The Power of No

Women are major influencers of wealth. They now own 51% of stock and 60% of private wealth in the U.S., according to a 2010 Boston Consulting Group study ( And, it has become apparent that women make financial decisions differently from the way men do. That Boston Consulting Group study found that women tend to value the relationship more than the transaction. Add to the mix the unique ways that women weave personal values into decisions about wealth, and an interesting tension emerges: the difficulty many women have saying “no” to someone and/or something they care about. Philanthropy demonstrates this more clearly than other financial decisions might — and also offers an ideal opportunity for women to experience more comfort around the issue of saying “no” when it is the appropriate and/or necessary answer.

Generally, we are asked to give to causes by people — those in need themselves, or friends, or volunteers who ask on behalf of others. By setting aside some focused time to think about and create a plan for giving before these requests come, you will not only reap the benefits of such a plan, but you will also have created the capacity to say “no” when you are faced with multiple requests for money. Having a giving plan in place allows you to focus on what is most important to you and also how much money you are able to allot to charitable causes in a particular year. A plan can even provide you with the opportunity ahead of time to decide that a certain portion of your charitable giving will be allotted to your friends’ causes just because you care about them and not because you necessarily care so much about their causes! In our Women’s Roundtable webinar on March 20, 2013, Make a Giving Plan Part of Your 2013 Financial Plan, we explored these ideas in more detail. If you missed it, you can listen to and view the slides at any time.

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