Let’s discuss a topic that many women are reluctant to talk about with their partner: money. It’s not about how to spend it-that’s the hard part. The important part is how to save money and invest it in stocks, bonds and other investments. Why is there so much fear and shame around saving and investing? Continue reading if you have made financial mistakes in the past. How does your financial history affect you? Is it something that makes you cringe at the thought of? It’s a great way to get rid of the past and deal with the present. Every experience is an opportunity to learn something. Accept it and move on. These experiences shouldn’t be a part of our lives and cause us to fear.
You’ve likely learned to be empowered through all your trials and triumphs. Perhaps you have noticed patterns in your family or romantic relationships that reflect deep-rooted traumas and insecurities. Have you ever thought about how money affects your life? What are the patterns and fears that surround it? What have you done to examine this area of your life? Is your money anxiety affecting how you manage it? Do you feel at ease discussing financial topics with your family? This is an important way for women to gather and process information.
Even during these turbulent times of #MeToo and gender equality, women still believe that financial services is a men’s business. Men also believe it’s a man’s world. This is reinforced by society and the financial service industry. These data points are important:
- Google’s Gmail software assumed that an “investor” was male until a 2018 fix. (Really???)
- A woman who walks into a financial service office as a woman will feel immediately intimidated by the fact that “no one is like me.”
- The financial services industry spent 13x more advertising money in male-skewed magazines in 2017 than it did in female magazines. Women did see ads that featured older white men. (Again, really???)
Data shows that women are less knowledgeable than men about finance in all areas, with the greatest gap in investing and saving. Our scores are very high in the areas of borrowing and consumption, which is not surprising given how many household money decisions we make each day. We score lower in understanding risk and risk management. This means that we have a lower chance of having an investment account or emergency savings fund.
It is time to put an end to the chaos and explore new ways to approach our money. Understanding where your money is headed is a task that should be a daily routine. This means adding every dollar you spend and making sure to add them all up. DO IT. It’ll change your life. Women live longer than men, so we need to be more thoughtful about how we save and invest our money. Money is freedom. Let’s be clear: MONEY IS LIFE.
Take control of your financial life
- Create a conversation money circle. If you have been deprived of financial education, women need to support each other and openly discuss finance with their families and friends. You feel lost and helpless when you lack confidence. Collaboration is a great way for women to talk about money without worrying. It is important to feel comfortable discussing money. Without having the conversation, confidence and shame will remain low. It is best to adopt a “we are all in this together” approach to get the conversation started.
- Don’t let fear of the financial language scare you. Financial jargon can be confusing, overwhelming, or difficult to understand. FACT: Building a portfolio that is diverse and profitable is not rocket science. You can learn how to add stocks and bonds. It is important to choose the right asset allocation and stick with it for the long-term. Data shows that women are better at staying with a plan over time and not changing when things change. This is beneficial for long-term returns. You don’t need to know everything. It is okay to not be an expert on the S&P 500 or the stock market. It’s fine to ask questions until your understanding is complete.
- Even if you only save a small amount at a time, STAY SAFE. It is far more important to have a habit of saving than how much you save. To create the habit, you can start saving just a little. Even if you only save $5 per week, it will help to build confidence and establish a routine. You need to find a way of saving in every situation.