Reduce any, or all, your debts that are adding to or causing the stress. — This will be imperative to you getting your head above water again. Yes it may pain you to sell your favourite car and it may be frustrating to downsize your home. The choice is ultimately yours. I know feeling free from stress was a priority for me and one that I didn’t take lightly.
With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. A time of high inflation, a recession, or unemployment, can be particularly stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. What are stress management strategies that people use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate financial stress? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, business leaders, and financial experts, who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating financial stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Coco Dee.
Coco Dee is a Tahitian-born, French-speaking, straight-talking Aussie, self-made multi-millionaire, and Women’s Wealth Advocate. From corporate career and self-made property multi-millionaire in her twenties, to taking over her failing family business and learning how to come back from losing all said millions (because of ego and guilt!) in her thirties. Business is her bread and butter. But her lifeblood? Is seeing incredible women grow in their business journey and overcome their old stories and paradigms.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!
This all started when I was a young 8 year old girl, having moved to Australia with not a word of English in my vocabulary. I was fascinated by money and business but was told time and time again that “money doesn’t make you happy” and to enjoy living life just the way it was.
Fast forward to today, I teach financial literacy and creating wealth every single day! I didn’t take no for an answer and that is my default in life. I have tried everything; fallen flat on my face many times and I just keep getting back up to give it another go; because is the alternative?! Being a Wealth Advocate for Women, I am hell bent on bringing financial literacy to the every day woman and young girl so that financial abuse can be eradicated and women become more financially independent.
We know that financial abuse is rampant in our society however there isn’t enough support out there to allow women to escape and rebuild.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
This one is very easy and clear as day for me:
- Back yourself, you are wiser than you give yourself credit for.
- Trust your intuition, it always knows what’s up; every single time, without fail!
None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?
There are a few people that have been key in getting me to where I am today; in particular two girlfriends. Angel Phoenix and Kate Moloney. My family have also been instrumental in providing unwavering support despite it not being something they understand or have lived through. There have been many other people along the way too, of course, and it’s in the little and big things that these people have done for me. In fact, there are too many to name and thank for being part of who I am today.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?
The Female Financial Literacy League is my current passion project. It is the cornerstone to rebuilding post financial abuse for women. It is a home, a community, if you like, of women who understand that wealthy women win because poor women are losing. The League gives them the foundation to springboard back after deficit with all the tools and resources to support them in this phase.
Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?
Stress comes in all forms and looks different for everyone; however typically high levels stress creates disharmony in the body and mind. It then has the tendency to trickle to those closest to us and permeates across their lives too.
From my personal experience, I have seen many in my life, me included, deal with stress in varying different ways. What I have found is that the way stress is dealt with is based on personality, upbringing, emotional resilience, courage and tenacity. The majority of people can not handle stress and are too ashamed to ask for support when experiencing it.
In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?
I love that you asked this question because I often refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As humans we are all motivated by different needs, however we tend to want more when our basic needs are met. In effect, it seems that humans are fairly basic creatures and so when we have everything we need and want, we tend to fall into comparison and begin to hate the life we have for ourselves. So we aim for more, believing that it will fix the way we feel. Typically this isn’t achieved through “more” and only found when we are doing what we truly want (rather than copying and keeping up with others).
I believe one of the main factors for the high levels of stress in the western world is our need to be recognised and deemed successful in the eyes of society…whatever that may be based on the community and circles you grew up in. This can lead to many choices made that are misaligned with our core values and passions; leading to stress, unhappiness and making decisions that are not in our personal best interest.
What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?
The physical symptoms of financial stress are never ending and are extremely different person to person. Here is a small, and definitely not exhaustive list, of how the body, and mind can react to financial stress:
- Irritability / lack of patience
- Loss of concentration, passion and drive
- Loss / gain of weight
- Uncontrollable break downs
- Depression / dark thoughts
Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?
It seems that for the most part, a small level of stress keeps us alive. For example, before civilisation, we had to constantly be on guard to ensure we weren’t eaten alive in the jungle. That came with a certain level of stress. Nowadays our stresses are not of jungle like matters but more so of meeting payment deadlines and / or the next meal we will put on the table.
As I mentioned before, humans are inherently basic (and somewhat lazy) which means that without small levels of stress, we potentially wouldn’t fight and create what it is we want for ourselves.
I believe that a small amount of stress is necessary as it keeps us on our toes. It’s very similar, in my opinion, to the ego. Our egos can be extremely destructive, however a small amount is required so we care about our aesthetic and brushing our teeth, for example. 😛
Let’s now focus more on the stress of a challenging economic time. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate what causes financial stress?
Having been deep financial stress, I can speak to this on the many levels of this lived experience.
Firstly, the reality for many is that the rising cost of living at present is adding considerable amount of pressure on families, specifically the main income earner. This then adds stress to relationships which in turn creates an unpleasant household energy that rubs off on everyone (children included).
Secondly, over extending yourself with debt (consumer, investment or otherwise) can be extremely stressful especially if your cashflow has either dried up or you do not have enough of it to begin with.
And the above two scenarios has then a flow on effect and an increase in the financial abuse that is being experienced in homes; which adds to the financial stress of the entire family unit and tension rises as the basic needs of the family are in danger.
Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Or Eliminate Financial Stress?” Please share a story or example for each.
Reducing stress is something many of us do not have answers for and do not seek support due to the shame and guilt we carry about the situation we find ourselves in. All I can say is that, you are not alone and as long as you can learn from how you go here, then this is part of life and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Here are my 5 tips to reducing and eliminating your financial stress:
- Understand your financial limits — Do you know how much you make per week? How much you are spending per week? How much debt you have and how much it is costing you per week? These seem like very basic questions, however they are key to getting you to a financially free position.
- Have a cash buffer of at least 3–6 months to support you and your family in case of an unplanned event. — This is probably something you feel is impossible right now given your situation, I get it. And many right now is not the right time to start to be creating this buffer. Please know that even $5 every week or month is a start to getting there. It is the habit of building this buffer that is more important than the amount.
- Create a routine that allows you to exert and move through your energy and emotions. — This was my absolute god send when I experienced financial stress. I would go for a 10km walk every morning and evening. It was my way to be amongst nature, release all the negative thoughts in my mind and allow the endorphins to flow through my body. An absolute game changer in my opinion.
- Turn to trusted advisors and / or your inner circle — You can not get out of this alone. Having people you trust around you to support you emotionally and mentally will be critical in your recovery and allowing you to find solutions to your current problem. They may not be able to help financially (which I highly do not recommend), but having people to bounce ideas with free of judgment is worth more than you can imagine.
- Reduce any, or all, your debts that are adding to or causing the stress. — This will be imperative to you getting your head above water again. Yes it may pain you to sell your favourite car and it may be frustrating to downsize your home. The choice is ultimately yours. I know feeling free from stress was a priority for me and one that I didn’t take lightly.
Can you help address some of the potential obstacles that get in the way of implementing your ideas? What can be done to clear the way and remove those roadblocks?
We tend to get wrapped up in our own vortex of thoughts, beliefs and realities. Based on this, at times, the suggestions above may seem and feel insurmountable, I get it, I have been there.
What gave me hope and allowed me to see clearly, was leaning on my inner circle of people who did not judge me; not to solve the problems for me, but to lend their ear so that I could problem solve out loud. This is how I process my own information and way forward. Once you know and understand your process, this is something that you can lean and focus on.
Judgement is also a big hurdle many of us face when in financial stress. We judge ourselves for being in this position and so we don’t reach out for help because of the shame we carry. We feel as though no one will support or guide because “you got yourself in this mess”.
Thank you for that. We are nearly done. Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?
There are many of these resources that have impacted my life over the years and those I am really enjoying today are:
- The Crazy Ones Podcast
- The Diary of a CEO Podcast
- Mans’ Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (a book I read twice per year as a reminder of what is possible!)
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The Female Financial Literacy League is an initiative that will make ripples of change into the world for women around the world and one that will live beyond me. My legacy if you like.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
The best ways to connect with me and be in my world is to subscribe to my podcast, youtube, instagram and my free 5 day wealth assessment, Wealthy Women Win. These have a lot of free resources that your readers will be able to binge on and familiarize themselves with my work.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.