As a finance professional, I believe that the best money management advice for women today is to take control of your financial future. If you are a woman, your life expectancy is longer than that of a man.
Therefore, even if you have a long and happy marriage and a supportive husband, there is a reasonably good chance that, at some point, you will be on your own.
Throw in the possibility of divorce or the choice to remain single, and the odds are even better that you will become responsible for your own financial security. Given this possibility, I believe that the best money management advice for women of any age today is to take control of your financial future.
These are my 7 top personal finance tips to help women accomplish that goal.
Don’t rely on someone else to make financial decisions for you.
Instead, educate yourself about financial matters and become an active participant in the decision-making process so that if for some reason, you have to take over, you will be prepared to do it. Start by getting educated about the basics of personal finance. Among other things, learn how to budget, to manage your financial accounts (checking, savings, and investment), to earn and keep a high credit score, and to save for retirement.
Be prepared to work.
Assume that you will probably have to (or will want to) work at some point in the future. Given that assumption, prepare yourself for a job that you believe will be fulfilling as well as providing a good paycheck. Make getting an education a priority. If possible get a college degree or specialized training, because both may pay off in higher lifetime earnings.
Take some business courses.
Unfortunately, the days of a long-term career with one employer seem to be over. Most American workers are likely to have multiple employers before they retire and may even own and operate their own businesses. Opportunities for female entrepreneurs are greater than ever, in part because of the Internet, which makes it easy to start a small business and to operate it from home.
Don’t postpone your financial dreams.
If you are single, don’t put off achieving your financial dreams until you are married or have found a partner. Buy a home if that is one of your long-term goals and you are financially able, and begin to save and invest.
Make saving a priority.
Depending on your short and long-term goals, you may need several savings accounts. Start by saving for a financial emergency and for retirement. In addition, save for large purchases, such as a new car or a home. There also are options, such as Health Savings Accounts, to help you set aside pre-tax money for special purposes. The sooner you start saving, especially for retirement, the better.
Get help if you need it.
As you accumulate financial assets and the process of long-term financial planning becomes more complicated and time-consuming, reach out for help if you need it. Perhaps a financial planner could help to guide your decision making. If you want to invest but aren’t comfortable going it alone, perhaps you should join (or start) an investment club, both for the educational benefits and the camaraderie.
Understand the role of insurance in a successful financial plan.
The list of insurance products that you will probably need during your lifetime is long, including health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and auto insurance. For women, another insurance product that can be important is long-term care coverage, which can provide financial benefits for the cost of an assisted living or nursing facility.
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