I recently read an article that surprised me. In 2021, girls still do not receive the same exposure to financial literacy that boys do. In fact, financial literacy in women over 50 is still an issue.
Many women would rather talk about anything other than finances. This reflects a lack of foundational understanding about money in our community. There is a terrific article in Real Simple about this topic if you want to learn more.
One of the ways to create change is to make sure that as women over 50, we teach our daughters and granddaughters how to manage their finances. Here are some great tips to learn from and to teach.
Be Involved With Money Decisions
My mother grew up in an era where men were totally responsible for all financial decisions. That is not how she and my father managed their finances though. She taught me the importance of being a part of all of the money decisions in the home.
While the responsibilities of paying bills, daily expenses and investments may be divided between partners, each person has a responsibility to be aware of all the financial holdings. Communication is so important regarding investments, savings and following a budget.
Live Within Your Means
- Did you know that 4 out 5 U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck.
- Over a quarter of workers never save any money each month.
- 75% are in debt and see no way out.
To live within your means is simple. If you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it on credit. Most Americans have a mortgage debt along with credit card, auto loan and student loan debts as well.
You cannot invest in your future while being strapped to excessive debt. Paying off debt is “FREEDOM”. Not to increase your lifestyle, but to be able to tell your money where you want it to go!
Creating a budget is the only way you will know where your money is going. This is the means by which you establish a plan to save (10%), give (10%) and spend the rest (80%). This simple budgeting guide will create the discipline to save for goals and delay gratification for the benefit of future needs.
I personally create a budget each year. This gives me an opportunity to see on paper my expenses and income. This is an opportunity to really look at your expenses and make decisions about things you can reduce. It’s easy to let regular small expenses add up to big budget impacts.
Money Is A Tool
Money is not the solution to money problems. It is a tool to be used wisely. Money is the means by which our economic system works. The things we need and want require money. Having a proper mindset is key to using this tool wisely.
As mentioned above, we already know most people do not have any savings built up. Creating an emergency fund should be a high priority. Let’s face it, the unexpected will happen to everyone at some point.
Building an emergency fund of at least $1000.00 will help with minor repairs to cars, appliances and health needs. Taking the next step is to increase that fund to 3 to 6 months of expenses. This creates a financial cushion and peace of mind for larger life events.
Have Money In Your Name
In my parents generation, married couples only had a joint bank account. Women typically did not have anything financial in their name. This proved very hard for women of this time period when life events changed for them.
Unexpected things can happen. For all women, it is a good idea to maintain a checking account and/or a credit card in your own name. This allows you to maintain your own credit score and have a sense of security and stability that is yours alone.
Another great idea for women of all ages, is to keep at lest $20 cash in your wallet. In today’s world most of our transactions occur using “cards”, but you never know when you may need some cash. You might want to consider hiding a $20 bill in your car for an emergency as well.
Good news, you don’t have to be wealthy to be generous. Giving financially to worthy charitable causes yields a far greater benefit to the giver. Even if you can only spare $10, that money combined with the giving of others leads to a significant impact in helping your community.
Giving serves to help us maintain the right mindset about money. Your bank account does not define you. How you make people feel will always be remembered.
Never forget that no matter how much or little you have, there is always someone with more and always someone with less.
Dave Ramsey says it well in his article “What Do You Need to Know About Financial Literacy?” He states that financial literacy is the development of a stronger understanding of basic financial concepts in order to manage money better.
Financial literacy in women will equip them with skills to make smart decisions about their money. As women over 50, we should make sure that we gain financial knowledge ourselves, and pass it along to the next generation.
Financial literacy for women is our responsibility. We must make sure that our daughters and granddaughters are equipped with the financial tools and knowledge to manage their financial lives well.