Why are we as women sometimes afraid to take ownership of our own personal finances?
Or at least be equals with our partner or spouse?
Personally, I have always taken charge of our money in our marriage but that doesn’t seem unusual due to my natural inclination to be a saver and be a bit of a control freak. I handled most of my own personal finance for at least 4 years before I got married so maybe that made the difference.
Whereas, historically women moved from their parents' home straight into their husband's. Women went from being financially cared for by their parents to being cared for by their husband without an opportunity to learn about personal finance.
It frustrates me when I hear women say that they don’t have any interest in understanding personal finance and prefer to leave it up to their spouse or a professional.
What happens if your partner dies? or goes on a really long trip?
In 2018, I went away on a medical mission trip for 3 weeks and had to hand over all of the bill payments and personal finances to my husband. It was a bit scary to give up that control but it was definitely worth it.
Nowadays, I intentionally ensure that my spouse is up to date about our finances. We try to have weekly marriage meetings where we discuss our plans for the week and any issues that arose within our relationship and our finances. This ensures that my husband is informed and that we are in agreement about our weekly decisions.
I think these meetings allow for openness and better communication and when we make decisions together, there are no surprises and to limit playing the blame game, if something happens. We are in this together. All of our dreams, plans and decisions.
I'm also really passionate about women taking advantage of educational and learning opportunities, not just learning about Personal Finance.
Ladies, throughout majority of history, we were not allowed to vote, own land or even open our own bank account!
Let’s step up and own this freedom and equality!
I’m confused, where did the image of the helpless woman who spends mindlessly came from? Why do we still have the picture of that uninformed woman in our minds? We are perfectly capable of making money and financial decisions without having to rely on someone else to do it for us. We are so fortunate that in North America, we have these wonderful opportunities! Let's take advantage of the opportunities given to us!
I’m not suggesting that every woman has to work outside of the home but I do believe that every woman should be informed of their own personal and family's financial situation. We are smart. We are capable. We owe it to ourselves and those women who stood up for equality!
How do we become Financially Savvy Women?
It doesn’t happen overnight. Just like everything else in life, it takes small intentional baby-steps towards absorbing new information and then building upon that information. Isn’t that how we teach kids in school? We start with the basics and then just keep building upon it with more and more complex information!
Even if don't start out with a keen interest in the stock market, it doesn’t take a lot to understand how to balance a budget. Honestly it’s simple math. It’s making up our mind,
"I want to be good at xyz and I'm going to start working towards it."
It’s a bit like learning how to read. Some of us are more naturally inclined and others have to work a lot harder but in the end we all need to know how to read or others will take advantage of us. It’s a bit of self preservation and self care all rolled into one!
Ladies, step up and into this role of learning! You can learn almost anything these days through books and Youtube videos and can confirm the validity of this information through trusty worthy federal and provincial government websites.
"According to a 2018 Federal Reserve report, women, on average, are less comfortable making retirement investment decisions, and they exhibit lower levels of financial literacy compared to men. Just 32% of women with a bachelor’s degree are comfortable managing their own investments. "
Overcome discomfort by educating yourself. Find free educational resources that may be available to you. Join social media groups with other like minded women who want to learn about personal finance and where you can questions and share information. Ask a friend to join you and learn together.
I recently learned that women tend to make better investors because they tend to be less risky in their behaviour in the stock market and tend to make safer decisions.
Save for Retirement
Women, on average tend to face a larger retirement savings gap than men and experience higher poverty rates later in life. This occurs because throughout their lives, women are more likely than men to work in part-time jobs that maybe don’t qualify for a retirement plan, and also interrupt their careers to take care of children at home. Unfortunately, these fewer years of work tends to lead to less in retirement savings.
Therefore, this means that we as women need to prioritize retirement saving early on. The earlier you start, the longer you’ll have to allow that compound interest to work it's magic.
"Starting young also saves you the hassle of having to play catch-up and make hefty contributions that stretch your budget thin later in life."
More recently, there have been more financial courses and programs geared towards women specifically and taught by women. Take advantage of them!
Now Go and Be Intentional as Women!