I squawk a lot about personal finance. I really don’t know why the subject resonates so strongly with me. It just does. Personal finance to me is fun, exciting, and it just plain rocks my world. While some women get excited about a new pair of shoes, I get turned on by compound interest and dividends.
Many of my girlfriends think I’m a little strange, even weird. While they buy their lattes and designer jeans, I gently suggest putting their money towards emergency funds and retirement savings. Does this make me boring, prudish, or just plain prudent? The common female response to my financial squawking is a casual glare, a flip of the hair, and the all telling eyeball roll. I don’t mean to piss my girlfriends off, honest! I really just care about women taking their finances into account. I passionately believe women should embrace personal finance, here’s ten reasons why:
1. Women live longer:
There are some stats out there claiming women outlive men by about 7-10 years. Apparently, the average widow is 58-years-old. Now, I’m not a statistician nor do I work for Census Canada. But I do know if you happen to outlive your husband, you would be better off knowing how to manage your money so you don’t outlive your money.
2. Women make less:
I don’t like to admit I make less than my male counterpart. But I do. I doubt I’m a special case. I bet on average, women do make less than men, and therefore need to manage what they earn to the fullest capacity. Learning to invest what you’ve got becomes of high importance to maximize growth.
3. Women have babies:
It is a fact of life. Women bear children and usually take maternity leave for child rearing. During this time, women need to adjust spending and account for a new mouth to feed and clothe. Women also make little to zero income when they leave the workforce to raise families. The statisticians say for every year a woman is out of the workplace, she must work five years to recover lost income, RRSP contribution space, and promotional opportunities.
4. Women need independence:
Marriages end. I’m sorry to not embrace tales of Cinderella and magic pixie dust but couples DO get divorced. If your prince holds the financial purse strings you may just be back with the evil step sisters wearing a gunny sack. Too many women leave the finances to their husbands and fail to jointly participate. Women should indeed hope for the best, but plan for the worst by learning about money and how to manage it for them self.
5. Women teach children:
Do you want financially savvy kids? Chances are, if you know about personal finance you will teach your children the value of money. Can you think of a better gift then to install good financial habits with your kids? Ok, love is a good gift too.
6. Women manage the household:
We tend to do the grocery shopping, clothing shopping, home shopping, and the kid’s shopping. Since we shop for the family, we gotta know how to budget the dollars to spend wisely on food, clothing, and home. We also play a huge role in making big ticket consumer decisions, like buying appliances, cars, and real estate.
7. Women need money in their own name:
Women should have their own money for a sense of safety and identity. Having bank accounts, credit cards, and money in one’s own name means a women exists as more than her husband’s silent partner. She has a credit history and assets! It also is a safety measure in case a women needs to flee an abusive relationship, either alone or with her children. Keep an account in your name, and save some money for a rainy day. It might also be a good idea to be sure your name is on mortgage papers so in the eyes of the law, you clearly own stuff too.
8. Woman have careers:
Women work and have careers that require nurturing. We need to be able to negotiate salary, bonuses, and benefits. We need to believe we are worthy of financial success through career development and promotion.
9. Women need empowerment:
Saving for retirement and emergencies is very empowering. Funding a retirement plan and keeping an emergency fund empower women to leave a bad job situation, leave a bad relationship, or take a break at any time. Having money in the bank gives you options to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Besides, the feeling of accomplishment when your money grows is really awesome.
10. Women need to put themselves first:
All too often women put themselves last. When it comes to women and finances, I often think of the little safety speech flight attendants give us before a flight. They always tell us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before placing it on others. Why is this? It’s simple really, if you can’t breathe you really can’t help others breathe around you. I think this is similar with money. If you cannot embrace and master your own personal finances it really becomes hard to breathe. By investing in yourself financially and putting your own money away, you can and will be there for yourself and others in the future.
Why do you think women should embrace personal finance?