Sarah. Thanks for sharing. Having a financial plan and gaining knowledge around money and money management can really help us kick out our financial fears and show us the necessary actions we need to take to secure our financial future.

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