Women Run the (Financial) World
Financial Tips for Women
Beyoncé had it right. Girls run the world; she just left out the word “financial.”
With Women’s History Month coming to an end, I could think of nothing better than to create a piece for women by a woman. Why would I want to do this?
- Women have been paving the way for future generations of women. More than ever before, women are the primary earners or sole earners for their households.
- Women make most of the spending decisions in their household. Personally, I think this fact alone puts women in a very powerful position.
- Financial security is the primary goal of money management for women. Although this is also true for men, women place a significantly higher emphasis on that goal.
If you’re wondering how I can take these few things and equate that to women running the financial world, think about it like this. Women are bringing in more income. They are in charge of deciding how to best use the money they or their partners are earning. The decision of whether to spend, save, or invest is falling into the hands of women. Money spent in their community is helping local businesses, and women tend to be more intentional in the businesses they support (woman- or black-owned businesses, for example). Women are doing all of this while keeping the focus on financial security for themselves and their families.
We have power. What can we do with it?
1. Set goals
Think about what financial security means to you. Clearly defining this will bring you clarity so you know exactly what you’re aiming for. The more you can break down this large goal into smaller chunks, the easier it will be to achieve. I think of it as a set of stairs. Nobody levitates up the stairs; we must take it one step at a time. For example, SaverLife member Gloria identified having her own place, being in a job for more than a year, and having an emergency fund as financial stability; she was able to pinpoint three separate goals she can start working toward.
2. Budget, track, and monitor
Before spending any of your money, create a budget. Consider what expenses you must cover and prioritize other spending. Create a plan that will help you easily track your spending, such as using cash for certain expenses. This will help you stay within the budget you set. Monitor your budget to figure out what does and does not work for you on a regular basis. Then revise your plan as needed.
Begin saving toward the financial security goals you have identified. Although it may be easy to dismiss saving for emergencies while working toward other financial goals, having an emergency fund is a proven strategy for success. An emergency fund ensures that when an unexpected expense occurs, you have money to overcome the situation. It keeps you from taking away from your other financial goals to deal with the emergency. You never backtrack in your goals when you think of them that way. If you need some inspiration, Deirdre explains how she built a $5,000 emergency fund.
Women tend to be accepting and appreciative of whatever salary is offered by a prospective employer and are also less likely to ask for a raise. Before simply accepting the pay and terms an employer brings to you, consider whether you should negotiate your pay. Increasing the amount you bring home could make a big difference in how quickly you achieve financial security, how you prioritize spending, and how quickly you build your emergency fund.
Check out what other women SaverLife coaches shared to gain more perspective on the financial power of being a woman.
Now, take a couple of minutes to reflect on everything you’ve just read. What is one step you are willing to take to harness your power? Write down your answer and put it in your wallet to remind you of your commitment.
Gloria and Deirdre, Thank you for being powerful women that are inspiring others this Women’s History Month! I commend you both for sharing your stories.
Meghan McInnes is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and Financial Fitness Coach® focused on serving military members, veterans, and diverse populations. Meghan is motivated by her grandfather, who was a refugee and found the American dream. She lives in St. Louis and is a big fan of the Cardinals and Blues.