“Research shows that women are less educated financially than men; do not feel confident about making investment decisions, and will earn less during their working lives.”
THE WISE WOMEN AND MONEY
Are you a woman who needs to get their finances into tip-top shape? If so, read on and digest Isaac Carter’s tips aimed at helping women become wise about building financial stability.
Growing up in a patriarchal household in the 1970s, my views of women and money were very skewed. Basically, my father made all the financial decisions, and the only time I saw my mother spend money was when she did the weekly shopping.
However, things have changed a lot since the 1970s. Women now have their own careers/businesses; get married later in life, if at all; are the only parent in some families or, in some marriages, make all the financial decisions.
Despite the above, research shows that women are, in the main, still less educated financially than men; do not feel confident about making investment decisions and, due to the fact that they take longer breaks from work to have children, will earn less during their working lives, and therefore end up with less money to live on during retirement.
This is not the wise woman Solomon envisaged when he penned Proverbs 31.
So, in this article, I am going to highlight the seven must-do things for wise women who want financial stability – whatever their relationship status:
- Secure your financial pillars – The basic financial pillars for every woman should be a pension, life insurance and a will. A pension, because you need to provide for your financial future when you are no longer working. You should join a pension scheme as soon as you start working. Life insurance and a will, to ensure that your affairs are correctly handled if anything should happen to you, and that your loved ones are provided for. Do not assume, if you are in a relationship, that your spouse will die before you and leave you financially secure.
- Manage your personal finances – A woman should independently manage her own personal finances; for this task a budget is required. Ensure that your budget contains all your income and outgoings; not only your mortgage, council tax and utility bills, but also what you may consider incidentals, such as hair, make-up and clothing.
Often in a relationship, couples will have joint bank accounts for payment of household bills and joint savings; however, this should not preclude a woman from having her own deposit, ISA or savings account. Remember, managing your money will keep you out of debt (Proverbs 6:9-11).
- 3. Set your financial goals – Think about the things you want to do which are going to require considerable expenditure: a new car, an expensive holiday. All of these things need to be paid for, so you need to put plans in place to make sure you can afford them without getting into debt. Remember, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
- 4. Get saving and invest – In recognition that women often spend less time in employment than men, it is essential they have a savings and investment plan for the future. Try and see if you can save a greater percentage of your salary. You should have at least six months’ salary set by in case of an emergency, like losing your job. You should also be aware that maternity pay is often paid on a scaled basis. This means that you may have to supplement your salary during maternity leave, if you want to maintain a standard of living equivalent to working full time while you are on maternity leave. Proper investment is a must for secure finances (Matthew 25:27).
- 5. Get financial education – Subscribe to periodicals. Read books. Make sure you understand credit, bank statements, interest rates, debt, bankruptcy, investment, how to complete your tax return, and how to get a copy of your personal credit report. There are financial education websites and publications specifically geared towards women, such as www.financialadviceforwomen.com and www.femalefinance.co.uk. Remember, “Knowledge is power” and “People perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
- 6. Spend wisely – Recognise that a substantial amount of retail advertising targets women, and it is therefore essential to be disciplined in pursuit of financial stability. Control impulse spending: (i) shop with cash and leave your cards at home; (ii) buy online, where it’s cheaper; (iii) check out the sales for genuine bargains; (iv) avoid store cards; (v) clear your overdraft and, most importantly, (vi) if you don’t have the money, don’t buy it!
- Women-only products and services – Some companies offer special deals for women in recognition that they are often better, safer and more reliable customers. Often, these women-only products or services are offered at preferential rates. These include life insurance, pensions, car insurance, driving lessons, to name a few. Search for women-only financial products and services online, which are tailored to your financial needs as a woman.
This article simply provides a snapshot of the steps every woman should be taking to secure her financial independence and stability. Follow them and, no matter what the future brings, you will be in control of your financial destiny, and there is nothing more valuable (Proverbs 23:23-27).
Isaac Carter is the author of ‘Go to the Ant’, a simple but effective guide to money management. For more details, visit www.gototheant.co.uk
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