Monday, May 13, 2019
12 Pieces of Financial Advice for Women
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the amazing moms and grandmas out there. One thing is for sure, we wouldn’t have such an amazing world to live in if it wasn’t for moms kicking butt on a daily basis. Mother’s Day got me thinking about the different dynamic women face when it comes to personal and family finance. This is a dynamic I will never know firsthand, but I am beginning to understand it more and more as time goes on. Some facts before I dive into this post. 65% of my audience is female. That’s an interesting stat. The majority of my clients are also female. While at first, I found it quite odd, over time I have seen why this trend is so. Women have asserted themselves in the conversation when it comes to employment, decision making, and finance. This is a trend that shows no sign in slowing down and rightfully so. Today I give you my 12 Pieces of Financial Advice for Women in hopes that they continue the path to financial freedom. As an aside, this post is in no way an affront to men, more of a reflection of the issues I have seen with my female clients, followers, and friends.
1) You can make it on your own, never forget that
If you go back 30 years, the thought of a woman trying to make it in the world on her own was somewhat taboo. Sadly, some in our society still hold that thought. As those people fade away, hopefully, always know that your place in society is never and should never be tied to what a man prescribes. The idea that a woman needs a man to survive is so antiquated that it is almost laughable. We need to get to a point in society where this idea is such a farce that if brought up, the person bringing it up, gets laughed out of the room.
2) The world is not fair, but it is getting better
The pay gap in 2018 was a reported 85%, meaning women make 85% of what their male counterparts make. While this number is appalling, let’s not forget that just 40 years ago that number was 50%. There are more women CEO’s, politicians, doctors, lawyers, police officers, and in other positions of power than ever before in our society. Does this mean the work is done? Not even close. What this does mean is that when women are in positions of power, they are less likely to discriminate against women when making decisions. So as time goes on, equaling this playing field becomes extremely important. When the wage gap becomes level, and the “CEO Gap” does as well, we will finally be able to move on to strengthening society as a whole. Side note, nations that practice equality amongst the sexes are the ones that are generally more livable. Ones that do not concern themselves with that are generally terrible places to live. Coincidence? I think not.
3) You live longer than men
Let the jokes begin as to why this is true. Fact is, women tend to live on average 3-4 years longer than men. Why I bring this up is for a simple reason: Women need to be prepared to manage their lives/finances on their own. An example is my grandmother. She has now lived 32 years without her husband alive. My favorite person in the world, she never learned how to drive a car, but was the figurehead of our family and still is. There are societies around the world that revere their elder women and as time goes on, I believe ours will be one too. The reason is also simple. As powerful women age, their voices will be muffled less and less and that is important. Examples like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Hillary Clinton come to mind. I believe in 30 more years; the elder stateswoman will be the norm.
4) Being strong and assertive doesn’t make you a bitch
Fair is fair and women need to understand that demanding what is rightfully theirs doesn’t make them bad. An example is my amazing stepmom. She has been in a management role for over 30 years. I actually worked under her during my high school years. She was and is beloved by all who have worked for and with her. Her motto is simple, do your job and don’t be an idiot. She is the first to put people in their place when the time is necessary. She is also fair and reasonable. Because of this, she has held her position for decades in an industry dominated by men. Some may think of her as a bitch, but not those who matter, the ones signing her paycheck. Demand what is rightfully yours and if the person who is to give it, won’t give it, find the person that will.
5) The dynamics are changing
There are more female college graduates than men now. There are more women in the workplace than ever before. There are more women in traditionally male-dominated industries than ever before. Understand that the barriers to entry are slowly being lifted and if embraced you too can literally be whatever you want. The household is changing as well, with more female breadwinners than ever before. We all, men included, need to embrace this change because quite frankly it will happen with or without our approval. Roll with it folks, roll.
6) Don’t get caught up with image and societies expectations of you
I will never understand what it is like to be a woman in our society. I am a 34-year-old man with no wife and no kids and not once has someone asked me why. Women get asked this kind of thing all the time. “Don’t you want a family?” “Don’t you want to be a mother?” My advice to women of any age would be to not fall victim to outside pressures when deciding your future. I will never know what it feels like to have to work hard, raise a family, keep a man happy, all while looking fabulous at the same time. That to me is complete overload. Do what you feel is right and if someone disagrees, forget them. Life is too short to care what anyone thinks.
As a family
7) If you must be “the man,” then be the man
A rudderless ship doesn’t help anyone. More often than not I am seeing my female clients take over the family finances. When it comes to the family unit, gender roles need not apply. I mentioned how I am seeing more and more that women are the breadwinners. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with being the one in charge of the family’s finances. This isn’t specific to men, although it used to be. Someone must spearhead the family unit forward and if it is you as the wife/mom, so be it.
8) Being worried is a good thing, embrace it
You should be worried about retirement. You should be worried about making ends meet should one of you gets sick or dies. You should worry about how you will pay for the kids’ education. I find that men are often more nonchalant when it comes to these issues than women are. While that is not always the case, it seems to be more prevalent these days. Allow the worry of these issues to spring you into action. I find that the clients that I have that are the most worried, are generally the most successful. Also, never settle for what your spouse tells you is okay. Your concerns are valid and should be addressed. I find this happens often with the life insurance conversation. “Oh she’ll be fine” is not a suitable answer.
9) Your value is priceless, even if you don’t earn
Another misguided notion is that if the wife makes less than the husband, her value is therefore less. This goes both ways, but if the family unit requires 2 incomes to survive, then both partners have equal weighting. This is also true if one of the partners is rearing children and not working. Let’s put it this way, if the child-rearing partner is not around anymore, the other will have to take over. If they decide not to, they will have to hire someone to do that job. That is not a cheap proposition. Therefore, to me, both parents have equal weighting. When considering investment, insurance, and retirement planning, the value of each within the unit must be thought of as equal. If it is not, then the foundation will be weak, and growth will be impossible. Long story short, housewives deserve an equal say.
10) Being driven does not make you a bad wife/mom
I see it a lot amongst my female friends. The fear of being labeled a bad wife or mom because they are career focused. This could not be further from the truth in my opinion. I believe that setting a good example for children is far more important than spending every moment of every day with them. I would rather see a daughter of mine have a strong, powerful woman to follow than a subservient housewife. As a man, I am lucky that thought does not have to cross my mind. Never feel bad if your goal is to be successful. Remember it is for them.
11) Financial abuse is real, understand it
Being kept in the dark about the family finances is serious business. You must ask yourself, “What is being hidden here and why.” I have seen debt racked up, savings being blown, even hidden bankruptcies. Money being kept from you is a major issue. The finances should be as open and transparent as possible. It has happened too many times where a woman is left with nothing but a mountain of debt after having given years to the family. Demand openness and know the signs of financial abuse.
12) Know when to jump ship
Let’s be real here for a second. It is no one’s job to save anyone else. If someone does not want to get their act together to help the team, then it’s time to move on. There is an epidemic of lazy young men out there. I find it sad and pathetic. You can’t teach hard work to someone and you can’t teach them to care about themselves or you. Never go down with the ship because of “love.” This is the case for both men and women. Sometimes you must treat it as a business decision and move on. Your future and that of your family is far too important to allow carelessness and neglect to ruin them.
The foundations of budgeting, saving and debt avoidance should be practiced by everyone. Through writing this post I just wanted to address issues I have seen women face when it comes to their financial futures. My hope is that one day we can all look past our differences and work towards financial freedom as a collective no matter race, creed or sex. That will be a fine day indeed.
“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and always have been.” – William Golding
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