Women tend to view money and finances differently from men. They usually want security rather than power and this can make them more conservative and afraid of making a mistake.
Many women think money matters are boring and hard to understand and would rather hand the whole thing over to someone else to handle. It’s not that difficult to get your financial life under control (your control). Remember, a man is not a financial plan. Here are ten practical solutions for women to achieve financial empowerment:
Get An Education
Unless you are very creative or entrepreneurial, a good education is mandatory. A diploma or certificate will earn you more than high school education and a university or college degree is even better.
Find a course or program you are interested in and go for it, whether in person or online. If you can’t afford it you can get a student loan. There are also all kinds of scholarships you can apply for and they are not limited to your high school grades.
One site is www.scholarshipscanada.com that gives a listing of available money. Also, taking the time to upgrade your education can lead to advancement in your current career.
Choose The Right Career
With that education under your belt it’s time to get a well-paying job. Don’t be limited to traditional “women’s work” although teaching and nursing do pay well. Look at management and sales positions (no, not retail sales), project coordinating, etc. You want to be the doctor, lawyer or executive rather than the assistant, clerk or secretary. Don’t exclude the trades if that’s where your interest lies. A position that you can temporarily put on hold (such as when raising a family) or one that has potential for a home business would also be ideal.
Ask For What You Want
What do you want from your job? Do you deserve a raise? Do you want flextime to be with your kids? Or work part-time from your home? Think about what you have accomplished for the company and how any change in your routine can benefit them. Then, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and why you should get it.
Learn About Finances
Now that you’re earning a good salary make a commitment to spend some time to improve your financial IQ. Read a book, Chilton’s Wealthy Barber is a classic. Also a good read is Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach or get inspired by Thomas J. Stanley’s Millionaire Women Next Door), sign up for a money-management class or research a topic online. Remember you don’t have to know everything.
Keep Your Independence
Even if you are married or are in a live-in relationship and have joint accounts, keep an account in your own name. You will have peace of mind knowing you have your own funds to rely on should something unexpected happen.
Strength In Numbers
Get some friends and co-workers together and form a money club. It’s less intimidating to discuss financial matters with your peers who may be in the same boat as you and can offer suggestions and advice you may not have thought of.
Some money clubs are informal get-togethers and some have an organized program that involve doing research on financial topics and discussing the results, having speakers and holding shares in the club name. You can be as formal or informal as you want, you can still benefit from others opinions.
Establish Your Credit
Use A Budget
Make a budget and stick to it. You don’t need great math skills to know that spending more than you earn is a recipe for disaster and can lead to financial ruin.
Pay Yourself First
This is really the number one lesson in obtaining financial security. It’s easiest to arrange an automatic withdrawal plan tied to the direct deposit of your pay. If you don’t think you can manage the traditional suggestion of 10%, start with less and increase it periodically. It’s better to aim a bit higher than you feel comfortable with though. You can always decrease the amount if necessary but you’re less likely to increase it even if it’s manageable.
Protect Your Loved Ones
If you have assets and/or dependents, make sure you have a will. When you choose a beneficiary and guardian make sure you think long term of things that could happen, don’t just name your spouse as is customary.
In my own will I will leave my personal assets to my kids. I have a fear that if my husband outlives me, he will marry some bimbo and they’ll have a grand time spending all my hard earned money and leave my kids hanging (don’t laugh; I’ve seen it happen!). On a similar note, regularly review your beneficiary information on life insurance policies (especially at work which we tend to forget about) and RRSPs.
Life is full of learning opportunities. Keep your mind open to new information every day. It’s your future, make the most of it.