Attaining financial independence can be a long process. Yes, you want to save and invest more to get there quickly. However, you may find yourself making a few money mistakes in the process, such as not saving enough, not planning adequately, spending recklessly on something frivolous, spending above your budget, e.t.c. Bear in mind that you are not the only woman having such money issues.
The rules that guide money management are quite similar for men and women, but women face some very different scenarios and challenges with regards to personal finance. Being able to decipher what your challenges are will help you plan ahead and create effective methods to get you closer to your financial goals.
START FINANCIAL PLANNING EARLY
In order to achieve financial independence and enjoy a life free of money worries, every woman needs to be smart about managing her finances from the onset. A good place to start is by creating an outline of your expected earnings, target savings, budget, investments, and retirement plan early in life. This way you will have ample time to explore possibilities, make mistakes, master your money behaviour, monitor your progress and make improvements. While the best time to start is early in life, the next best time to start is now.
LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
The problem is often not how much you earn, it is rather how much you spend compared to your income. Yes, you are super hard working, you earn your own living and you want to be able to live your best life since you’re working for your money. But the unhealthy habit of spending more than you earn may be standing in the way of your financial independence. This is why it’s important to have a budget. The 50/30/20 budget rule is a simple guide to budgeting. With this, you spend 50% of your income on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings or paying off debt. Ultimately, a budget lays out the foundation for your financial plans and it is your guide for daily spending.
AUTOMATE YOUR SAVINGS
Set up a direct deposit or automatic monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly transfers that will make saving money an automatic process – this will get done without a second thought from you. There are a few mobile apps available to make saving easier. Piggybank or Cowrywise, for instance, make it possible to save money easily by automatically removing a pre-set amount directly from your bank account on pre-scheduled dates. You also have the freedom to save towards a specific goal or withdraw from your wallet by paying a penalty charge.
BALANCE YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND YOUR FINANCES
There are two scenarios we can consider here; you may be supporting your partner financially or relying on them as your financial plan. In either scenario, it’s advisable to maintain control over your finances and not hand over total control to your partner “because it’s a guy thing”. This robs you of your power and financial security. The pressures of being the breadwinner may also compel you to demand all the financial control. Ideally, both partners need to be involved in managing finances, making major financial decisions together. It is important that you are on the same page on money matters to achieve financial stability and maintain a healthy long-term relationship.
Buying yourself new things (clothes, bags, shoes, etc) to relieve yourself of stress is a bad habit. Remember your budget! What are your goals and dreams? Do you really need another bag, those pair of jeans, or even that sweet treat? You can create a ‘fun budget’ to allow you to spend without guilt — allocate around 5% of the 30% budget you have dedicated to your ‘wants to ‘fun money’. This number can change depending on your situation, however, the goal is to prevent you from overspending on unnecessary things.
Despite the tedious path to achieving financial independence, it is just as important to find joy in the process and learn from mistakes early enough. This way you are sure to find the process fulfilling, especially when you achieve your money goals.