Here are a few money management pointers for women. Are there any aha moments for you when you read this list? Post your comment!
Tip 1: Balancing your cheque book is not rocket science
Contrary to what women believe or in many cases are lead to believe by the male influences in their lives, it is not difficult to work out personal finances. The basic principle is not unbelievably complex. What is paid into your account should cover what you pay out.
Spend what you have. In fact preferably not all you have, put some away. But start with balancing the incoming and outgoing as your first baby step towards financial intelligence.
And if that means cutting up the credit cards, then do so right now. If you cannot afford to pay the full amount due on your credit card at the end of the month, then you have a problem. You are trying to eat more than you have.
2) Take care of your own money
In line with balancing your own cheque book, let’s also understand then that you do not need to abdicate the money management function to anybody else. Regardless of what your father, uncle, partner et al says, guess what – you can do it yourself.
Just because you are a woman does not mean you are incapacitated, even handicapped, when it comes to working with your money. This you might have heard your father say often. Mother doesn’t know how to manage money; I can’t leave it to her.
Do not believe this. You can do the money sums. Trust yourself on this score. And in case you might not be able to add up to ten, go and do a course and learn.
3) Treat your money with respect
Where does it say in the handbook on life that you should throw your money at rubbish? You don’t need that expensive hair cut, the designer jeans, the brand spanking new car.
Because guess what. Nobody cares.
Do not be careless with your money. It is there to first and foremost look after your well-being. It does not need to be used to give you some fake status in society or pay the extravagant college fees for your youngsters who promptly disappear to become beach bums.
In fact you don’t need to sponsor your partner through a wonderfully easy business life just to be ditched when you reach your fifties for that young floozy of a secretary. This is not a rare occurrence so don’t think it couldn’t happen to you.
4) Save for yourself first
This might seem a non-women thing to do. After all are women not the nurturers, care givers or supporters of dreamers just to mention a few attributes normally attributed to them? Is this possibly against women’s nature then if they look after themselves?
How often have you heard of women who have been abandoned, cheated of their money, neglected by those who they cared for? There are endless stories. It needs to stop. Women have to start caring for themselves first.
This includes saving for your retirement rather than sponsoring your partner’s important for business golfing club membership or the children’s college studies. Of course the family unit is important, but so are you. Never forget that.
5) Do not undervalue yourself
You might consider this the same as the previous number. But it deals more with the overall value you place on yourself. This includes such things as your career prospects, status in the community or family in other words what is your value?
If you have decided to be a stay at home mom then work out a salary and pay structure for this.
Understand that you have value as a person and worker. How much would it cost the family to hire an equivalent help? What is it costing you in terms of your own career development to put these years aside for the family’s well-being?
If you work for yourself how do you value your services you are providing your clients? How do you perceive the value of the products you make if you have a handicraft business for instance? Make sure you place a realistic value to your time and expertise.
6) There is no shame if you don’t know about finances
Do not allow yourself to feel embarrassed that you do not have any skills in investments, money management or in establishing a retirement fund. Nobody is born knowing this.
There are no inherent brilliant talents required to work out what investment will give you the best returns. In fact if the sales person trying to sell you something that sounds complicated, it’s probably a lie. Move on. Only deal with people who will explain in plain language what is going on.
Do not allow investment brokers or personal finance expert’s talk down to you. Force them to explain in easy English. If they can’t do that, then move on. Find somebody who can. Your life depends on it. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied by so called experts..
7) Protect your assets
Don’t allow the great romance of the century to cloud your judgement. Keep your assets in your name. Protect them where necessary by contracts. In the same way don’t be careless with your assets when starting a business and especially if you have a partner.
The idea that you can always earn that money again might not work every time, especially if you are older. The same applies if you are terminating a relationship where assets are involved.
8) Never stand surety
Never use your assets to guarantee somebody else’s dream. This includes such honourable ideas as your children’s college qualification, your partner’s business venture or the purchase of your communal home.
If you can’t afford your new home without putting up your assets for security then you probably shouldn’t be buying this home. It’s a fairly easy concept to understand.
It seems a serious treadmill folk are constantly moving along. As soon as the new car is in the garage an even newer one is already planned. Each purchase will mean bigger instalments, more insurance and higher servicing costs and the list carries on. Why do this? Rather buy what you can afford. Do not put your assets at risk for fulfilling a dream of a four bedroom home when that three bedroom one is totally adequate.
9) Be brutally honest
If you have found yourself in the middle of a personal credit crisis because you have maxed out your cards, overdrawn your account or find the instalments to your car, house, and boat killing you then put a huge mirror in front of you and take a long look at yourself.
And then admit to your foolish money ways. Once you have admitted that you are in trouble, get advice to find your way out of it and work on it. Cut up the credit cards; sell the bogus assets which are really liabilities as they are draining your money without you getting any benefits.
Once you have the courage to view your financial situation with clarity and without lying about it, you will find it easier to work your way out of trouble and into a healthy situation. Many people do not admit to themselves that they are in trouble
10) Final one: following your instincts
If an investment seems too good to be true, then don’t go with it. Investing in Madoff’s huge return bogus funds must have triggered off some warning bells in some minds. But folk didn’t listen. They readily parted with their money never to see it again.
You will be surprised how often your instinct is telling you the right way forward. But somehow you allow a friend, a so-called expert sales person or a TV personality to influence your thinking.
Would you follow Oprah’s investment advice? Probably. But what does she know about investing? She’s made her money with her TV show and other media spin-offs and not through knowing investments. She might have clever advisors, but she is not somebody one should listen to for money advice.
Yet if she told her millions of viewers to buy a share, people would! Even if their instinct told them otherwise.
Follow your gut feeling. You will be amazed how often it is right.
These are just ten pointers you should follow as a woman. And if you are a guy reading this, no harm in taking some of this advice on board as well!