Johanna de Ruyter says she used to be a ‘Teflon woman’ when it came to money.

Johanna admits her journey with money is still a work-in-progress. Speaking recently at Shine’s ‘For Love or Money’ seminar series she described herself as “Teflon woman”. “Money just slides off me,” she joked.

In her mid-thirties her parents died “quite suddenly and tragically” and she received an inheritance. While her brothers used theirs to buy houses and invest, de Ruyter took a different tack. “It was the first time in my life I had had a significant amount of money,” she told the audience.

“I took my friend away on a holiday; we went travelling together; I bought a brand-new car; I paid off my university loan; I self-funded travelling internationally with a theatre show,” she said, adding she felt like she didn’t have to worry about money “forever”.

So she was horrified when she discovered she had spent her way through two-thirds of it.

Working in theatre she was surrounded by others grappling with money. “Within the theatre culture it was like a badge of honour to be struggling financially,” she said. “It was like you were really dedicated to your creativity.”

With the help of coaching and a growing awareness of how her family influenced her attitudes to money and her worth, she is now evolving into “Velcro woman”.

She and her partner bought a home, and she is more confident about asking to be paid what she is worth for her work as a performer, coach and trainer. “I’m still learning how to claim my value without those feelings of guilt, tension and undeservedness,” she said. But taking “ownership” of her money story is helping her to make different choices from a different mindset.

Women and their relationship with money can be a complicated one. Deanne Carter, national sales manager JDL Financial Strategies, and another of the Shine presenters, said women are often very adept at managing day-to-day household finances but that doesn’t necessarily translate into bigger picture moves such as investing and saving for retirement.

It’s a disconnect that is coming under scrutiny as data shows women are reaching their golden years with 46.6 per cent less than men in their retirement kitty.

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