When women reach a certain age, they begin to ask the important questions: “What will my retirement look like? Will I be able to maintain a specific lifestyle? How will money affect my sense of security?” Women typically are so immersed in the present day-to-day activities that they are too exhausted to think beyond that. No, not all women, but a good amount to make a difference.
What are the 3 big ‘No-No’s’ that women find themselves doing that not only create barriers to financial success but actually prevent it from happening all together?
1. Not planning early enough. How many times have you said, ‘I’ll start that tomorrow” but tomorrow never came?
Financial Quick-Start: Map out your plan when you have your first experience with money. It’s not too late, and it’s never too early. Babysitting money, birthday money – it doesn’t matter – map out your plan on how you will relate, save, spend and value the money that comes in and out of your life. Mothers, teach your daughters to become familiar and comfortable with money at an early age. The important piece is to start – your plan may change or grow, but it should be a plan that grows with you.
Put money and credit in your own name. Money and credit in your name is a sure way to boost your sense of security. Don’t be hesitant to do this. Be proud and excited about the greatness of establishing your own accounts and credit ratings. Start small with bank accounts and credit, then expand into investments.
Putting money in your own name and knowing it is yours creates a feeling of security and independence. These two feelings build the foundation critical to living a financially independent life.
2. Closing the door to knowledge. Women don’t speak up or ask questions when the financial planner comes around (if they have one). They fear looking uneducated or embarrassed about not knowing much about money. Or there’s an attitude of “it’ll take care of itself.”
Financial Quick-Start: Read. Learn. Observe. Listen. Hire a financial planner. Get in the game. Expose yourself to several opinions on financial matters. Pretend you know what you are doing and the more you do it, the more you will learn. There is no shame in grabbing the money-lion by the tail and taking charge.
Learn what will make you money AND know what wastes your money. Read, read, and read again. There are great books out there for you to learn about money decisions, investing, income streams, and financial planning. Set a priority to grow your money enough to allow you to meet with a professional planner, accountant or someone you feel safe in asking questions and learning where to start.
The main purpose of knowing everything about your money is for you to make informed and responsible money decisions that will help your financial future instead of hurting it.
3. The “I-couldn’t-handle-money-if-I-tried” thinking. This is thinking that will land you in the poor house. Actually, this is a defense mechanism designed to shield you from knowing the truth. The truth may be good, bad or ugly, but it’s still the truth. And sometimes knowing the truth around your money can be scary.
Financial Quick-Start: Grow your confidence. To grow money, you have to feel good about it. And to do that, you must get in touch with your money. When control goes up, worry goes down. When worry goes down, security goes up and so does confidence. This means balancing your checkbook on a regular basis, knowing your rental or mortgage agreement at all times, opening and paying all bills on time, and reading your quarterly 401K reports.
You should expect more than the crumbs falling off the table. But, gee, you say, I have too many bills. Well, make a budget and stick to it. Sacrifice whatever is expendable (eating out, movie tickets, that cool smelling bottle of perfume) so you can get yourself into a power position with your money.
Decide what you can pay yourself each month then do it – no matter what! Start with 10% after taxes but no less than 5%. Before you know it, the dollars you are paying to yourself will start to add up!
The main purpose of paying yourself first is so you learn that you are more important and deserving than anything you could buy.