There are many essential financial goals for women, but we don’t always manage or even attempt to achieve them! Yet financial independence and security is absolutely vital (though admittedly rather difficult to achieve at the moment). We cannot rely on the state, our parents or a partner to support us, and neither should we aspire to (unless bringing up children). So here are some essential financial goals for women …
Of all the financial goals for women to achieve, this is one that is often overlooked. When you’re young, it doesn’t seem relevant. But before you know it, you are getting older, and suddenly retirement is getting a lot closer. Pensions may get a bad press, but what do you plan to live on when you retire – air? So the earlier you start a pension, the better – thanks to compound interest, the pension will be worth a lot more than if you wait to start it.
Don’t assume that you will find a man to take care of you. One, that may not happen. Two, we want equality, right? So we should be prepared and able to take care of ourselves financially. If you start a family, it may even suit you both for him to take care of the kids while you work. You also can’t rely on a good settlement in case of divorce, so always make sure that you have the skills to support yourself financially.
What is the state of your savings account right now? If your answer is “what savings account?”, then you really need this article. It’s vital to have money put by for emergencies, for buying anything that you really need (say house or car repairs), and to cover yourself if you are without work for any time. So start a savings account, contribute as much as you can, and leave it well alone until you really need it.
Do you regard credit cards as free money, and don’t worry about the interest mounting up? Do you spend more than you earn? That is the kind of “live for today” attitude that is going to lead you to financial disaster. Do your best to avoid getting into debt, as it can take years to pay off. So don’t buy things you can’t afford, live according to your income (no expensive apartments on an average wage!), make a budget and stick to it.
The smart woman knows the importance of living within her means. It’s not rocket science – you spend less than you earn. Okay, that’s difficult these days, when everything seems so expensive, but it can be done. The essential costs are things such as rent/mortgage, utilities, food and travel to work. Don’t spend money that you can’t afford on designer clothes, nights out and vacations. If all you can afford is $30 once a week for an evening out, that’s all you should spend.
Take into account future life changes, such as starting a family, and emergencies. What would you do if you lost your job, or became too sick to work? If you haven’t already planned for situations that would mean a loss of income, start thinking about it NOW. Plan for these changes, both those that you might choose to make, and for unexpected events.
Budgeting seems to be a lost skill. Yet our grandmothers knew exactly how to make the family income stretch to feed, clothe and house several people. So learn how to make a budget – there are lots of sites that will help you plan a budget. You could also ask your grandmother if she’s still around. And teach your kids how to budget as well! That will be one of the best things you can do for them.
It’s no use dreaming of a lottery win or a rich husband – these things are not going to happen. Women have to learn to take charge of their own finances, educate themselves about money matters, and make their own money. Life may not always take the course that we hoped, so make sure that you are at least prepared to cope financially. Are there any financial lessons that you wish you’d learned earlier, and do you think that schools should include financial education on the curriculum?
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