On the financial forums it seems like men are the vast majority of the participants. Sometimes the advice is general enough to be applied to both men and women, other times it is not. While men and women each have their own concerns about money, the focus of this article is to women.
1. Manage Your Own Money
Many women end up giving up control of their finances to the men in their lives. Giving up control of their money, leaves a lot of women in the dark and fumbling if an emergency arises. This not to suggest finances be kept separate (that is a personal decision) or that the women control all the money. It is suggested each couple manage the finances together but each person knows how and when to pay bills in case the other person is suddenly unable.
2. Plan For Your Future
On average women live 5-10 years longer than men. What this means is women need to have more money in their retirement accounts men. A lot of women did not pay enough attention to this from the time they started working. If all women start putting away $5,500 a year in an IRA at age 25 then by the time retirement age, they could have $2 million at retirement (assumes that investments grow at 10 percent a year, gains are re-invested). Your future plans should include taxes, medical expenses, and long-term care. These areas have a nasty way of chipping at your hard earned savings.
3. Know Your Worth
It is no secret women, on average, earn less than men. There are many reasons behind this. One reason is a lot of women simply do not know their worth in the job market. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a new job or asking for a raise, it is important to know what the average salary is for your job and be able to negotiate a good salary for yourself.
4. Save For Yourself First
A lot of women who are saving for their children’s college fund but not putting money away for themselves. Remember on an airplane, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, then help those around you? The reason for this is there is only a tiny amount of time before you could pass out. If you pass out what is going to happen to your kids? The same principle should be applied to saving money. If you want to help your children then you want to make sure you reduce the financial burden on them as you age. They can get a student loan, but you cannot get a retirement loan.
5. Manage Your Debt
Let’s not talk about good vs. bad credit card use, We beat that horse to death in a previous post. Let’s talk about other debt, especially the so called “good debt”. Most women are carrying around a huge amount of student loans that continues to weigh them down. Millions are now struggling with student loan repayment. The amount of these payments are preventing women from investing in other parts of their lives, like a retirement account. it is suggested looking at loan deferment, loan forbearance, and income-based repayment plans if you’re unable to make the payments at this time. If you are able to make the payments, it is recommended making the loan payoffs a priority.
6. Say No To Emotion
This is a hard one. Most women want to help those we care about. So if a friend or relative were to ask for money, we are going to want to help them, even if our inner voice is screaming “NO”. Yet, sometimes we will ignore our inner voice and try to help. It is ok to say “no” if someone asks for money. You don’t have to explain your reasons. If they persist, you can say “I’m not able to at this time” or a more decisive “I don’t think it would be a good idea”. Listen to your inner voice, if it is telling you “no” then believe it. On another note, if you cannot payoff your credit card every month, you have no business giving your money to a friend or relative (see tip #4).
7. Have An Emergency Fund
Emergencies come up all the time and they are stressful. So why would add to that stress by not being prepared financially? The biggest reason to have an emergency fund, is it helps you stay out of debt. Do your parents live in another state? Do you have enough money for a plane ticket if they were suddenly hospitalizes? Do you have enough money for your car insurance deductible? Do you have enough money to live for 3 month if you no longer had a job? There is a reason why having an emergency fund is talked about by every financial expert. They are beyond necessary. Sill unconvinced? Read this emergency fund success story from Reddit.
8. Budget, Budget, Budget
It still boggles my mind why dry cleaning my white button-down shirt costs more than my fiance’s white button-down shirt. This is nothing new. Women knows it costs more to just be a woman. Never mind dry cleaning, think about make up, hair salons, and oh yeah $6 for a box of 20 tampons. Prices are ridiculous. Think about it. Women live longer, women get paid less, and women pay more? How is it possible to afford the cost of living if you don’t have a budget?