Although women have come a long way throughout history, we still tend to fall behind men when it comes to personal finance. Unfortunately this is not limited to only one area of personal finance.
In general, women earn less and invest less than men. One silver lining is that women do seem to have a better natural ability to save, particularly in the form of an emergency fund. Many studies have attributed this to the fact that women focus more on caregiving roles in their families, which also makes the more aware of the benefits of an emergency fund.
But that same caregiving role also often leads to them scaling back on their careers when they become mothers, or preemptively selecting more flexible jobs from the beginning that generally come with a lower pay.
A lot of women also end up trying to do it all – care for children and aging parent, earn money, and be a great wife all at the same time, which creates a huge amount of pressure on the modern woman’s shoulders.
Another factor that is at play is the actual lack of financial confidence. Most women feel uncomfortable talking about finances with friends and spouses, and even more uncomfortable when speaking to financial professionals. Financial planning is also put to the back burner because of already overwhelming short-term priorities like child and elderly care, career responsibilities, and community commitments.
The confidence gap is completely unwarranted as women can accomplish anything they put their mind to.
So as a woman in this fast-paced world, how can you boost your financial confidence?
Here are a few tips to help boost your financial confidence:
Make a list of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. You can do it the old-fashioned way of putting it on paper, or if you’re tech savvy, you can use technology to your advantage by using software programs on your computer or installing apps on your smartphone. Smartphone apps are an easy way to take your new found financial organization with you when you’re on the go.
Live Within Your Means
Your paycheck should be your economic guide to your finances. Women have a tendency to splurge and use retail therapy to satisfy emotional needs, which can wreak havoc on even the largest budget. If you have a predictable and steady income, it will be much easier to figure out and live within your means, but even those living on a variable income should take steps to make sure they are setting aside some cash in an emergency fund.
Pursue Financial Education
Don’t worry, you don’t have to take some kind of formal education or pay for a class in order to get more comfortable and confident with finances. Even reading personal finance blogs tailored toward women, like this one, will help you learn and build confidence about money. There are lots to choose from to fit your financial situation and help you learn about money.
Ask for Guidance
Most women don’t take advantage of programs in the workplace or at community centers like churches and libraries that offer retirement and financial guidance. A lot of employers now offer free workshops and educational materials to help employees learn how to manage their personal finances. You can take the step and get help from your workplace or other community resources. Many churches in my hometown take turns offering courses like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
Build an investment or retirement portfolio to withstand the good and bad times. Focus on high quality investments and allocate funds that you can maintain through thick and thin. A well-diversified portfolio can cushion any type of hits by the stock market. Plus the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll start to feel more confident about investing. Before you know it, you might be better at investing than your husband!
Get Over the Awkwardness
Stop feeling awkward about talking money by practicing it on a regular basis with friends and your spouse. Chatting about money with friends may seem uncomfortable at first but it can often lead to insight and encouragement. If you are more comfortable speaking to someone else about your finances, you can go seek out a professional to get advice and talk regularly about money, including the financial challenges you face and goals you have in mind for the future.
Do you have any other tips to help women boost their financial confidence?
TK is a fake blonde trying to find a real balance between spending, saving, and everything else in life that costs money. You can join her on her journey toward finding that balance at Blonde and Balanced.